What is the basic idea behind the Dukan diet?
The Dukan diet follows the ketogenic diet principle that lots of fat and protein and limited carbs are the key to fat loss. Cutting out carbohydrates forces the body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy.
How does the Dukan diet work?
Followers of the Dukan diet must stick to a highly prescriptive set of rules. The diet follows four 'phases.'
1. The Attack Phase: The first phase of the Dukan diet involves eating only from a strict selection of 72 high protein foods for 5-16 days. The protein-fuelled foods include lean beef, veal, turkey, eggs, fish and skimmed milk. High fat proteins such as pork, lamb and duck are not allowed. The Attack phase is designed to cause extreme weight loss.
2. The Cruise Phase: This phase slowly introduces carbohydrates back into your diet - but only from a prescribed list of 28 vegetables. The phase promises to induce a weight loss of 2 pounds per week until the dieter reaches their goal weight, and involves switching between protein only days and protein and vegetable days on a rhythmic cycle.
3. The Consolidation Phase: This stage of the diet gradually introduces fruit and dairy with the allowance of celebration meals. However, you must still have one purely protein day a week. Forever. The Consolidation phase of the Dukan diet lasts for 5 days for every pound lost.
4. The Stabilisation Phase: The final phase of the Dukan diet gives followers some 'rules for life' to maintain their weight loss.These include having one protein-only day a week, eating oat bran daily to stop cravings, eating slowly, staying active, avoiding saturated fat and staying active. Dieters are also recommended to add an extra protein day a week if they start gaining weight again.
So... Is the Dukan diet good for your health?
In a nutshell - no. Crash dieting is never recommended as a healthy method of weight loss and rapid weight loss caused by the 'Attack' phase can be extremely damaging. 'Attack' doesn't sound too great either, does it? Your body's response to crash dieting is to go into starvation mode, which actually slows down your metabolism and causes more hunger pangs.
Restrictive diets, such as cutting out carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, dairy and grains deprives your body of vital micron nutrients it needs to perform and maintain important everyday functions. Whole grains in particular, which are particularly lacking in the Dukan method, are extremely important for digestive health.
Low carb diets can also cause constipation, fatigue and bad breath... yum!