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The Dukan diet is the ultimate in prescriptive eating, with only a small choice of foods to choose from in the first phase. Carbs are the enemy, even if they come dressed as fruit and vegetables (as seen above).
Pierre Dukan’s high-protein, low-carb plan was first published in Europe in 2000. It wasn’t until 2010 that the Dukan movement really became popular, and was rebranded as the Dukan diet. Despite being the newbie on an already very carb-free block, The Dukan diet carved a gap in the jostling miracle weight loss market with a little help from some fairly well known fans throughout Hollywood.
Pierre Dukan began his medical career specializing in neurology but allegedly switched to nutrition after recommending a high-protein diet to a friend desperate to lose weight. So impressed with his friend's rapid reduction in size, Dukan embarked on developing and researching the diet that would eventually make him a household name. To date, the Dukan diet book has sold more than eight million copies worldwide.
Not without controversy, Dukan’s weight loss plan has come under criticism from health professionals, many believing that the diet promotes an unbalanced way of eating.
This first stage lasts between five-ten days and promises immediate results. Dieters have 72 high-protein foods to choose from, with absolutely no carbohydrates allowed.
While pure protein days are still encouraged, carbohydrates are slowly reintroduced in the form of 28 pre-approved vegetables. Dukanites, as the dieters are called, stay in this stage until they have reached their ‘goal weight’.
Previously forbidden foods such as fruit and dairy are gradually reintroduced. Followers are even granted two ‘celebration meals’ a week where they are allowed to eat almost anything they like (some restrictions still apply).
If you’ve managed to reintroduce carbohydrates back into your life without putting weight back on, you’re allowed to step into stage 4.
How long people stay on the diet depends on their current weight, fitness and desired goal weight.
My Final Thoughts:
During the initial, very restrictive phase you can expect to lose weight quite quickly which of course acts as a great motivator. The diet is especially attractive for those who don’t like counting calories and prefer a more prescriptive way of eating because it sets out exactly what you can have.
The Dukan diet restricts fat and omits vegetables completely in the first phase, with a gradual re-introduction of some fruit, vegetables and carbs in the subsequent phases of the diet. Beware that many followers find it difficult to stick to the dedicated weekly “protein day”.
There is limited scientific support that the Dukan diet is effective and sustainable in the long term, so although you can expect to lose weight in the initial very strict phases of the diet, most go on to regain the weight they originally lost.
More importantly, though, the diet ignores key healthy eating principles – including the importance of fruit and vegetables, the benefits of whole-grains and fiber and the health benefits achieved by selecting from a variety of food groups. For these reasons the diet is likely to be nutritionally imbalanced.
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This article is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is not to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice or any doctors recommendation. Prior to beginning any weight loss program, individuals must consult a physician for proper diagnosis and/or treatment.