Dukan Diet Overview
The Dukan Diet is often called the French Atkins diet—but don't expect to enjoy buttery croissants and duck foie gras on this regimen. Just like the Atkins diet, the Dukan Diet eliminates most carbohydrates. But unlike the American Atkins diet, the Dukan Diet cuts back on fats as well—and then reintroduces those carbs.
The Dukan Diet has four stages. The first is called the "attack" phase and lasts a week. During the attack phase, only lean meats, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy foods are permitted, along with plenty of water and heaping tablespoons of oat bran. (In fact, according to the Dukan Diet, oat bran is something of a perfect food that spurs weight loss in of itself.)
The second phase, termed the "cruise" phase, allows the addition of 28 approved vegetables on certain days. (Starchy vegetables like potatoes are verboten, as well as corn, which supposedly has too much sugar.)
The third stage, dubbed the "consolidation" phase, permits the sparing introduction of fruit (one serving a day, though some fruits are still not allowed, like bananas and cherries), a slice of whole wheat bread or the equivalent, a small amount of non- or low-fat cheese and two portions of starch (like rice or potatoes) a week. The occasional glass of red wine is OK as well.
In the final stage, Dukannistes (as they're known) are allowed to eat nearly any foods they like, though they must eat a phase one protein-only diet one day a week. (In France, this day is usually Thursday, and restaurants often offer a Dukan-friendly special.)
When invented: French nutritionist Pierre Dukan invented the diet and in 2000 published his book Je nai sais pas maigrir, or I Don't Know How To Lose Weight, in France. More recently, Dukan has caused a media frenzy in the U.S.
Length of diet plan: The Dukan Diet is made up of four critical stages. Each phase varies according to individual weight loss goals.
The Attack Phase: This introductory stage lasts between one and 10 days, depending on how much weight loss is required. A target of 25 pounds typically requires a seven day "attack."
The Cruise Phase: Congratulations, you've made it to stage two. Stick with it until you've reached your target weight loss goal. Then move on to the third stage of the program.
The Consolidation Phase: Stage three is ongoing. Dukan followers are permitted to add carbohydrates back into their diets during two cheat-meals per week while in the consolidation phase.
The Stabilization Phase: The ultimate goal of this last stage is to commit to three rules for life:
- Eat a protein-only diet one day a week. This should be the same day each week.
- Consume three tablespoons of oat bran a day, everyday.
- Walk 20 minutes a day. Only take the stairs; never take elevators or escalators.
Jennifer Lopez reportedly lost her baby weight after giving birth to twins Max and Emme with the Dukan Diet. Mother-of-the-bride Carole Middleton reportedly followed the Dukan Diet to lose weight for her daughter Kate's wedding to Prince William.