Dukan Diet and The Possible Risks

Dukan Diet

What is Dukan Diet?

The Dukan Diet as the name explains is a diet plan that was designed by Pierre Dukan, a French physician, and nutritionist in 2000. He designed the Dukan diet to lose weight. He proclaimed if you stop eating carbs, your body will burn all the fat already present in the body resulting in weight loss. The diet includes giving up all carbohydrate-containing food. You can eat as much food as you want as long as it is on the approved list of foods i.e. lean protein, fish, oat bran, etc.


dukan diet


The Dukan diet requires some daily physical activity and focuses on natural food rather than packaged foods. Dukan diet theory depicts that you can help lose weight by eating protein because-

  • Eating protein can help people lose weight without feeling hungry.
  • Lean proteins are higher in calories and need more energy for digestion.
  • Restricting fat and carbs induces starvation that forces your body to use stored fat in the body.
  • Every day walk for 20 minutes is also a necessary part of the Dukan diet.

Dukan’s diet is inspired by an obese man who wanted to lose weight without giving up meat. Dr Dukan’s diet website provides a list of 100 foods including meats that are allowed on the diet chart. Of the 100 foods, 32 are vegetables and 68 are ‘pure protein’.


Four Phases in the Dukan Diet

Dukan diet includes 4 phases for permanent weight loss. A person may lose weight in the 1st and 2nd phases. Later phases are to avoid gaining the lost weight again; initial phases are for some weeks whereas later phases are for the long term.

  1. The attack phase
  2. The cruise phase
  3. The consolidation phase
  4. The stabilization phase


1. The attack phase


attack phase dukan diet


The attack phase is the first step of the Dukan diet, in which you eat as much lean protein as you can. The duration of the attack phase is 1-7 days. The theory behind the attack phase is that eating high protein will kick start metabolism which can lead to weight loss. The person can eat any animal meat from the list of 68 Dukan diet charts, along with 1.5 tablespoons of eating bran daily.

Although it takes more calories to burn protein many dieticians disagree that any food can kick start the metabolism. However, cutting on carbs can cause water loss or dehydration which might lead to weight loss.

All four stages include 10 minutes of exercise or walking.


2. The Cruise phase




The Cruise Phase is the second phase of the Dukan diet. The cruise phase can last from 1 week to a month until you come to your natural weight. During this phase, you can continue to eat the food of the attack phase along with some added non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy green vegetables, and 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day. In this phase, you can eat meat and vegetables on alternate days. You’re supposed to lose 1 pound at least in three days. Therefore, the period of this phase depends on your weight.


3. The consolidation phase


phase-consolidation dukan diet


Losing weight is hard but not regaining it back is even harder. Most of the people regain all the weight they worked so hard to lose, within a short period of time. Dr Dukan designed a consolidation phase to prevent the after-effects of losing weight. In the consolidation phase, you’re allowed all the previously forbidden food like veggies every day, one piece of fruit, and 2 slices of whole-grain bread. You can also have 2 servings of starchy food and 2 celebration meals per week. One thing you have to strictly follow is 1 pure protein day on Thursday. You can also sip a little wine during the consolidation phase, once a week.


4. Stabilization phase


stabi dukan diet


The stabilization phase is simple but lasts forever. In all the above three phases your body gains its true weight and develops a healthy routine. In the stabilization phase, you have to maintain your weight and loosen the rules as your weight becomes stable. The stabilization phase is a long-term process that becomes a part of the lifestyle.

  • The diet in this phase includes 3 tablespoons of oat gran.
  • Having pure protein every Thursday is necessary.
  • Walk 20 minutes every day.


Results of Dukan diet

Weight loss– Dukan diet is effective if you follow all the phases, step by step. The first two stages of this diet are significant and will show a drastic change in your weight. The total restriction on carbs is the main reason behind weight loss. However, after two stages when you go to your normal diet you may regain some of it again.

Risks– There is no proof that this is a healthy way to lose weight. Many researchers say a high protein diet is effective but what effects it has on your health, in the long run, are still questionable. For example, a person with heart disease can not follow this diet as cutting on fibres may cause trouble.


Advantages of Dukan diet

  • Most people follow diets, lose weight and regain it. But the Dukan diet goes beyond and helps a person in keeping the ‘true weight’ intact.
  • One of the best things about the Dukan diet is that a person can lose weight within 2- 3 weeks which can be quite motivating.
  • You do not keep a calorie count. You can eat as much as you want.
  • There is no restriction on meat; it’s a plus point for all meat lovers.
  • Alcohol is restricted.


Disadvantages of Dukan diet

  • A recent study says that the Dukan diet may cause insomnia and disrupted sleep. When you are following the Dukan diet, you’ll have just 3g of sugar. Whereas, the NHS recommends getting at least 30 g of sugar per day.

‘’Suddenly cutting out the amount of sugar you take can make you anxious, insomniac and make your experience of emotions that can keep you awake’’.  -THE SUN, (8th MARCH, 2021)


Dukan diet disadvanatges


  • Dukan diet includes dropping off carb and fibre which is one of the biggest drawbacks. A person may suffer from nutrient deficiency as most healthy food groups are missing on the Dukan diet chart.
  • Considering the low fibre diet, a person can suffer from indigestion and other digestion-related problems.
  • Tiredness and fatigue could be one side effect of following the Dukan diet.
  • Dukan diet can affect your kidney, especially if you have renal diseases as handling too much protein can be a big task for your kidney.
  • A person with health disorders like heart diseases, diabetes will need to change their diet. It is advised to consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet plan.


Foods allowed in the Dukan diet

Though there are no limitations or calorie counts on how much you should eat as long as it comes under Dukan’s diet chart. The foods that you can eat are following-

  • Lean protein, for example, beef, pork, lamb, venison, and any red meat.
  • Fish and shellfish, clams, crawfish, lobster
  • Skinless poultry, chicken
  • Non-fat dairy including cottage cheese, yoghurt, and milk
  • Oat bran
  • Shirataki
  • Leafy green vegetables like kale, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach. (Starting from cruise phase)
  • Asparagus, green beans, turnips
  • Eggs, quail, duck
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Wheat gluten




Foods to Avoid in the Dukan diet

Each phase has a different diet plan. The list of foods that you need to avoid to lose weight keeps changing in every phase. Eating any of these is strictly prohibited until the stabilization phase except alcohol. A person can drink half of a glass of wine in the consolidation phase.

  • carbohydrates
  • Fruits
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes.
  • Sugars
  • Fats
  • Alcohol


Dukan vs Atkins

Dukan and Atkins’s diets are similar in many ways as they both are low carb, high-protein intake. And they both have 4 phases of weight loss. However, there are some differences they are-

  • Dukan diet does not include calorie counting; in contrast, Atkin’s requires tracking your carbs.
  • Dukan offers a variety of 100 foods; Atkin’s diet is restrictive in comparison.
  • The Atkin’s diet pedals its line of food which includes packaged food, whereas Dukan’s diet completely favours natural food.
  • Dukan’s diet focuses on low-fat protein like fat-free dairy products, whereas Atkin’s diet does not restrict any saturated fat.


To conclude, no quality studies have been done on the Dukan diet and its safety. It’s just that evidence supports high protein; a low-carb diet helps in weight loss. In some past researches, it was found that a person with a kidney stone could worsen the conditions if follows the Dukan diet. To add up, newer studies show that a person with healthy kidneys can go for the diet.

If you are looking for guidance and advice from experts about food and nutrition, then don’t forget to contact Mantra Care. We have a team of expert nutritionists and dietitians offering nutritional counseling at affordable rates from people all across the world. You may visit our website to learn more information and book a session.

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