The Dukan Diet: Does It Work?

The Dukan diet was developed in the 1970s, but has steadily grown in popularity since then. There isn’t much official research on the Dukan diet, but it has many factors that are worth taking a closer look at. Some people can lose weight following the Dukan diet, but is it healthy and safe?

High in protein, low in carbohydrates

The Dukan Diet is based on the idea that people don’t have to count calories to lose weight. Instead, this diet focuses on limiting carbohydrates and increasing protein. A lot studies show that low-carb, high-protein diets are effective. What makes the Dukan diet different is that it has many rules to follow, which may confuse some people.

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Attack phase:

The attack phase: from the Dukan diet takes between one and ten days, depending on how much weight you want to lose. Most people on the Dukan diet want to lose about 20 to 40 pounds and stay in the attack phase for five days.

This stage is all-you-can-eat protein, including meats, such as lean beef and poultry, and vegetable proteins, such as tofu. It also allows for all low-calorie drinks and requires 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran each day for fiber.

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Cruise phase

In the cruise phase, add some non-starchy vegetables such as greens, zucchini, bell pepper and cucumber, and you should eat two tablespoons of oat bran every day. The diet also recommends alternating cruising days with attack days or doing five cruise days followed by five attack days until you reach your goal weight.

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Consolidation phase

After reaching your target weight, it’s time for the consolidation phase† At this point, your body is still vulnerable to weight gain, and the diet recommends a five-day consolidation phase for every pound you’ve lost. As such, this phase lasts quite a long time for some people.

During the consolidation phase, you can get all the protein and veggies you want each day, as well as a serving of fruit, two pieces of whole wheat bread, 1.5 ounces of cheese, and two tablespoons of oat bran. Each week, you’re also allowed two servings of starchy foods, one or two cheat meals, and three delicious proteins, such as roast pork or ham. Once a week, you should also have a pure protein attack day.

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After the consolidation phase you go to: permanent stabilization† You can eat whatever you want six days a week, and you should have three tablespoons of oat bran every day.

The seventh day is a very strict attack day when you should eat only pure lean protein. This maintenance phase is meant to last a lifetime.

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Dietary Abnormalities

Few studies have been done on the specific effects of this diet, but a study done in Poland aimed at women following the Dukan diet.

The results show that protein intake in these women was excessive, while carbohydrate intake was low. The intake of iron, potassium and vitamins A and D was high, but the folic acid and vitamin C were low.

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weight loss

Women in the study On the Dukan diet do lose weight. After about eight to 10 weeks, the average weight loss was 15 kg or 33 lbs, but questions remain about the long-term effects.

Researchers concluded that following this diet for a long time can lead to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, kidney disease and liver disease. This study also determined that the weight loss was likely due to a calorie deficit and not to the specific requirements of the diet.

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While there may not be many direct studies on the Dukan diet, there are many on similar low-carb/high-protein eating plans.

Many studies report that in individuals who have lost weight, there is a reduction in total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, but moderate carbohydrate diets show better results. Researchers attribute this to the fact that low-carb diets have about 40 percent less fat than low-carb diets, but this may not apply to the Dukan diet, as it’s also low-fat.

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Insulin Sensitivity

Low-carb diets like the Dukan diet are known for reduction in fasting glucose and improving insulin sensitivity† Some studies show an improvement after just three or four days of low-carb eating.

These results indicate that early-stage low-carbohydrate diets may be a good option for those at risk for insulin resistance and other obesity-related conditions, but it is not known whether these effects persist after increasing carbohydrate intake.

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Duration of the diet

Some researchers are concerned about the efficacy and safety of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, in part because: these diets are not suitable for all people† Current research suggests they can significantly benefit obese people, improving both morbidity and mortality, but are only safe for short periods of about two months.

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