Dukan Diet – What Is It & How Does It Work

Dukan Diet

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Do you want to drop 10 to 15 pounds and never gain it back again? Then you need to follow the Dukan diet.


The Dukan diet will re-design the eating habits and help you permanently stabilize the weight. According to this diet, you can eat unlimited quantities of food as long as they are on the approved food list and lose weight. Dukan diet is also known as the princess diet. It is a protein-based diet created by Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist. The diet gained popularity after the publication of his book under the same name. Dukan is a high protein, low carb and low fat diet, designed to lose weight. This healthy eating plan is based on proteins and vegetables.


The diet claims that you can lose 10 pounds within the first week of following this diet. You will continue to lose 4 to 5 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight. It claims that if you follow the instructions carefully, you can attain a realistic weight and can maintain it for the rest of your life.


According to the proponents of this diet, counting calories is not the key to weight loss. Protein is a weight loss powerhouse. Eating a diet rich in protein squeezes the fat and carbohydrates from the body, leading to faster weight loss. A diet high in protein eliminates water and reduces water retention, thereby leading to weight loss. Limiting the carbohydrate intake forces the body to use fat as an alternative fuel. This can help you burn calories at a faster pace.

How does the Dukan Diet work?

The Dukan diet is extremely difficult to follow. Even a slightest slip can destruct your diet regime. There are four phases of the Dukan diet. – Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Stabilization.

1. Attack:

Attack is the pure protein phase that jump starts the weight loss process. The dieters are permitted to eat only protein in this phase. It is also important that the protein be low in fat. The foods allowed in this phase are low fat ham, eggs, soy, cottage cheese, veal, fish, shellfish, turkey, chicken, pork and venison. You can season it with herbs and spices to make the dish palatable. During this diet, you can eat 68 high protein foods that can produce immediate and noticeable weight loss. You also need to consume 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran in this phase on a daily basis. Oats are high in fiber and take a long time to break down in the body. It swells twenty times in size inside the stomach, suppressing hunger.

One and a half (1.5) liters of water should be consumed on a day. The attack phase lasts between one to ten days, depending on how much weight you want to lose. People who want to shed 20 to 40 pounds should follow it for at least 7 days. Your aim should be to lose six to seven pounds within two to ten days.

2. Cruise:

The aim of this phase is to achieve the target weight loss gradually. The Cruise phase allows you to add back certain vegetables like cucumber, mushrooms, pepper, salad greens and zucchini. 32 specific vegetables are added to the diet in this phase. You can consume unlimited amounts of vegetables as long as they are starch free.

Dukan recommends to alternate one day of attack phase with one day of the cruise phase to lose weight steadily. For example, one day you can have unlimited amount of protein rich foods and the other day combine lean protein with low starchy vegetables. Here the oat bran recommendation is increased to 2 tablespoons. You can lose 2 to 4 pounds a week in this phase. The average weight loss is 1 kg per week. Therefore, if a person wants to lose 10 kg, the phase should be followed for 10 weeks. The 1.5 liter water intake should be continued.

3. Consolidation:

This phase is the most vulnerable as there are relatively high chances of weight rebound. The phase is designed to prevent the rebound by eating the previously forbidden foods in limited quantities. In the consolidation phase, you can add foods you have been longing for to your diet.

Individuals can consume huge quantities of protein rich foods and vegetables daily with 1 serving of fruit, 1 ½ ounce of cheese and 2 slices of whole grain bread. The phase lasts for five days for every pound you lose. This means that people who have lost 20 pounds will stay in consolidation for 100 days. You can also eat two servings of starchy foods like pasta or quinoa and two celebration meals, where you can eat anything of your choice, in moderation. The 2-tablespoon oat bran requirement stays. You have to follow the attack phase diet once a week at least.

4. Permanent stabilization:

In this phase, you are permitted to eat anything you want for six days a week. The seventh day should be pure protein day. You also have to consume 3 tablespoons of oat bran daily during this phase. This phase is meant to last a lifetime. Dieters can also consume vinegar, artificial sweeteners, sugar free gum, spices and even multivitamins in this phase. The three nonnegotiable rules of this diet are:

  1. 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day
  2. 20 minutes of brisk walk daily and take the stairs whenever possible
  3. Have a pure protein every Thursday.


Alcohol is prohibited during the early phases of the diet. However, you can have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer with your celebration meals.

Cardiovascular Benefits:

The dieters have reported no significant change in the cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It either stayed the same or improved a bit. People with cardiovascular problems should not rely on the Dukan diet to improve their conditions. In general, a diet heavy on fruits, vegetables and whole grains can only help you with heart health.


Just like most of the diet plan plans, Dukan diet has also launched an online coaching service and shop. There are online forums and live chats that can help you with your queries. You can also get a specialized program and online weight loss coaching. Prepackaged Dukan foods according to your diet are also available online. The official website offers sample recipes and inspirational success stories to help you get through the diet.


The fee varies according to your diet plan, but the Dukan Diet guide costs $26.


The nutrition experts of the Dukan diet lay emphasis on the importance of satiety. The high concentrations of protein provided by this diet will never let you go hungry.


Exercise is highly required while following this diet. The diet recommends working out for 20 minutes a day in attack phase, 30 to 60 minutes in cruise phase, 25 minutes in consolidation and 20 minutes in Permanent Stabilization phase.

Brisk walking is the preferred form of exercise in this diet plan. It also offers instruction on toning the thighs, stomach, buttocks and arms.

Dukan Diet Health Benefits

1. Diabetes:

The researchers infer that Dukan diet can help improving insulin sensitivity, thereby preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

2. Weight loss:

No clinical trials have evaluated the effect of Dukan diet on weight loss. According to an online survey, 1525 dieters reported an average loss of 15.7 pounds after the first two phases.

3. Eat as Much as You Want:

Dukan diet promises one to eat as much as you can. This is a great comfort to the foodies and avid dieters.

Health Risks Associated With Dukan Diet:

  • A short term, high protein diet is not harmful, but the long-term outlook can be detrimental to the health. Eating only protein rich foods and oat bran can also get tiresome after a while.
  • Protein creates uric acid, which should be eliminated at the earliest to prevent kidney problems. Make sure you drink enough water to keep your kidneys working efficiently.
  • Cutting off grains, dairy and fruits and vegetable groups can lead to nutritional deficiency.
  • You may also experience bad breath, lethargy and constipation.
  • This diet is not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It requires one to eat high amounts of poultry, shellfish, fish, eggs and it offers no substitute for these foods.
  • Dukan diet stresses on ketosis, a process in which the body attacks its own fats. This directly targets the kidney, impairing its proper functioning.
  • A high protein diet leads the body to process more calcium. The body starts extracting the calcium from the bones, leading to bone density loss. This leads to osteoporosis.
  • A low fiber intake can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • The diet is not recommended for people who are at a risk of electrolyte imbalance.

Dukan Diet Sample Meal Plan:

Early morning: 8 am

  • 1 cup of green tea

Breakfast: 9 pm

  • Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

Lunch: 1 pm

  • Sautéed chicken breast
  • 1 oat bran pan cake

Evening snack: 4 pm

  • 1 small bowl of Greek yogurt

Dinner: 9 pm

  • 1 fish fillet with mustard dill sauce
  • Prawn and egg salad


  • Lemon cheesecake

For some people following a life long diet plan works as they seek stability and consistency but for many it is an ordeal. But over time one can get used to making small changes to their diet which will help them in the long run. We hope that there will be some points which will surely help you in this diet and get rid of those extra pounds you have been fighting. Do leave your comments and share your feedback with us.

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