It has sold more than 10 million copies in 14 languages. It promises the holy grail of eat an unlimited quantity of food and lose weight. It is a four phase diet with no need to weigh food or count calories, 1.5 liters of water and 20 minutes to half hour of walking per day., claims to have helped 5 million French people and not a few celebrities lose weight the Dukan way.
Phase 1 ‘Attack’
The goal of this phase is to kick start weight loss with a reduction of 2 – 3kg per week. This is achieved by following a rigid high protein, low carbohydrate protocol similar to the Atkins Diet but with the addition of 1 tablespoon of bran for fiber. Other than bran the dieter follows a protein only diet for one to 10 days depending on how much weight needs to be lost.
Permissible proteins include lean beef, veal, rabbit, chicken or turkey meat, low fat ham, beef, veal or chicken liver, fish, crustaceans and shellfish. The dieter may have up to two eggs per day (but only 3 – 4 yolks per week) and non-fat dairy products.
Food may be eaten grilled, roasted or boiled but without butter, oil or cream.
Dieters are warned that they may experience bad breath, constipation, dry mouth and fatigue during ‘Attack’.
Phase 2 ‘Cruise’
Non-starchy vegetables are introduced. Dieters alternate protein days with protein and vegetables. Any of the following vegetables may be eaten: artichoke, asparagus, aubergine/eggplant, beatroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprout, celery, celeriac, chicory, courgette/zucchini, cucumber, fennel, French beans, leeks, mushrooms, onion, peppers, pumpkin, radish, salad leaves, sorrel, soya beans, spinach, swede, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip. They can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled or baked (in foil).
Starchy vegetables that stay on the no-no list are: potato, rice, corn, peas, beans and lentils as well as avocado (strictly a fruit).
Oat bran is increased to 2 tablespoons. Walking time reaches 30 minutes per day.
Weight loss slows to 1 kg per week. Dieters may stay on it until their desired goal weight is achieved.
Phase 3 ‘Consolidation’
Here begins the lifetime commitment of a protein-only day once a week.
This phase is the transition between hard core dieting and a return to normal eating. Now you can have unlimited protein (including pork and lamb) and vegetables daily, one piece of low-sugar fruit, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and 1 portion of hard cheese. Butter, cream and oil are still restricted.
Dieters can also have 1 to 2 servings of starchy foods per week and 1 to 2 "celebration" meals per week in which anything may be eaten but never two days in a row.
No weight loss is expected during this phase.
Phase 4 ‘Stabilization’
The final stage ensures you maintain the new lower weight. You can eat whatever you like without regaining weight if you follow the 3 golden rules:
• a protein only day once a week
• 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day
• walk 20 minutes daily
Dr Dukan says the diet is safe to follow and has claimed that 40 per cent of Dukan dieters have not regained weight afterwards.
An online poll revealed that 75 percent of Dukan dieters had regained all the weight they had lost within 5 years.