Dukan Diet: Helping You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

dokan diet

The Dukan diet is a diet focused on making people lose weight and preventing them from regaining it. It is a diet mainly based on protein-rich foods in its first phase. Other kinds of foods are carefully reintroduced into this diet in the later stages of the regimen with the aim of maintaining a person’s ideal weight and avoiding any mass weight gain over the course of a dieter’s life.

Deeper Explanation and History

Introduction to the Public

The Dukan diet originated in France. It was introduced and promoted by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a general practitioner in Paris, in 1975. 

During the time when Dr. Pierre was treating patients with obesity, he had made research about ways how to treat obesity and prevent it from coming back. 

This led him to create a diet that will enable people to get rid of their excess weight and prevent themselves from regaining a lot of weight with the help of a protein-rich diet: the Dukan Diet.

Dr. Dukan has researched this diet for 20 years and all of his findings were published in his book in 2000, the Je ne sais pas maigrir (I don’t know how to get slimmer). 

The book had been a best-seller, which made it possible for Dr. Dukan to promote his dietary regimen even more. 

This protein-rich diet also gained more popularity when the book was translated into 14 languages and distributed in 32 countries. This made the diet popular and accepted by a lot of dieters and health enthusiasts.

Nature of the Diet

The Dukan diet is focused on protein-rich foods in the first phase of the diet. Because protein-rich foods are harder to digest and need more calories to burn, it is deemed to be more effective in making people lose weight by burning more calories. 

Basically, you’re going to eat foods that will make your body work harder to burn more calories. 

Vegetables are then introduced in the next stages of the diet to ensure that dieters can get sufficient amounts of nutrients while still losing a lot of weight. 

Other kinds of foods, including fatty ones, are then introduced in the later stages of the diet, which aims to bring a dieter’s diet to normal without regaining any of the lost weight.

Due to the nature of this diet, dieters are able to lose their excess weight and prevent regaining them without doing many significant changes in their long-term dietary patterns. Because of this, many people think that this diet is ideal for people who want to keep off excess weight for a very long period of time. 

But because of the nature of the Dukan diet during its first stages, it is also deemed hard to follow by some dieters as the diet is very strict.

But for those who have tried following the plan and have managed to get through the first stages of this protein-rich diet, it is deemed to be one of the easiest diets that any type of person can follow.

Phases of Dukan Diet

This protein-rich diet has four phases. The first three phases last for a certain period of time while the last one lasts for the rest of the dieter’s life. 

This means that the first three stages are the hardest ones, as they are the stages where dieters have to follow a restricted kind of diet to lose a lot of weight. 

After the first three stages, the last phase is the easiest, which should be followed as long as the person wants to keep off the excess weight that he lost during the first stages of the Dukan diet.

Dieters need to follow the stages in the proper order. Also, dieters cannot skip the first stages, especially if the dieters have a lot of weight to lose. This means that every dieter needs to follow the hardest parts of the diet stages, starting with the Attack stage.

  • Attack

This phase of the diet is when a dieter would kick start his metabolism to be able to lose a lot of weight. Only 72 protein-rich foods are allowed to be consumed during this stage, which aims to get rid of 2-3 kilograms in just 2-7 days.

This means that other kinds of starchy, sweet, and salty foods are not allowed during this 5 to 10-day stage. Alcoholic beverages and sweetened beverages are also not allowed in this stage as this will affect the weight loss of the dieters. 

Vegetables and fruits are also prohibited in this Dukan diet stage, which means that dieters won’t get any significant amount of nutrients for the first 10 days of the diet. Thus, dieters should take care of their health to avoid getting ill and weak during this stage.

The positive side of this restrictive Dukan diet phase, however, is that dieters can eat as much as they want; as long as they are consuming protein-rich foods only. But, they are risking nutrient deficiency, which can be avoided if proper care and monitoring by a health professional are done.

  • Cruise

Cruise is the easier part of the Dukan diet as weight loss is gradual and 28 additional specific kinds of veggies are introduced to the diet. This means that there can be more recipes that dieters can make with these vegetables. 

This also means that there will be more nutrients that can enter the body of the dieter, which can gradually improve the dieter’s health.

The weight loss target in this phase is only 1 kilogram per week, which is much easier to achieve than the 2-3 kilograms a week in the first phase of the regimen. 

This diet phase will last until the ideal weight of the dieter is achieved, which means that it will last longer or shorter, depending on the current weight and the ideal weight of the person.

If the ideal weight of the person is far from their current weight during the start of the diet, they should spend more time in this phase rather than spend a lot of time on the first phase. 

Because the first phase should not exceed 10 days, as it is very restrictive, this is the stage where people can spend a longer period.

This period is also designed to make the metabolism of a person much faster. It is also designed to help the body burn fat to get energy rather than using carbohydrates as a source of energy, which will make weight loss easier and faster.

  • Consolidation

Consolidation is a much better and easier phase in the Dukan diet as this is the phase where bread, cheese, fruits, and starchy foods are gradually reintroduced to a dieter’s diet. This means that a person can gradually get back to his normal diet without gaining any weight.

The main focus of this stage is to reintroduce foods without gaining massive weight in the future. This means that the body is being prepared to maintain fast metabolism, which will help maintain the ideal weight gain regardless of how much a person would eat. 

Thus, it is the stage when the body is prepared for the final stage of the diet. This is when dieters can eat a lot of foods that they want in proper amounts, before they change to the most tolerant diet phase, the stabilization phase.

  • Stabilization

Stabilization is the final stage of the Dukan diet and is also the longest. This is often followed for the rest of the dieter’s life. Thus, it will be the maintaining diet of any person who underwent the first three stages of the diet.

Alcoholic beverages and other foods that can cause harmful effects on the body should be limited, however, to prevent illnesses. Other than that, people can consume any kind of food they want in this diet as long as they follow a few simple rules that Dr. Pierre had stated:

    • There should be a ‘protein day’ once a week.
    • Dieters need to consume oat bran every single day.
    • Stay physically active by doing exercises and by taking the stairs instead of escalators and elevators.

Dieters can also consume as much food as they want as long as they follow the rules stated above.

Foods Allowed in the Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet is a very strict diet. During the first two stages of the diet, only 72 protein-rich foods are allowed to be consumed. Some of them are listed below:

  • Lean beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Seafood
  • Lean ham
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Skimmed milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fat-free yogurt

The 28 vegetables that are allowed in the second phase of the diet are listed below:

  • Carrots
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Swede
  • Sorrel
  • Pumpkins and squashes
  • Palm hearts
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Soya beans
  • Swiss chards
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumber
  • Chicory
  • Fennel
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Salad leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Beans (string beans and French beans)

 These vegetables should be included in the meal plan for the second phase of the diet. It is important to note that only these veggies are allowed in this phase, which means that there are no substitutes for these vegetables. 

Thus, it would be ideal to buy these veggies in advance to ensure that the dieter will be able to consume these instead of other kinds of vegetables.

Starchy foods such as potatoes can be added to the third phase of the diet. Dairy products can also be slowly added, as well as fruits and cheeses. 

But, these additions should be moderate and should be done slowly to avoid gaining weight and shocking the body due to the restrictions of other food groups for a long period of time.

Water Intake

Water intake should be noted carefully as this will provide energy to dieters following the Dukan diet. Each person should consume about 1.5 liters of water each day, to maintain energy and stay hydrated. 

This is especially needed during the first stage of the diet as this phase is the hardest and is the most restrictive. Other kinds of beverages are discouraged during this stage, especially carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic ones, which means that water is the only beverage that is advised for dieters.

Physical Activity

Dieters who are following the Dukan diet are advised to do physical activities to ensure losing weight and maintain a healthy body. Brisk walking for 20 minutes is advised and should be done on a daily basis while following this diet.

Other physical activities such as weight lifting and strenuous workouts are also advised but people should take caution when doing these as this diet is very restrictive and does not provide much energy from food sources. 

Thus, during the first two stages of the Dukan diet, dieters should avoid or limit doing strenuous workouts to prevent injuries and health issues caused by overworking or lifting weights that can cause over-fatigue and ligament and muscle tears.

Similar Dietary Regimens

It is noticeable that the Dukan diet is similar to other kinds of diets. Because it also has different stages and the final stage should be followed forever, it is deemed to be very similar to the Atkins diet. 

It is also deemed similar to the ketogenic diet because it promotes weight loss with the help of a low-carb diet, which forces the body to burn calories that are stored in the fat reserves of a dieter.

And just like other similar diets, the Dukan diet’s benefits are also questioned because of their restrictive initial stages. Because the first stages shut down other food groups and provide less than adequate nutrition to dieters, this diet is also disputed and is not entirely advised by medical professionals.

Tips on Following a Protein-Rich Food Diet

Before following a low-carbohydrate and protein-rich diet, dieters are advised to talk with a health professional to ensure their safety. It is also suggested that dieters take proper caution when starting this kind of diet as this can give significant effects to the body.

  • Determine Any Underlying Medical Condition

Before starting the Dukan diet, it is advised that dieters get checked by a health professional to see any medical conditions that can be affected or worsened due to the restrictions of the diet. 

Because this diet is protein-rich and is lacking in certain nutrients in its first two phases, dieters need to ensure that their bodies can withstand this kind of dietary pattern.

Some people will experience dizziness, weakness, and irritation during a low-carb diet. Thus, it is important to know the remedies to these symptoms to avoid further injuries and adverse health effects.

  • Be Wary of Nutrient Deficiency

Because this dietary regimen will shut out most food groups that dieters are used to eating, dieters can be inflicted with nutrient deficiency. 

This is a serious condition that can cause people to feel weak and to be easily infected with various kinds of diseases and viruses. Thus, proper care should be done when going through the restrictive phases of the Dukan diet.

Monitoring the health of a dieter should be considered to make sure that the person doesn’t suffer from nutrient deficiency during the first two stages of the diet.

  • Prepare the Foods Required in the Stages of the Diet

Before starting the diet, it is advised to prepare a lot of protein-rich foods that are included in the meal plan of the Dukan diet to ensure that the dieter won’t consume foods that are not on the list of the foods allowed in the meal plans.

Because the first two stages are very restrictive, including only 72 protein-rich foods and 28 kinds of vegetables, it is important to purchase only the kinds of foods included in the list. Otherwise, the stages won’t be deemed successful, which will make the entire diet futile.

  • Prepare for the First Two Stages of the Diet

One of the most important things that dieters need to do when planning on trying this dietary regimen is to be well prepared. Physical, mental and emotional preparedness should be considered to prevent backsliding, which will render the diet useless.

Getting support from family, friends and other followers of the Dukan diet will be very helpful in preparing for the first two stages of the diet.


It is vital to be cautious when following the first stages of the diet. Because the first phase, the Attack phase, is the most restrictive one, people should be well aware of the risks that it involves. 

This phase restricts all other kinds of foods, except for protein-rich foods, which can cause nutrient deficiency. This means that people can have a very weak immune system, which can cause vulnerability to a lot of kinds of diseases that should be avoided.

Getting regular checkups, especially during the first stages of the Dukan diet, should be considered to ensure the health of the dieters. Light and not-too-strenuous physical activities should also be maintained to help boost immunity even without exhausting the dieter.

Pros and Cons

Just like any other dietary regimen, the Dukan diet also has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Pros

This protein-rich diet is effective in making people lose weight over a short period of time. Because it restricts carbohydrate intake during the first stages of the diet, an individual’s excess fats are being used up, resulting in fast weight loss.

Another advantage of this diet is the freedom that it gives to dieters. Because dieters can eat as much food as they like, after the first stages of the diet plan, the latter would feel free. 

This means that dieters won’t feel restricted in their diet as long as they follow the guidelines provided by its creator, Dr. Pierre.

The Dukan diet is also advantageous as this promotes lesser sugar and salt intake, which are some of the main causes of various diseases.

  • Cons

Because this diet is very restrictive, particularly in its first stages, many people may suffer from nutrient deficiency. Also, this low-carb diet can cause dizziness, weakness, irritability, and wooziness, which will have a big effect on people who need to attend work on a regular basis. 

The nutrient deficiency caused by this dietary pattern can also cause a lot of health risks, which can make people really ill. Thus, it is really a risky diet.

Elderly people who want to follow the Dukan diet should be very cautious and should be monitored by a health professional to ensure their safety. This diet can also cause distress to a lot of dieters due to its restrictiveness, which can easily affect elderly people.

The health benefits of the Dukan diet are also unclear, which made this dietary regimen questionable to a lot of health professionals. 

Because dieters’ heart health does not show improvement due to this diet, it is unclear whether it is helpful or not. Also, this diet doesn’t show benefits when it comes to improvements in health. 

Aside from lowering the fat percentage in a dieter’s body, other health benefits are not noted. The Dukan diet is rather deemed to be risky because of the restrictions on nutrients in its initial phases.


The Dukan diet is an effective diet when it comes to losing weight. But, it is not entirely advised by health experts because of its nature. Its health benefits are also unclear and questionable, making it a disputed diet among health and diet experts.

People who are planning on following this diet should take proper caution and ensure that they are being monitored by healthcare professionals to ensure their safety. 

Other than that, dieters can enjoy following the Dukan diet to be able to lose weight and keep from regaining the weight that they have lost. Thus, with proper care and monitoring from health professionals, this dietary regimen can be effective. 

But, dieters need to bear in mind that they need to be vigilant about health issues and symptoms of various conditions to ensure that they do not suffer from negative effects while following this restrictive yet moderate dietary regimen.

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