After hibernating for the past month I decided to be brave and step on the scales. To my ‘surprise’ I had put on a considerable amount of weight after the repetition of two activities completely necessary for my survival: eating and sleeping. As I was pondering which diet to go on, the heavens spoke to me. “The Dukan Diet” book written by Dr Pierre Dukan was 40% off and so I took this opportunity to find out what all the fuss was about. This post will be long and detailed with pretty much no humour: you have been forewarned.
The Method & Reasoning:
The Dukan Diet is based on a 4 step process whose duration depends on the amount of weight that you want to lose.
I’ll keep the logic behind the Diet short. Basically, the way your body burns up food differs depending on the type of food you eat. For example, the Specific Dynamic Action (SDA) for carbohydrates is 7%. This means that if you eat 100 calories of carbohydrates, your body needs only 7 calories to break it down. Therefore 93 calories is left for the body.
However, the SDA for proteins is 30%. Therefore if you eat 100 calories of protein, then your body burns up 30 calories just to process it. Hence you’re really only left with 70 calories to go to your thighs, bellies and arms etc. (And as a side note, the SDA for lipids [fats] is 12%).
So now to the steps!
Step 1: Attack Phase
- Duration: 2-7 days. Most people do this for 5 days but it really depends on the amount of weight you want to lose.
- Food: you can eat as much as you want of the foods in the table below. BUT, you may not eat any other foods or the whole thing collapses.
- Water: you must must must drink 1.5 litres of water per day. This can include both tea and coffee but only with skim milk
- Exercise: walk for 20 minutes per day
Just note that:
- The meat must be prepared without using butter, cream or oil.
- Poultry must not have skin on. And no chicken wings.
Step 2: Cruise Phase
Once you have completed the ‘attack phase’ you then go on to the cruise phase which is maintained until you get to your ideal weight. The cruise phase involves eating the same foods that you did in the ‘attack phase’ but with the addition of certain vegetables on alternate days.
- Method: alternate days of ‘pure-protein’ and ‘protein with vegetables’. i.e. Monday you eat all proteins (like you did in the attack phase), Tuesday (you combine the proteins with vegetables), Wednesday (go back to all proteins) and so on.
- Duration: as long as it takes for you to reach your goal weight
- Food: all the food in the table above in addition to the vegetables in the table below.
- Exercise: 30-60 minute walk
If you’re dying at this point then remember: dieting isn’t easy. If it were, then we’d all be skinny. Just think about how good you’ll feel when you can actually fit into nice clothes. So:
Step 3: Consolidation Phase
There are quite a few rules in this phase and the aim is to keep you from gaining all the weight that you lost, back again. The duration is 5 days for every pound that you lose. So for example, if you lose 20 pounds, then the consolidation phase lasts for 100 days.
It’s pretty much the same diet as Steps 1 & 2 but with a considerable number of additional rules. The rules:
- One serving of fruit per day (but no bananas, cherries, dried fruits and nuts)
- Two slices of wholemeal bread per day
- One serving (40g) of cheese per day (but no fermented cheeses like Blue cheese, Brie, Camembert)
- Two services of ‘starchy’ foods per week (this can include pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes etc)
- Two celebration meals per week (so you want pretty much eat what you want during these meals but no second servings)
- One day of pure protein per week (on Thursdays). On these days you should aim for 2 litres of water.
- 25 Minutes of walking per day
- Note: You can now introduce lean cut lamb and pork roast into your diet
Step 4: Stabilisation Phase
Thankfully there are only three rules in this step:
- Do not take lifts and escalators (unless it would be impossible to get from one level to the next)
- Three tablespoons of Oat Bran every day for life
- Protein Thursdays for life
At the end of this, hopefully you’ll be able to choose your foods wisely. Take a lesson from the lioness:
This is one of those diets that seem to have a long term rather than short term time span . However, it does promise significant weight loss on the first week, so I shall update in that time and see.
Hope you all found this extremely long post helpful! Look on the bright side, I just saved you from reading a 360 page book (although the book is very good: please don’t sue me Dr Pierre Dukan, the credit all goes to you1).