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Dukan Diet: What Is It And Is It Safe To Follow It For Weight Loss?

The Dukan diet was designed by a French physician in the 1970s. It is a strict high-protein, low-carb diet. This diet focuses on losing weight by mainly consuming protein and fibre.

Dukan Diet: What Is It And Is It Safe To Follow It For Weight Loss?

Dukan Diet is a stringent weight loss diet

The Dukan diet designed by former physician Pierre Dukan is a high-protein low-carb diet. The intention of this diet is to promote weight loss. According to this diet, a high-protein, low-carb diet promotes weight loss by boosting our metabolism. It is proven that eating a protein-rich diet helps us burn fat faster. Along with this, consuming a low-carb diet, forces the body to burn its fat to extract energy. There are 4 phases that constitute the Dukan diet: The attack phase, the cruise phase, the consolidation phase, and the stabilisation phase. In this article, we discuss the phases of the Dukan diet and whether or not is it a healthy diet.

How to follow a Dukan diet?

In order to follow the Dukan diet, one must go through the 4 phases in which the dukan diet is divided. 

The attack phase

The attack phase is the first stage of the Dukan diet. In this phase, the person is expected to eat huge quantities of high-protein foods. This list of 68 permitted proteins includes chicken, turkey, red meats, seafood, cottage cheese, eggs, milk, tofu, soybeans, edamame, and so on. 

The idea behind this high-protein diet is to boost metabolism. However, studies argue that even though protein betters metabolism, the body requires other nutrients to actually absorb and use the benefits of protein. In fact, almost all foods need to be consumed simultaneously for them to provide all of their nutrients. The only single-step way to boost metabolism is to exercise. Physical activity is the only proven technique to promote metabolism without altering other factors. 

The phase usually lasts for 2-5 days, however, for people that wish to lose more than 40 pounds, they might have to stretch this phase for up to 7 days. Besides this, you are expected to avoid any other food. The only food you are permitted to consume besides the protein is, 1.5 tbsps of oat brain daily. Oat bran is high in fiber, hence, reducing feelings of hunger. In this phase, you need to consume at least 1.5 litres of water and only work out for 20 minutes a day.

The cruise phase

During this phase, the diet permits the addition of 32 specific vegetables in your diet along with the lean proteins you were consuming in the previous stage. This phase is called the cruise phase as a person is expected to stay in this phase as long as they want to lose weight. So, to lose every pound, a person would have to follow this diet for 3 days. 

Just like the first phase, the person is permitted to eat as much protein and vegetables as they can eat. The only strict rule is to stick to the 100 food items they are allowed (68 lean proteins and 32 vegetables). Along with this, you are expected to eat 2 tbsps of oat bran every day. Along with this, you have to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes daily.

The consolidation phase

As discussed above, the cruise phase lasts as long as you want to lose weight. Hence, this phase focuses not on losing but on maintaining the weight loss. This phase focuses on avoiding regaining the weight. In this phase you can introduce some foods besides greens and proteins, these would include (for each day):

  • One fruit
  • About 40 grams of cheese
  • Whole grain bread (2 slices per day)

However, the person is given the liberty to eat 1-2 ‘cheat' meals a week which include anything that the person wants to eat. Besides the dietary restrictions, you are required to workout for 25 minutes daily.

The stabilisation phase

This phase is the maintenance stage. This stage includes the long-term dietary rules advised. In this stage, the person is required to:

  • Pick one day each week to be a protein diet day (similar to the attack phase diet)
  • Eat 3 tbsps of oat bran daily
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes every day
  • Drink at least 1.5 litres of water everyday
  • Take stairs whenever possible

This phase is supposed to be a lifetime alteration to the person's diet and does not have a time bracket. In this stage, you can consume artificial sweeteners.

Is Dukan diet a healthy way to lose weight?

Upon various studies, we can recognise that a high-protein diet does boost weight loss, keeping some factors in mind. However, studies also suggest that our body requires various nutrients to better absorb each other and a restrictive diet might not help absorb the foods' nutrients properly. It may be helpful in losing weight, however, it may be too strict to be followed as a long-term diet. 

Finally, eating healthy should not necessarily mean boring food. If you eat a balanced diet, you can better incorporate a delicious array of foods and even make healthier versions of the foods you enjoy. Diets like the Dukan diet require very high level of self-control and might affect your mental health negatively. Hence, we encourage you to avoid strict diets that might be too harsh on your body and mind.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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