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The Dukan Diet Plan: Phases, Meal Plan And Drawbacks

The Dukan diet focuses on redesigning the eating habits of the individual and help their journey of weight loss, without affecting the health of the individual. A low-carbohydrate protein-based fad diet devised by Pierre Dukan, the diet has been in the health scenario for over 30 years, reflecting its relevance and effectiveness; which can be owed to the publication of his book, The Dukan Diet in 2000 [1] .

Based on a list of over 100 allowed foods, the Dukan diet does not pose any restriction on the quantity of food consumed, if the food falls under the list of 'foods allowed'. Among the plethora of varieties of diets developed with the sole purpose of losing weight, the Dukan diet can be pointed out as being one of the most effective and sought after one [2] .

The Dukan diet has acquired its wide popularity due to the fact that, in comparison to other diet plans, this one does not allow regaining of the fat that has been lost from your body. The diet is divided into four different phases, with each one focusing on a specific role [3] .

The Phases Of Dukan Diet Plan

The Dukan diet, although dubbed to be one of the best, is extremely difficult to be followed. The diet plan has to be religiously followed, which in case of a failure or the slightest slip can destruct the whole diet regime. One begins the diet by calculating the goal weight, by focusing on the individual's age, weight loss history, and other factors. The first two phases of the diet are described as the weight loss phase and the remaining two are denoted as the maintenance phase [4] .

The four phases of the Dukan diet are as follows [5] , [6] , [7] :

1. Attack phase (1-7 days)

This phase works by the incorporation of unlimited lean protein plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day.

2. Cruise phase (1-12 months)

In the second phase, the individual is required to take just lean protein one day and non-starchy vegetables and lean protein the next day. Also, 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day.

3. Consolidation phase (5 days for every pound lost in phases 1 and 2)

In the third phase, the individual is required to take unlimited lean protein and veggies, some carbohydrates and fats, one day of lean protein weekly and 2.5 tablespoons of oat bran daily.

4. Stabilisation phase (indefinite)

The fourth phase follows the same guidelines as that of the third phase and can loosen up the restrictions a bit - without causing drastic changes to your weight. Also, the stabilisation phase increases oat bran consumption to 3 spoons.

Foods To Eat For The Dukan Diet Plan

Each phase of the diet has different diet plans. The list of only foods that are allowed to be consumed during each phase are mentioned below [8] , [9] , [10] .

1. Attack phase

  • Lean beef, veal, venison, bison, pork
  • Poultry without skin
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Non-fat dairy products (restricted to 32 ounces or 1 kg per day), such as milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and ricotta
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Unlimited artificial sweeteners, shirataki noodles, and diet gelatin
  • Seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten
  • At least 6.3 cups (1.5 litres) of water per day (mandatory)
  • 1.5 tablespoons (9 grams) of oat bran daily (mandatory)
  • Small amounts of lemon juice and pickles
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of oil daily for greasing pans

2. Cruise Phase

  • Cucumbers
  • 1 serving of carrots or beets daily
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Green beans
  • Onions, leeks, and shallots
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnips
  • Spinach, kale, lettuce, and other leafy greens
  • 2 tablespoons (12 grams) of oat bran daily (mandatory)

3. Consolidation phase

The third allows you to mix and match any of the foods from the attack and cruise phases.

  • Fruit: One serving per day. You can eat berries, chopped melon, one medium apple, orange, pear, peach, nectarine, two kiwis, plums, or apricots
  • Bread (whole-grain)
  • Starch: You can eat pasta and other grains, corn, beans, legumes, rice, or potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Oat Bran
  • Meat
  • Celebration meals, which include one appetizer, one main dish, one dessert and one glass of wine
  • Protein meals

Stabilization phase

  • Have one pure protein meal, one day - every week
  • Oat bran

Sample Meal Plan For The Dukan Diet

Let us take a look into the suitable meal plan for the first three phases of the diet [11] .

Attack phase

  • Breakfast: Non-fat cottage cheese with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran, cinnamon. Coffee or tea with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water
  • Lunch: Roast chicken, shirataki noodles, diet gelatin and iced tea.
  • Dinner: Lean steak and shrimp, diet gelatin, decaf coffee or tea with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water.

Cruise phase

  • Breakfast: Three scrambled eggs, sliced vegetable, coffee with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables (green), Greek yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of oat bran and sugar substitute, iced tea.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon fillet, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, diet gelatin, decaf coffee with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water.

Consolidation phase

  • Breakfast: Omelet made with three eggs, 40 grams of cheese and spinach, coffee with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water.
  • Lunch: Turkey sandwich on two slices of whole-wheat bread, ½ cup of cottage cheese with 2 tablespoons of oat bran, cinnamon and sugar substitute. Iced tea
  • Dinner: Roast pork, grilled zucchini, 1 medium apple, decaf coffee with non-fat milk and sugar substitute. Water.

Benefits Of The Dukan Diet Plan

Apart from the effective role the diet plays in weight loss, the diet can be beneficial for your overall health as well [12] , [13] , [14] .

  • For individuals suffering from the symptoms of diabetes, the Dukan diet can help improve insulin sensitivity, thereby preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • Elimination of alcohol in the diet makes it beneficial for protecting your heart health and avoiding the onset of heart conditions.
  • People can lose weight rapidly.
  • The restricted choice makes meal planning easier.
  • The low-fat and low salt diet is extremely good for your body.

Drawbacks Of The Dukan Diet

  • Removing grains, dairy and fruits and vegetable groups from your diet can lead to nutritional deficiency [15] .
  • It can cause lethargy, bad breath and constipation.
  • It is not suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Dukan diet stresses on ketosis (a process in which the body attacks its own fats), which can impair the proper functioning of your kidneys.
  • Low fibre intake can lead to irritable bowel syndrome [16] .
  • People who are at risk of electrolyte imbalance should not follow the diet.
View Article References
  1. [1] Dukan, P. (2018).The Dukan Diet: The Revised and Updated Edition for 2019. Hachette UK.
  2. [2] Freeman, T. F., Willis, B., & Krywko, D. M. (2014). Acute intractable vomiting and severe ketoacidosis secondary to the Dukan Diet©.Journal of Emergency Medicine,47(4), e109-e112.
  3. [3] Wyka, J., Malczyk, E., Misiarz, M., Zolotenka-Synowiec, M., Calyniuk, B., & Baczynska, S. (2015). Assessment of food intakes for women adopting the high protein Dukan diet.Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny,66(2).
  4. [4] Opie, L. H. (2014). Lifestyle and diet.Cardiovascular journal of Africa,25(6), 298.
  5. [5] Manning, J. (2011). The Dukan diet: A fad with a French accent.Prevention,63(7), 70.
  6. [6] Julia, C., Péneau, S., Andreeva, V. A., Méjean, C., Fezeu, L., Galan, P., & Hercberg, S. (2014). Weight-loss strategies used by the general population: how are they perceived?.PloS one,9(5), e97834.
  7. [7] Vakil, R. M., Chaudhry, Z. W., Doshi, R. S., Clark, J. M., & Gudzune, K. A. (2017). Commercial Programs' Online Weight‐Loss Claims Compared to Results from Randomized Controlled Trials.Obesity,25(11), 1885-1893.
  8. [8] Reguła, J., Jurczak, R., Wyka, J., & Baczynska, S. (2018). Assessment of nutrition and nutritional status in women using the high–protein diet in the past.Progress in Nutrition,20(2), 212-219.
  9. [9] Iwata, H., Tsuzuki, S., Iwata, M., & Terasawa, T. (2017). Ketoacidosis due to a low-carbohydrate diet in an elderly woman with dementia and abnormal eating behavior.Internal Medicine, 8689-16.
  10. [10] Tougaard, N. H., Faber, J., & Eldrup, E. (2019). Very low carbohydrate diet and SGLT-2-inhibitor: double jeopardy in relation to ketoacidosis.BMJ Case Reports CP,12(4), e227516.
  11. [11] Ponzo, V., Rosato, R., Tarsia, E., Goitre, I., De Michieli, F., Fadda, M., ... & Bo, S. (2017). Self-reported adherence to diet and preferences towards type of meal plan in patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A cross-sectional study.Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases,27(7), 642-650.
  12. [12] Fuhrman, J., & Sorensen, C. (2012).The end of diabetes. HarperCollins.
  13. [13] Willett, W. (2017).Eat, drink, and be healthy: the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating. Simon and Schuster.
  14. [14] Soto, A. C. (2013).The Truth About The Dukan Diet. Hachette UK.
  15. [15] Khawandanah, J., & Tewfik, I. (2017). Dietary fibre regimen to modulate weight management: A pilot intervention based on fibre rich fruit-mix (FRFM).International Journal of Food, Nutrition and Public Health,9(2), 67.
  16. [16] Davidson, J. (2013).Paleo Diet-Good or Bad? An Analysis of Arguments and Counter-Arguments(Vol. 4). JD-Biz Corp Publishing.
Story first published: Monday, May 13, 2019, 15:55 [IST]