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How Does the Dukan Diet Work: The Dukan Diet Phases Explained

Updated on January 7, 2012
28 Vegetables Provide Essential Vitamins and Minerals
28 Vegetables Provide Essential Vitamins and Minerals | Source

Does the Dukan Diet Work?

Yes the Dukan Diet does work and it can be used to successfully lose weight and keep it off forever.

How Does the Dukan Diet Work?

The Dukan Diet works using the same basic principles as all other weight loss programs.

You reduce the calories that you eat and increase the calories you expend by exercising.

What Sets the Dukan Diet Apart from other Diets?

It is how the Dukan Diet gets you to eat less and exercise more that sets it apart from other weight loss programs but it is more than just a weight loss program it is a program that you can follow to stay slim and trim for the rest of your life.

You can buy the various Dukan Diet Books from by clicking on the images in the capsule below but if you want to buy the latest Dukan Diet book from click here.

What are the 10 Key Points of the Dukan Diet?

  1. You do not count calories, carbs or points.
  2. The plan has four phases - the first two in which you lose weight - Attack and Cruise and the second two - Consolidation and Stabilisation in which you learn how to eat to maintain your weight with no foods being off limits.
  3. You do not need to go hungry as it is based on 72 high protein foods which apart from egg yolks and the dairy sources can be eaten without restriction. This does require you to apply a degree of common sense as you do need to be aware of the cholesterol and sodium content of the foods that you are eating and to eat as widely as you can from these sources.
  4. You need to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water each day.
  5. There are other allowed foods, drinks and spices and seasonings that can also be eaten or drunk through out all phases of the Dukan Diet which make it far more palatable than at first it seems.
  6. Dr Dukan added oat bran to his diet because of the health benefits it provides in reducing cholesterol and diabetes. The additional fiber is also very welcome and it is considered a required daily element.
  7. in the second phase of the diet in addition to the high protein foods on alternate days you are allowed to eat a selection of vegetables from the list of 28 provided. All but three of these vegetables asparagus, carrots and beet (beetroot) can be eaten freely.
  8. In the second phase you also add in up to two tolerated items each day which help provide even greater flexibility and variety to the diet.
  9. The foods at the heart of the diet are natural and wholesome and help change your eating habits moving you away from higher calorie convenience foods that are often high in added sugar, fat or salt.
  10. Dr Dukan prescribes daily exercise like you would be prescribed a drug to make you better but it is not intensive exercise. For example in the Attack Phase you walk briskly for 20 minutes each day.

What are the Four Phases of the Dukan Diet?

The first phase of the Dukan Diet is called the Attack Phase and it is a phase designed and intended to maximize the initial weight and provide a boost to the start of your diet. In this phase you eat only from the list of 72 high protein foods and the other allowed foods plus your daily serving of oat bran,

The second phase is the Cruise Phase and you follow it for as long as needed to reach your target weight. In this phase you eat as for the Attack Phase plus two tolerated items each day. In addition on alternate days you also eat freely from the list of 28 vegetables.

Consolidation is the third phase and six days a week you eat freely from the 72 high protein foods and 28 vegetables, other allowed foods and two tolerated items but each day you also add in two slices of wholemeal bread, cheese, a piece of fruit and once a week you have an additional serving of starchy food and a three course celebration meal. In the second half of the phase you have two servings of starchy foods and two three course celebration meals each week. The seventh day is "Dukan Thursday and you eat only from the list of 72 high protein foods and allowed foods plus your daily serving of oat bran.

The final phase is Stabilisation and apart from "Dukan Thursday" you can eat sensibly as you please the other six days of the week only needing to eat your daily serving of oat bran and to continue your moderate exercising.


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    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi KimmiS

      It would depend on what your definition of high in fat is. Most people would consider broiled/grilled poultry or fish to be low in fat and as the Dukan Diet limits the amount of additional oil these foods are unlikely to be prepared in a way to make them high in fat.

      You advise of the negative health impacts of following a high protein low carb diet yet I've not found any conclusive medical evidence which supports such a statement.

      Nutrition in patients with Type 2 diabetes: are low-carbohydrate diets effective, safe or desirable?

      - "...Although many controversies remain, there is now mounting evidence that these diets can lead to effective weight loss and may thus be a useful intervention for patients who have, or are at risk of, diabetes."

      Safety of low-carbohydrate diets

      "...Low-carbohydrate diets are likely effective and not harmful in the short term and may have therapeutic benefits for weight-related chronic diseases....."

      A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women.

      "....a very low carbohydrate diet is more effective than a low fat diet for short-term weight loss and, over 6 months, is not associated with deleterious effects on important cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women."

      Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance.Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance.

      ".....Studies of weight-control diets that are high in protein or low in glycemic index have reached varied conclusions, probably owing to the fact that the studies had insufficient power..." and

      "In this large European study, a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss."


    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Fish & poultry = 'lean' meats.

      What most people don't realize, is that these foods are usually still high in fat, just lower in saturated fat (lower than beef is the usual claim).

      They can be just as high in fat if they are not prepared specifically.

      The bottom line, is high protein, low carb diets are bad for health and can pave the way for heart, kidney, and liver diseases down the road.

      And yes, you are very correct about people not establishing new permanent eating habits. Everyone wants a quick fix!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 6 years ago

      Hi KimmiS

      There are a lot of other proteins apart from meat that you can eat on the Dukan Diet such as fish, low fat/fat free dairy, eggs, poultry, tofu, Quorn and textured soy proteins.

      Unfortunately many people only use the weight loss phases of the diet and don't establish new eating habits which does mean that the weight often comes back again.


    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      The Dukan diet reminds me too much of the Atkins diet. Too much meat (even so called 'lean' meat) is bad for your health.

      I believe it works and have seen it work, but as with any other fad diet I much more rarely see the weight stay off.