Dukan Diet: A Focus On Protein
08/06/2012 | 12:21 PM
A Focus On Protein
The Dukan diet is the number 1 diet in France, with over 5 million French people using it to lose weight. Since it first took off in France, it spread to the rest of the world, selling sold 7.5m copies worldwide. An estimated 12 million have tried it worldwide. Celebrities such as singer Jennifer Lopez and model Giselle Bundchen reportedly used it to lose their maternity weight.
The Dukan Diet is a high protein diet. The Dukan Diet has four successive phases namely: The Attack Phase (also known as "pure protein Phase"), the Cruise Phase, the Consolidation Phase, and the Stabilization Phase. Its advantages are simple: you don’t have to count calories and you can eat as much as you like, as long as what you are eating is lean protein.
The Dukan Diet is effective because it is based on the way in which the body reacts to proteins. Unlike the other two major food groups, carbohydrates and fats, proteins are the most challenging for the body’s systems to absorb. It usually takes up to 3 hours for the system to react to protein digestion and this function uses up to roughly 30% of the calories initially consumed. By eating high protein diet, your body becomes full more quickly, compared to say, a high carbohydrate diet.
The Dukan Diet was initially introduced by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French physician. Pierre has specialized in human nutrition since 1973. His diet discovery came about when Dukan was first confronted with a case of obesity. At the time, being overweight or obese was believed to be best treated by low calorie and small sized meals. Dukan thought of an alternative way to help patients lose weight and keep it off was to recommend a high protein diet.
The Dukan Diet is based on ingesting high-protein ingredients while drastically restricting virtually all carbohydrates including fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. He designed a new approach in four phases, including stabilization and consolidation. After 20 odd years of research Pierre Dukan published his findings in 2000 in his book Je ne sais pas maigrir (I don't know how to get slimmer) which became a bestseller. The diet gained further renown when Carole Middleton introduced her daughter Kate to the diet before her wedding to Prince William. Kate reportedly went down two dress sizes.
The Dukan diet targets weight loss in four distinct phases:
- The Attack Phase: During the Attack Phase, you only eat lean protein foods such as fish, seafood, lean chicken, turkey, offal, eggs and lean beef. This is the stage of rapid weight loss -- many people lose at least four pounds in the first week of the attack phase.
- The Cruise Phase: During the cruise phase, you eat lean meats each day, but you can add vegetables every other day. This is good, because it adds variety to your diet. You should still lose weight, probably around two pounds a week on average. After a period of rapid weight loss, this phase is designed to help you diet down to your ideal weight.
- The Consolidation Phase: Once you are down to your target weight, you will need to make sure that you don’t put it back on. This is the phase where you can add one portion of fruit and two slices of whole grain bread per day. You are also allowed a "celebration meal" once per week, which can be anything you like. This is great because it allows you some freedom.
- The Stabilization Phase: The stabilization phase is the final part of the diet. This phase is designed to help to you stay at your target weight. You must ensure that you eat just protein one day each week, but for the rest of the week you can eat whatever you like. Furthermore, you pledge to not use escalators or escalators, walk for 20 minutes a day and have 3tbsp of oat bran daily.
- You Can Eat as Much as You Like: There is no calorie counting on the Dukan Diet. Of the one hundred permitted foods, you can eat them in any quantities you like. As long as the food is on the permitted list, you can eat it as often and as much as you like and you will still lose weight.
- You Will Not Feel Hungry or Crave Treats: Because you can eat whenever you are hungry, the Dukan Diet is designed to help you lose weight without feeling hungry. And the high protein content of the foods means you feel satisfied more quickly and full for longer.
- You Will Lose Weight Quickly: During the first few weeks on the Dukan diet, you will lose weight very quickly. Even though you can eat as much lean protein as you like, some report losing 4-6 pounds per week.
- Designed to Keep Weight Off: One of the biggest pitfalls for dieters is putting it back on again once the diet is over. The Dukan diet is designed to help you keep it off, by slowing your ease into regular eating, with a transition phase. Sweets, treats, and celebration meals in which you can eat whatever you want are all factored in.
- Initial Fatigue and Headaches: As your body adjusts to a life without the energy it is used to getting from high fat, high sugar foods you may experience tiredness and perhaps headaches. After a week, these symptoms should ease.
- Extra Planning: You need to plan your meals in advance. Due to the food restrictions on the Dukan diet, it is difficult to just pop into a store and buy lunch or a snack to eat while you are out. Obviously, there are on-the-go options – e.g. chicken slices and yogurt, but these aren’t always available and not as convenient as grabbing a burger or sandwich.
- Expensive: The Dukan diet can be expensive; if you are buying a lot of steaks, expensive fish, and so on, you may find your food bills rising. Planning meals at home will help you save on some of these expenses and look for cheaper options.
- Bad for some medical conditions: the diet is not suitable for people with certain conditions which are quite commonly associated with diabetes: high cholesterol, kidney damage and gout.
- Halitosis: Like many high protein diets, the Dukan Diet can cause halitosis and constipation. This will likely pass in the later stages of the diet.
Since becoming one of the most popular diets in France, the Dukan Diet is gaining popularity in the United States, and the rest of Europe too. Lauded by celebrities, the Dukan Diet is attractive because you can eat as much as you like, and its high protein eases the hunger pangs of other diets. Be careful though, especially if you might be at risk of diabetes – its high proteins can be hard to digest and can cause kidney problems if the high-protein stage of the diet is continued long-term.
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