Like many other things, diet plans have become a big rage today. People like to restrict themselves via these diet plans and lose a significant amount of weight within a short span of time and attain an envious beach-ready body. However, the problem starts after the diet plan is successfully over.
Most find it difficult to retain their weight loss. Once switching to a normal diet, all lost flab is quickly regained and we are back to square one.
Amidst this turmoil, one diet plan, the Dukan diet plan has been grabbing the limelight. It claims to yield rapid and permanent weight loss without any hunger pangs. Here, we would review the diet plan and know about its various aspects.
What is Dukan Diet?
The brainchild of the French doctor and expert on weight management, Pierre Dukan, the Dukan diet is a well-balanced four-phase plan that promises you a realistic weight loss over a period of time that will remain permanent.
The best thing that sells this high protein, low-carb, and low-fat diet plan to any dieter is that you can actually eat an unlimited amount of food and need not feel any hunger pangs.
The diet plan is highlighted by a list of hundred food items that you are allowed to eat during its four phases. In general, you can lose up to 10 pounds in the first week and a sustained 2 to 4 pounds per subsequent week till you reach your weight goals.
The diet plan was first published in 2000 in France but began gaining ground throughout the world and UK since about 2010.
How does Dukan Diet Work?
The Dukan Diet is built on the fact that the key to losing fat is not counting calories but in eating proteins. A weight-loss powerhouse, proteins essentially have long chains of building blocks, the amino acids which are very strongly bonded. These take much time and effort by the body to break it down as compared to carbohydrates and proteins.
For instance, when compared, if about 100 calories are taken in for each group, the body consumes 30 calories to digest proteins, 12 calories to digest fats, and just 7 calories to digest carbohydrates.
Thus, a maximum calorie is used by the body to digest proteins. As the time taken for its digestion is also the longest, it keeps the food in the stomach for a much longer time and you feel satiated for a longer time.
Additionally, the diet looks to seriously cut carbohydrates including those coming from fruits and vegetables. The reason behind it is that carbohydrates encourage the secretion of insulin which not only controls blood sugar levels but also encourages the storage of fats.
Dukan Diet Phases – The Dukan Diet Made Easy for You!
The Dukan Diet constitutes of four phases, each of which has plenty of do’s and don’ts which are supposed to be followed strictly. Even a slight deviation is believed to be destructive to the final results of the diet plan. The first two stages are considered the actual fact loss stages while the latter two are considered as stabilizing stages which ensure that the weight loss is not regained back. Let us glimpse through each phase of the diet plan.
- Dukan Diet Phase 1- The Attack Phase
This is touted as the short, sharp, and shocking initial stage which makes your body lose weight fast. In an all-you-can-eat, portion-wise phase, you are supposed to consume just pure proteins along with 20 minutes of walk.
While technically there is just egg white which is pure protein, 72 food items are available to choose from and consume here.
However, despite eating to your heart’s content you lose significant weight in this phase. The phase is supposed to last about five to ten days and manifests significant weight loss. Here carbohydrates are excluded completely or almost completely.
The weight loss is mostly the loss due to water retention loss from the body. The common food items consumed here are lean beef, pork, and venison, veal, fish, poultry without skin, organ meat like liver, kidney, and tongue, low-fat ham, shellfish, turkey and chicken, eggs, non-fat dairy, vegetable proteins like tofu and seitan, water, no-calorie drinks like diet soda and one and a half tablespoons of oat bran.
Water drinking should be optimal with 6 cups as the minimum quantity. Within five days, you tend to lose about 4 to 7 pounds.
- Dukan Diet Phase 2 – The Cruise Phase
In this phase, you can add specific all-you-can-eat vegetables. This list includes non-starchy vegetables like mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, spinach, lettuce, kale, and other leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bell pepper, asparagus, artichokes, eggplant, celery, tomatoes, green beans, onion, leeks, shallots, pumpkin, turnip, etc.
The diet has a list of about 32 vegetables that you can eat in addition to an extra half tablespoon of oat bran from the attack phase. 1 teaspoon of oil can be taken daily for greasing pans etc.
No other fat is allowed. Here, you are advised to alternate one day as pure protein day and the other day as protein plus vegetable day. The phase can be executed for an unlimited period of time till you attain your desired weight. Here you take about 3 days to lose a pound of weight.
- Dukan Diet Phase- 3- The Consolidation Phase
This phase is considered the most crucial of the three phases as this consolidates the weight loss. This is also the same vulnerable period in which you tend to gain back your lost weight.
Thus, the main purpose of this phase is to stop the rebound effect. Here, you start eating the previously forbidden foods in small quantities as well as indulging in 2 ‘celebration meals’ per week. Here, you can eat veggies, one fruit, two slices of whole wheat bread, and a serving of hard cheese.
In the celebration meal, you can eat whatever you desire like starchy food, indulgence proteins, etc. You can also have a glass of wine in your celebration meal.
Simultaneously, you continue to have 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day. This is a strict timeline phase. You can be in this phase for five days per pound of weight loss. Additionally, one day per week of this should be of the ‘Attack Phase’.
- Dukan Diet Phase 4- The Stabilization Phase
This is the final phase of the diet plan where you simply work on maintaining and stabilizing the improvements achieved during all the previous phases of the diet. The food is healthy here. Technically, no food is off-limits here though some rules still need to be adhered to:-
- Your basic framework for planning meals in this phase should be the Consolidation phase.
- One ‘pure proteins’ day per week still needs to be followed.
- 3 tablespoons of oat bran should be consumed on a daily basis.
- Do not miss any opportunity for physical exercise like taking stairs instead of escalators. 20 minutes walk should be done religiously every day.
These are popularly referred to as ‘rules for life’.
The Dukan Secret Ingredient – The Oat Bran
For many, the Dukan diet is quite similar to the Atkins diet but for the oat bran. It is the key carbohydrate element distinguishing the two no-carb diet regimes. One can easily consume this carbohydrate as porridge, muffins, pancakes, and even yogurt.
Oat bran is high in simple sugars, proteins as well a high level of soluble fibers that absorb water from the gut to give you a satiated and full feel.
It is not only terrific for heart diseases but also relieves constipation. In its digested form in the stomach, it works like flypaper and attracts fats, sugars, and toxins to eliminate them from the body before they get absorbed by the body.
In the first phase, its quantity is limited as higher quantity can interfere with the protein diet function. Later it is gradually increased to keep the balance and keep fat at bay.
The Side Effects of Dukan Diet
The high protein, low carb diet tends to give you fantastic results with your weight loss endeavors but one cannot avoid its side effects. However, you should not let these deter you from trying this plan.
It’s best to know about these possible side effects and strategize to deal with them in the best possible manner. Some of its major side effects are:-
The diet is severely carbohydrate-restricted which makes it fiber restricted as well and this makes your bowel movement cannot help but be affected. The combat to it is to ensure you consume your oatmeal bran and plenty of water daily. For severe conditions, some fiber supplements can be taken.
- Bad Breath and Fatigue
The natural result of the diet is the formation of ketones in the body which gives rise to the side effects of bad breath and fatigue. Simultaneously, these side effects also let you know that the diet plan is actually working.
Likewise, the plaque and tartar deposition can also shoot up. Looking into the positive side, its appearance and intensity vary from person to person. If manifested, one should brush teeth after every meal, use mouthwash regularly, keep mints and sugar-free gums handy and even pay a visit to the dentist in extreme cases.
- Kidney Damage
Normally this side effect does not surface but it can manifest on those who have existing kidney problems or high levels of uric acid already present in the body. Thus, it is always better to consult a doctor in case of any problem. Otherwise, the side effect can be eliminated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Carbohydrate Withdrawal Symptoms
Because the body is deprived of carbohydrates and fats, it gets into a withdrawal mode. One of its most common symptoms is induction flu. You might experience fever, nausea, and headache, loss of concentration, irritability, and even mood swings.
The manifestation of these symptoms occurs mostly in the first phase of the diet plan. However, these stabilize soon enough. This can also be balanced later by ensuring to consume at least 5 Gms of carbohydrates daily from the Consolidation phase.
Dukan Diet Reviews
Dukan diet is all about rules. Thus, if you find it easy to follow rules, you would appreciate the Dukan diet. Its many guidelines show you a clear-cut path to follow.
Even if it has a low time span restrictive period, the restrictive level is quite intense and rigid. Thus, only a person with high willpower will find success from the word ‘go’.
On the positive side, it has very easy and simple recipes with even an allowance for eating out. While you prepare your own meals, you are given a list of approved herbs and spices which can be used easily to make food tasty.
The other point that needs to be considered for this diet plan is that it is based predominantly on consuming lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, shellfish, and fat-free dairy.
Vegan protein options are limited like Seiten, tofu, and tempeh. Vegan protein sources like beans, nuts, and lentils cannot be consumed. Thus, the diet plan is ideally not suitable for vegans who need to shop for alternate plans.
On the positive side, the diet plan is good for conditions like diabetes which can lead you to lower your medicine dose. Thus diabetic patients should always be under the supervision of a doctor.
Regarding the weight loss effectivity of this plan, proper scientific evaluation is absent. In 2010, an online survey was conducted on 1525 people that reported that on average, dieters lost 15 7/10 pounds after the first two phases.
The Dukan diet plan is a tough regime with no flexibility. Thus, not all can follow this plan. Again food choices are very limited. Furthermore, it cannot be considered healthy as foods from all groups are absent.
Its must-have ingredient oat bran is also not considered healthy by experts as it contains phytates which tend to bind with minerals like iron and zinc and reduces their absorption.
We recommend taking this diet plan to kick start your weight loss but continue that with a well-balanced diet of proteins and high fiber carbs which would prove more sustainable and healthy.