The Dukan diet is a weight loss programme popular in France, and was published in Britain on 13th May 2010. The diet consists of four phases, beginning with eating nothing but protein foods for several days in order to shed pounds. In subsequent phases of the diet, vegetables and other foods are introduced, and the focus shifts to maintaining weight rather than losing it. So what are the pros and cons of the Dukan diet?
The Pros of the Dukan Diet
In the first phase of the Dukan diet, known as the attack phase, dieters lose weight quickly by eating only meat, fish, eggs or non-fat dairy products. This phase lasts for up to ten days, but people may choose to limit it to as few days as they wish – they have the choice. In the second phase of the diet, the cruise phase, many different nutritious vegetables are introduced, and weight loss is slow and sensible (about two pounds per week).
The problem with diets is they are not sustainable long-term. People lose weight on them, but when they go back to eating normally, they pile the weight back on. The Dukan diet addresses the need not only for weight loss, but for weight maintenance afterwards. The later phases of the diet (the consolidation and stabilisation phases), focus on permanently keeping the weight off that was lost.
Although dieters are restricted to eating certain types of foods at the beginning of the Dukan diet, they can eat as much of these foods as they like. Hunger is not likely to be an issue. In the consolidation and stabilisation phases, people can indulge in their favourite foods so as to eliminate feelings of food deprivation. The Dukan diet includes oat bran as a good source of fibre, and addresses the importance of drinking lots of water and exercising regularly.
The Cons of the Dukan Diet
Carbohydrate is the body’s favoured source of fuel. A high protein and low carbohydrate diet puts the body into a state of ketosis, whereby body fat is burned for fuel instead of carbohydrate. Although this leads to weight loss, there can be other undesirable effects of high protein diets, such as bad breath, dry mouth, constipation, raised cholesterol levels, malnutrition due to a lack of necessary vitamins and minerals, and kidney or liver damage.
In the stabilisation phase of the Dukan diet, (the last phase which lasts forever), dieters are allowed to eat whatever they like, except on Thursdays, when they can only eat protein. This protein-only day will counteract any damage done throughout the rest of the week. Skeptics may wonder if it is really possible to eat anything and everything and not gain weight, just by having one protein-only day a week.
Diets can be stressful; all diets require self-discipline and hard work, and may lead to depression and misery. Dieters might find the initial protein-only phase of the Dukan diet especially difficult, as so many food groups have to be eliminated. On the other hand, the attack phase of this diet is great for meat lovers everywhere. (Not so great for vegetarians)