The Dukan diet is popular amongst those who aim to achieve extreme fat loss. It was created in 2000 by French nutritionist and general practitioner Pierre Dukan.
The idea behind it is that you can eat unlimited quantities of foods, so long as they are included within the approved list of foods.
What is the Dukan Diet?
As previously mentioned, the Dukan diet allows you to restrict the foods you eat, without restricting the quantities.
It can be separated into four main phases; the attack phase, cruise phase, consolidation phase and stabilisation phase.
The goal behind it is for you to lose weight, say 10 pounds, and never gain it back.
What foods are allowed?
In order to establish what foods are allowed when following the Dukan diet, we need to break it down into the different stages:
Phase 1: The Attack Phase
This generally lasts around a week but can be from 1-10 days. Here, you can eat as much lean protein as you can manage, focussing on things such as chicken, turkey, lean beef etc. You are also allowed to intake 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day, ensuring you drink at least 6 cups of water.
Phase 2: The Cruise Phase
This generally last several months. Here, you are allowed to eat unlimited amounts of vegetables (non-starchy) as well as lean protein and 2 tablespoons of oat bran.
Phase 3: The Consolidation phase
This generally lasts 5 days for each pound you lost in the previous process. Here you are allowed to have vegetables every day, as well as a single serving of fruit. You can also allow yourself to have one serving of cheese per day, as well as 2 slices of whole grain bread. Furthermore, you are allowed a couple of starchy celebration meals whenever you choose. You should use you best judgement in this stage, since the quantities aren’t very specific.
Phase 4: Stabilisation
This doesn’t have a specific time frame, since you should aim to continue eating this way if you want to keep the weight off. You are allowed to eat whatever you like, except for one day a week where you follow the rules of the attack phase, only eating 3 tablespoons of oat bran rather than 1.5. You should also aim to go on a walk for at least 20 minutes per day.
As with other restrictive diets, such as intermittent fasting, several non-calorie foods/beverages are allowed, for example, sugar free gum, sweeteners, tea and coffee are allowed.
As far as alcohol is concerned, you are allowed a glass of wine per day during the consolidation and stabilization phases. This means if you’re not keen on sobering up for a few months then this diet may not be for you.
Who is it suitable for?
Generally the Dukan diet is suitable for everyone, however, certain people may find it more difficult to follow than others.
For example, if you are vegan and vegetarian, then you may struggle when the only foods you can eat are lean proteins and oat bran. There are some vegan friendly options available, but they are limited so you may find yourself getting bored of eating the same foods quickly and find that it becomes tougher to stick to the diet.
✗ Furthermore, the later stages of the diet are not strictly gluten-free. You can adjust it if you are looking to follow a gluten-free diet, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
✗ If you are taking any medication for conditions such as diabetes, you will probably need to adjust your dose and consult your doctor . This is because the first few stages are very low in carbohydrates.
✗ If you have a kidney issue, you might end up eating more protein on this diet than your kidneys can handle. You should consult your doctor before beginning the diet to ensure it is safe.
What are the benefits?
The main benefit is, of course, rapid weight loss. You should see yourself losing a lot of weight within the first week, since not only will you be reducing your calorie intake, but also your intake of carbohydrates and fats.
✓ This will promote your body to burn fat as fuel, rather than either of these macronutrients. For this reason, the diet is especially popular for those looking to lose weight fast.
✓ What sets this diet apart from others is that fact that with the stabilisation stage, it allows you to eat pretty much as you normally would without regaining all of the weight. This means you do not have to worry about putting it all back on if you stray off course, and it can help you to reach the weight which you desire.
Take Home Message
This diet is perfect for those who are looking to lose weight quickly, especially if it’s your new year’s resolution and you intend to stick to it.
It can be difficult to get used to at first, due to the tough attack phase. However, once you see the pounds melt off you will be amazed by this diet.
It may not be ideal for those who have an extremely large amount of weight to lose, as in the long term you do not want to only be eating such specific foods as in the first couple of phases.
Nevertheless, you should give this a go if you intend to lose weight in 2016. Remember, this diet, as with all others is a big commitment!
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