Is the Dukan Diet Healthy, Effective?

Our team loves to take closer looks at diets. We’re not fans of diets. We think the best approach to weight management is to eat a healthy diet in moderation. However, we want to know what options are out there! You never know when a fad diet might actually be a healthy lifestyle — like the Mediterranean diet. And, we understand that some people like to follow diets and we want to give our customers information to help them decide if a diet is right for them.

We like following a balanced diet in moderation because it’s easier to maintain than most diets. When a diet is restrictive or has a lot of rules, it can become impractical. But, when you hear about one that makes you lose weight quickly, it can be very appealing. The Dukan Diet promises fast results by following four phases.

If you have to lose weight fast and a doctor suggests you follow the Dukan Diet, it might be a good fit. However, it isn’t for everyone. It’s a low-carb, high-protein diet that promotes exercise and water. If you have to watch your protein intake, it might not be a good fit because it heavily relies on protein while restricting many foods.

Phase one, “the attack phase,” is three to seven days long. During that time, a person following the diet eats only lean protein and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran with at least six cups of water a day. The dieter also exercises. If you have a kidney concern where protein is something you have to monitor, this could be unhealthy. Maintaining this strict diet, even for seven days, might be infeasible.

The second phase, “the cruise phase,” is three days per pound of weight a person wants to lose. It’s the same as the first phase. But, every other day, the dieter can eat an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables. The diet also increases the amount of oat bran to two tablespoons.

Phase three is called “consolidation.” The dieter slowly adds in restricted healthy foods in specific quantities. However, in this phase, one day a week, the person follows the “attack phase” rules again and eats nothing but protein, oat bran and water.    

The final phase is called “stabilization” and is treated as a permanent lifestyle. A person has three tablespoons of oat bran daily. Exercise is required. No food is strictly off-limits, but many are extremely limited, including healthy things like fruit. There are 100 “safe foods.” These foods can be eaten as much as a person likes. And, one day a week, the dieter still eats according to the “attack phase.”

Studies have shown that the diet does cause people to lose weight. But they were also deficient in vitamin C, fiber and folate. According to nutritionists, the protein in the diet is too high, and it’s lacking in almost everything else. The researchers noted “many nutritional abnormalities” in the study subjects. They commented, “adopting this diet in the long-term may pose health threats through acquiring kidney and liver disease, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.”

This diet may serve a purpose if you need to lose weight quickly. Your doctor may ask you to follow it for a specific reason and monitor you while you follow it. But, doing so on your own isn’t a safe choice. This diet goes beyond the pale when it comes to crash diets because parts of its rules can be outright unsafe for some people and it can cause harm. It doesn’t teach you any healthy eating habits, so the weight loss isn’t sustainable if you decide to quit the diet. And the “consolidation” phase can last years, depending on your weight goals, leading to long-term nutritional deficiencies.    

Banner image: Philippe Zuber via Unsplash

Related Posts

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Please check your email to confirm your subscription.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
By clicking the "Subscribe" button you agree to our newsletter policy