The Dukan Diet Review

Despite still being a relatively new dieting system in the United States, the Dukan Diet has been carefully followed by many dieters overseas for well over 12 years.

This review of the Dukan Diet reveals what makes it such an effective means of losing weight, how it works and how easily it can be adopted by dieters who are serious about their health and looks.

The diet itself originated in France, created by Dr Pierre Dukan and its advocates claim it has helped millions of people to lose weight quickly and very effectively. Many of the top celebrities in Hollywood attribute their slim figures to the Dukan Diet.

In many ways, Dukan's diet is the European and British equivalent of the Atkins Diet here in the United States. Both of these diets have similarities, such as their creation by physicians and their emphasis on eating high protein, low carbohydrate food. However, the similarities end there.

dukan diet reviewOriginally devised as a treatment for obesity by French physician Dr. Pierre Dukan, it promises to help a person to lose weight without having to count calories, measure food proportions or log many hours of exercise every day.

Its main focus is on a high protein, low carb meal plan combined with very low fat intake unless it that fat is derived from fish or eggs. To make it easier to follow, the plan is divided into four phases, each of which may last from a single day to several months, the duration governed by how much weight a person wants to lose and how fast they want to lose it.

One point that differentiates the Dukan Diet from most other planned diets is that once the dieter reaches their goal weight, they can eat anything they want for six days per week, as long as they stick to the plan for one day in each week.

About Dr. Dukan

Dr. Pierre Dukan is a highly regarded and renowned clinical nutrition expert having in excess of 40 years experience in that field. He initially specialized in neurology but soon became fascinated by the weight gain epidemic that was sweeping the globe.

Working in his private practice with many thousands of obese patients, he realized that his expertise and knowledge could be effectively channelled into helping people reverse their overweight condition and then maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

His work culminated in the creation of the Dukan Diet.

The 4 Dukan Diet Phases

dukan diet four phasesThe four phases of the Dukan Diet are known as the:

  1. Attack Phase
  2. Cruise Phase
  3. Consolidation Phase
  4. Stabilization Phase

During all four phases and even after you have reached your desired weight, it is imperative that you drink about a half gallon of water per day. Water will help cleanse your digestive system and keep it healthy with an increased protein consumption and limited fiber intake.

The Attack Phase

The Attack Phase is the initial phase consisting of pure protein. It is meant to kick start your weight loss and produce noticeable results. It generally lasts anywhere from one to ten days, depending on how much each individual needs to lose.

As in all phases of the diet, there are no calorie restrictions during this phase, but you are restricted to eating specific foods consisting of lean proteins, fat-free dairy products and one and a half tablespoons of oat bran. The oat bran provides necessary fiber to help your digestive system process the increased protein intake and keep your bowel movements regular.

If followed correctly, you can lose up to 25 lbs in ten days on this phase of the diet alone. You will also feel much less bloated since carbohydrates, including breads and starchy vegetables, that normally cause excess bloating are not being consumed. How is this possible you ask?

It's actually very simple and a natural process that the body creates. Your body normally uses carbohydrates for energy. When you stop eating carbohydrates, your body goes into what is known as Ketosis. Ketosis is a process in the body that forces it to use fat stores for energy when carbohydrates are not available.

While in the Attack Phase, when your body initially goes into Ketosis, you may feel excessively tired and may experience headaches and bad breath. These symptoms should diminish after your body is accustomed to your new eating habits and your blood sugars stabilize.

Allowed foods in the Attack Phase include lean beef, skinless chicken, turkey, all types of fish, lean pork, eggs and low fat or fat free dairy products. Typical meals in the Attack Phase of the diet would include low fat or fat-free yogurt with an omelet for breakfast, skinless chicken breast and oat bran for lunch and grilled fish for dinner.

An oat bran gallette is also required daily and should be incorporated into one of your meals. The recipe for the gallette is provided in the book and on the Dukan website as well.

In addition to meal requirements, Dr. Dukan also emphasizes that you should include twenty minutes of mild exercise, such as walking or hiking, each day. This can be as simple as taking the stairs all day while at the office, walking your dog or walking to lunch instead of driving.

The Cruise Phase

After a maximum of ten days, you should move onto the Cruise Phase. The Cruise Phase will cause gradual weight loss and will allow you to achieve your ideal or "True" weight. Your "True Weight" can be determined by using the True Weight Calculator on the Dukan Diet Website.

In this phase, you will alternate between days of eating only protein and days eating protein and vegetables combined. You will also increase your oat bran intake to two tablespoons per day. The length of this phase will vary and is based on how much more weight you need to lose. You should calculate how much time you plan to spend in the Cruise phase based on 3 days for each pound you want to lose.

For example, if you want to lose another 10 pounds, you should be in the Cruise Phase for 30 days or one month. You will remain in this phase until you have reached your weight loss goal.

Allowed foods in the Cruise Phase include all of those allowed in the Attack Phase, but you can also eat non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and eggplant.

Typical meals in the Cruise Phase would include scrambled eggs, sliced tomatoes and yogurt for breakfast, an oat bran gallette with salmon and salad for lunch and lean turkey with asparagus for dinner. As in all phases, exercise is recommended, even if it's a 30 minute brisk walk or several shorter walks spaced throughout the day.

The Consolidation Phase

The Consolidation Phase is probably the most challenging because it is the one that allows previously forbidden foods back into your diet. This may lead to over eating due to the inability to control consumption and could bring back those unwanted, lost pounds.

The Consolidation Phase is intended to prevent the yo-yo diet effect of regaining unwanted weight by slowly easing you back into a more normal, diverse diet. During this phase, you can eat all of the foods you ate in the Cruise Phase and can also add fruits, whole grains and low fat or fat-free cheese.

In addition, you are also allowed two "Celebration Meals" per week. These meals can include any forbidden foods or beverages, such as pizza, cheeseburgers, beer, wine and ice cream. During this phase of the diet, you are slowly reintroducing previously banned carbohydrates into your system and your body will no longer be in Ketosis.

By reintroducing carbohydrates, you will see that you have increased energy and will be able to increase your physical activity as well.

Typical meal plans in the Consolidation Phase include low fat yogurt, an apple and an oat bran gallette for breakfast, a Greek salad with fat-free feta cheese and skinless chicken breast for lunch and lean veal with grilled vegetables for dinner. For your celebration meals, you can choose any of your favorite foods and beverages, but make sure to try and control your consumption and not over eat to undo what you have achieved in the first two phases of the diet.

The Stabilization Phase

This is the last phase of the diet and is essentially the phase you could be on for the rest of your life if you plan to remain living the Dukan lifestyle. The Stabilization Phase has fairly simple rules to follow.

You will follow the diet as you did in the Attack Phase one day per week. This means that one day per week, you will eat only lean protein and three tablespoons of oat bran. It has to be the same day each week.

Try to choose a day when you can pre-plan your meals and avoid temptations. If you choose Wednesday, it will have to be each Wednesday for the remainder of the time you choose to maintain your weight loss with the Dukan plan. For most, the best days for this seem to be weekdays since weekends are filled with temptation laden parties, dinners and social gatherings.

In addition to sticking to the diet once a week, you will also have to make sure to exercise 20 minutes each day. Remember that it does not have to be anything more than a 20 minute walk and it can be broken up in increments. You can accomplish this by sampling avoiding elevators, parking far away from the entrance at work and while running errands or taking your dog for an extra long walk.

Oat Bran Rundown

dukan diet oat branPrior to starting the Dukan Diet, you should familiarize yourself with oat bran and the crucial role it plays in this diet plan. Oat bran was at one time used solely for the purpose of feeding livestock. It is now known as one of the most nutritionally dense foods available and provides ample benefits to the human body.

One of the main benefits of oat bran is that it lowers your cholesterol. Many Americans struggle with high cholesterol and don't realize that this miracle food can make a huge impact on those pesky numbers. Oat bran helps lower your bad cholesterol, known as your LDL, by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. It is a more natural food than its counterparts, whole grains and oatmeal, and has more than twice the fiber as well.

In addition to its health benefits, oat bran also helps to keep you feeling full throughout the day, preventing you from over eating at or between meals. When you ingest oat bran, it swells to about 25 times its initial size when consumed with liquid.

For example, one tablespoon or half an ounce of oat bran in your stomach will grow to almost 26 ounces in your stomach. This will not only help prevent overeating but it will also curb cravings and keep temptation at bay since you won't have those pesky hunger pangs commonly felt while dieting.

One other key benefit to consuming oat bran is that it slows the rate by which your body consumes fat and sugar. When consumed, the oat bran binds together with fats and sugars in your digestive system, eliminating some of them from the body before they are able to be absorbed. This helps keep your blood sugar levels low and prevents those spikes and valleys that cause fatigue throughout the day.

One question that arises when discussing the Dukan Diet is whether it's possible to do the program if you suffer from Celiac disease and/or follow a gluten free diet. The answer is a resounding yes.

There are gluten-free versions of oat bran available and can be purchased at most major grocery stores and specialty stores. The gluten-free craze seems to be increasingly popular today and that has made the availability of gluten-free foods, including oat bran, much more widespread.

Dukan Diet Myths

dukan diet mythsSo, now that you know what the Dukan Diet is all about, let's tackle the many myths about the infamous diet plan. As with all diet plans, the Dukan Diet also has its haters, for lack of better words, and many of the myths out there tout the diet as an unhealthy, starvation diet that damages your kidneys and causes trouble for your digestive system.

Myth 1: The Dukan Diet is unhealthy

While the restrictiveness of the initial phases of the plan may sound unhealthy, it actually promotes clean eating and eliminates processed foods and preservatives. Dr. Dukan emphasizes that you prepare your own meals, consisting of lean meats, poultry and fish, combined with fresh vegetables and plenty of water. He continues to emphasize health and nutrition by encouraging you to avoid processed foods, excess sodium, fatty foods and sugar laden desserts.

Most people, especially in the United States, consume more than triple the amount of carbohydrates recommended on a daily basis and this has caused an increasingly overweight population. By limiting carbohydrate intake and increasing lean proteins, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, you can re-teach your body how to eat without having to give up taste and your love of food.

Myth 2: The Dukan Diet is just like the Atkins Diet.

Many that have briefly heard of the Dukan Diet associate it with the Atkins plan because of the low carbohydrate aspect of it, but the similarities end there. The Atkins Diet promotes high fat consumption and unlimited amounts of it. It also limits carbohydrates to 20 grams per day and does not allow for any oats, grains or fibrous foods of any kind. This can be detrimental to those suffering from heart disease and many other ailments. It can have a severe impact on the kidneys and the digestive system.

The Dukan Diet does not allow fat of any kind, outside of eggs and fatty fish, such as salmon. It promotes, low fat or fat-free dairy consumption, restricting the consumption of oils, butter, mayonnaise and other unhealthy condiments. These condiments can be enjoyed on the Dukan Diet but in moderation and on days that you are not eating solely protein and/or vegetables.

Myth 3: You will gain back all the weight you lost.

While this may be true for most diets, this is rarely the truth for those that have strictly adhered to the Dukan Diet guidelines. Although this plan is fairly new to the U.S., it has been around Europe and Canada for over a decade and has helped millions lose unwanted weight. Even Kate Middleton touts the Dukan Diet plan as her diet plan of choice and credits it with giving her the slim, healthy figure she desires.

The Dukan Diet gets much of its nutritional basis from ancient history during the Paleolithic Era. During this time, foods eaten were derived from the land itself and consisted of meat, fish, nuts, vegetables, fruits, roots, mushrooms and anything else that could be obtained from the surrounding environment. Carbohydrates were a minimal aspect of a daily diet in that era and this is the same idea that the diet follows. If you follow the plan as specified, you can enjoy eating what you want, without having to worry about measuring or counting calories, as long as you follow the Dukan guidelines at one day per week.

The Dukan Diet and Diabetes

If you've gotten this far in the review, you probably already know that this diet is ideal for those suffering with Type 2 Diabetes. Not only is the Dukan Diet low in carbohydrates, as is recommended for diabetics to control insulin, but it's also low in fat and sodium intake. Eating foods low in fat and sodium helps keep heart disease at bay and can also help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Both of these factors can help people with pre-diabetes lose weight and delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes from taking control of their lives.

This diet also provides a great way for those suffering from diabetes or being at risk for it to learn a healthy way of eating for the long term. Each phase encourages healthy eating habits and repeatedly promotes exercise and water consumption.

The Dukan Diet Books

If you are planning on getting started with this diet, you may want to invest in the Dukan Diet Book and Cookbook. The Dukan Diet Book is rated as the #1 bestseller in The New York Times and will outline the plan for you in detail. It's available in fourteen languages and has already sold over seven million copies.

The Dukan Diet Cookbook can be an invaluable asset when following the Dukan Diet plan. Since limiting your diet to proteins and vegetables can be boring and redundant, the Dukan Diet Cookbook will give you ideas for a wide variety of different meals created with ingredients you are allowed to eat in each phase. It features over 300 easy to follow recipes for the Attack and Cruise phases. It truly is a must have if you want to succeed with the plan and make the Dukan Diet a lifestyle choice for you.

Some of the recipes found in the book include, Spicy Chicken Kebabs, Meat Loaf with Mushrooms, Snapper with Saffron, Crème Brulee, Chocolate Pudding and Lemon Tart.

Online Dukan Diet Coaching Program

In addition to books, you also have Dukan Diet Coaching available to help you succeed with the plan. The Dukan Diet Coaching plan is an online platform that includes ways to track your daily progress and gives you access to daily input and evaluation on weight loss.

Through the daily interaction of the Dukan Diet Coaching Program, you will be able to closely monitor your successes and failures to see where you can improve. Each morning you will receive an email with your diet menu and pre-designated exercises for the day. In the evening, you will respond with a log of your physical activity, food intake, weight, measurements and overall feelings. The next day, your new instructions will be tailored to your responses from the previous day.

You can also log on daily for the live chats, hosted by Dr. Dukan himself once a week and other experts the remainder of the days. The chats are designed to answer any questions you have regarding the plan and help keep you motivated and on target. Success Stories and Failures

As with all diet plans, the Dukan Diet has many followers that rave about their success and also those that tout it as a restrictive, fad diet. While most rave about results and swear by the plan, a few are still skeptical and did not feel the plan was for them. Read some of the testimonials below and form your own opinion, possibly after giving it a try yourself!

"I've tried countless diets throughout my life. At 38 years old, I'd say I've probably tried them all, about 10 times each! When I heard about the Dukan Diet, I have to admit I was skeptical. It sounded very much like the Atkins Diet and, after trying that, I gained twice the weight I lost back the minute I stopped it. I certainly did not want that to happen again, but I figured I'd give it a shot after my sister in law lost almost 28 pounds in her first two months of doing the diet. It has been almost a year now and I've managed to keep the 18 pounds I lost off while doing the Dukan Diet. It took me only two months to lose it and I was elated when I finally reached my high school weight again. I bought the cookbook, prepared my meals in advance throughout the week and didn't find it difficult or restrictive at all."

"I love the Dukan Diet because it gave me the confidence that I could lose weight when no other diet could. I am the type that needs to see results immediately and, if I don't, I'll give up. With the Dukan Diet, I lose 13 pounds during the first 10 days of the diet on the Attack phase. This gave me the confidence to keep going and lose the other 52 pounds I had to lose to reach my goal."

"The Dukan Diet was introduced to me by a co-worker and, since starting it, I've lost 32 pounds in the Attack and Cruise Phase. So far, I've been on the Dukan Diet for 6 months and, although it can be difficult at times, I make it work. If I'm out with friends, I order protein with vegetables and skip the side of carbohydrates. If I'm tempted for dessert, I make some of the recipes in the cookbook before I head out and take a bit with me. Preparation is key to succeed with this plan and, in my opinion, it's worth it."

"Call me skeptical but all I see are the drawbacks of the Dukan Diet. The fact that, for the first few days, you can only eat protein is unheard of. You can only eat so much chicken, fish, turkey and meat. I could not make it past the first three days and even with the recipes in the book, I was sick of protein. The oat bran is not the tastiest ingredient either and did not curb my cravings for carbohydrates and fruits. There has to be a healthier, more diverse option for dieting than the Dukan Diet and this is plan that is certainly not for everyone."


Overall, the Dukan Diet seems like a plan that will definitely cause significant weight loss. It obviously has the medical backing to support it and plenty of loyal followers, both her in the U.S. and across the Atlantic in the UK, that swear by its successes.

In my opinion, it's definitely a diet that's worth a shot. Getting immediate results is encouraging and could help kick start a newer, healthier lifestyle that includes a diet lower in fat, sodium, sugar and carbohydrates as well.