What is the Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet was designed to be an eating plan that would alter a person’s eating habits for life to receive prolonged health and nutrition. The Dukan Diet is named for its creator, Dr. Pierre Dukan.  Dr. Dukan is a French doctor who has had a lot of experience with clinical nutrition and has helped treat obesity in thousands of patients.

How the Dukan Diet Works

The Dukan Diet is a low carbohydrate, low fat, and high protein diet that does not require a person to keep a limit on calories.  There are 100 foods available to choose from that are mostly comprised of proteins and vegetables and four phases that Dr. Dukan calls Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Permanent Stabilization.  The Attack phase is designed to "kick start" weight loss and offers 68 high protein foods to choose from.  This phase is short and usually lasts between 2 - 7 days while allowing a person to lose up to 7 pounds.

The Cruise phase adds 32 vegetables and will alternate between the Attack phase and the Cruise phase. To determine how long to continue eating according to the Cruise phase, the dieter should follow it for 3 days per pound that needs to be lost.  So, if the dieter wants to lose 10 pounds, they will likely need to stay on the Cruise phase for 30 days.

Once you reach the Consolidation stage, the dieter follows a strict timeline.  For every pound that was lost during the Cruise phase, the dieter will "Consolidate" for 5 days.  So, if 10 pounds were lost, the Consolidation phase will be followed for 50 days.  Forbidden foods will be reintroduced over the course of this phase and it will allow for two days of "celebration" meals each week.  The purpose of this phase is to prevent the weight that was lost in the Cruise and Attack phases from coming back.

The fourth and final phase, called the Permanent Stabilization phase, is basically a continuation of the Cruise phase but has the addition of 3 rules that must be followed for life - eat three tablespoons of oat bran each day, revert to the Attack phase menu on Thursdays, and wherever it is applicable, take the stairs.  The Dukan Diet is easy to follow because there are no calorie restrictions and because all foods are expressly listed.  The only other requirements for the Dukan Diet are drinking a lot of water and getting in at least 20 minutes of walking each day.

What Experts Say about the Dukan Diet

As with every other high protein diet, the Dukan Diet can lead to ketosis in the dieter.  The main issue with ketosis is that it can lead to a loss of brain function, kidney stones, and several other calcium deficiency issues.  The "calcium deficiency" issue with this diet can easily be prevented by incorporating a calcium supplement into a person’s daily diet.  There have even been studies done that support the idea that the human body can actually benefit long term from living in various states of ketosis.

Sample Dukan Diet Meal Plan

The Dukan Diet, as mentioned, is broken up into four separate stages.  The following is a breakdown of each stage, what foods are allowed, and what a daily menu might look like.

Attack Phase

The allowed foods in the Attack phase are:

  • Lean beef, rabbit, and veal.  Ribs should be avoided and ground beef should be 90% lean.
  • Chicken and turkey without the skin or the outer part of the wings.
  • Low fat and lean ham.
  • Veal, chicken, and beef liver.
  • Seafood (any fish, shellfish, or crustacean).  Canned is OK as long as it is in water and not in oil or sauce.
  • Up to 2 eggs per day.
  • Low fat dairy (below 5% fat content).
  • Non-fructose based sweeteners, herbs, mustard, vinegar, spices, herbs, garlic, onions (only as a spice), moderate use of sugar free natural ketchup, sugar free chewing gum, and lemon juice (only as a spice).

Attack Breakfast

  • Warm Drink
  • 2 Egg Omelet
  • Low Fat Cream Cheese

Attack Lunch

  • Steamed Fish with Herbs
  • Ham Slices

Attack Afternoon Snack

  • Oat Bran Muffins
  • Diet Soft Drink

Attack Dinner

  • Peppered Beef Steak
  • Garlic Prawns

Cruise Phase

The Cruise phase adds vegetables into the menu and the dieter should alternate daily between the Cruise food choices and the Attack choices.  So, on day one of the Cruise phase vegetables and proteins will be eaten, and then on day two the protein menu will be followed, day three will move back to the vegetables and proteins, revert back to proteins on day four, and so on until all weight that needs to be lost is gone.

The allowed vegetables are:

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Aubergine
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • French Beans
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Salad leaves
  • Sorrel
  • Soy beans
  • Spinach
  • Swede
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip

Cruise Breakfast

  • Warm Drink
  • 2 Egg Omelet with Spinach and Mushrooms

Cruise Lunch

  • Garlic Prawns
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Grilled Chicken

Cruise Afternoon Snack

  • Baked Pumpkin with a Little Sweetener

Cruise Dinner

  • Rabbit Roasted with Herbs and Potatoes
  • Steamed Brussels Sprouts

Consolidation Phase

The Consolidation phase will add several allowed foods to give more choices.  This phase should last 5 days for every pound lost (10 pounds = 50 days).  In addition to the following reintroduced foods, include 2 "celebration" days and one day where an Attack phase menu is eaten.

Fruit

  • Incorporate one piece of fruit daily.  This means, for example, one peach, one apple, a handful of raspberries, or a couple of plums.  There are exceptions, though - no cherries, bananas or dried fruits.

Lamb and Pork

  • It may have been noticed that during the first three phases of the Dukan Diet that lamb and pork were missing from the food lists.  The lean parts of each can be incorporated into one meal twice a week.

Cheese

  • Up to 40 grams of cheese can be eaten per day and it is recommended that it be eaten all at once to avoid overdoing it.  Allowed cheeses are Gouda, Swiss cheeses and cheddar cheeses.  Use it to spice up an omelet at breakfast or a salad at dinner time.

Starches

  • Eat no more than two 220g (cooked weight) of whole grain pasta or rice per week.  Lentils and beans are now acceptable foods, but regular pasta, rice, and potatoes should be avoided.

Celebration Days

  • Celebration days are days on which anything can be eaten for one meal, including ice cream, fries, chips, lasagna, and pizza.  However, the following rules need to be followed:
    • Eat only one serving - one slice of pizza, one portion of lasagna, and so on.
    • Do not use both celebration days in a row.  If one is had on Tuesday, wait until at least Thursday to have the other.
    • Plan your meal ahead of time and avoid having it in a restaurant where the quality or quantity (restaurant servings are usually at least double an actual serving size) cannot be controlled.  Have a Southern fried chicken leg, a dinner roll, mashed potatoes, and corn if wanted, but do not eat more than a single serving of each.

Permanent Stabilization Phase

The Permanent Stabilization phase is to be followed for life and is just a continuation of the Cruise phase, but has 3 additional rules:

  • Eat three tablespoons of oat bran each day.
  • Revert to the Attack phase menu on Thursdays.
  • Whenever it is possible, take the stairs.
Last Updated: Thursday, October 6, 2011