ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pierre Dukan Diet Review - The French Atkins

Updated on March 21, 2011

It seems we can't get enough of French diets. First there was French Women Don't Get Fat, now we have the Dukan Diet, created by Dr. Pierre Dukan. Rumor has it that future princess Kate Middleton is using this very diet to prepare for her upcoming wedding to Prince William. Newspapers like the LA Times and New York Times are calling it the French Atkins diet due to its high-protein, low-carb philosophy. But what are the specifics of this weight loss scheme, and is the science behind it sound?

The Dukan Diet Plan

Like many other weight loss plans, the Dukan diet is broken into stages--in this case, 4:

The Dukan Diet's Four Phases
The Dukan Diet's Four Phases
  • Attack: Eat only lean protein, including mountains of oat bran, and increase your water intake.
  • Cruise: Introduce vegetables, but no fruit.
  • Consolidation: Add a few servings of carbs, a little cheese, and one serving of fruit a day. You are also allowed to indulge in wine and dessert with 2 meals a week, at this point.
  • Stabilization: Eat whatever you want, except for one day a week where you must eat according to the rules of the "Attack" phase, for the rest of your life.

The Dangers of the Dukan Diet

It all sounds simple enough, and very appealing. Go through these phases once and then eat whatever you want for the rest of your life? Never mind that one day of pure protein, it's a small price to pay, right?

Unfortunately, it's just not that easy. While you might lose weight on the Dukan diet, your health might be the forfeit. As I've said in other diet reviews, cutting out an entire food group is never a good idea. When you remove fruit and complex carbohydrates from your diet, you are setting yourself up for malnutrition, because lean protein lacks all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.

Then there's the fact that your vital organs (including your heart and brain) need carbs as fuel. The reason that you lose weight on a low-carbohydrate diet is because your body is forced to start breaking down your stored fat as fuel instead, in a process called ketosis. That would all be well and good, except that weight loss is not the only side-effect of ketosis. This metabolic state puts enormous strain on your kidneys, and may result in gout, kidney stones, and even organ failure.

Eating a lot of protein also puts stress on your kidneys, and often produces high cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. It also causes you to excrete more calcium in your urine, which puts you at risk for osteoporosis.

But, you say, it's only temporary. Really? If you're honest with yourself, do you think it's actually as easy as following 4 magic steps and then eating whatever you like for the rest of your life? If weight loss were so simple, we'd all be stick figures by now. Already, we are hearing reports of Dukan dieters putting back on much of the weight they lose, and starting the diet again. Chances are, you too will be forced to repeat the first three steps over and over again, putting your body through enormous stress time and again.

The Dukan Diet has already been placed on both the French and British governments' lists of the most dangerous diets.  Save yourself some money and suffering, and take a more realistic approach to weight loss.  Eat a balanced diet, get more exercise, and focus on health rather than the number on the scale.  Your body will repay you with years of good service, if you treat it with care.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I was fat from childhood. I learned from my parent to sit still and not move, and to always eat up and eat more (as we do not waste food) and my mother was cooking a lot :). So I unlearned to realize a normal feeling of repletion. I never managed to get that "normal" feeling again. I lost 6 kilos (92 to 86) when I was 17. Simply eat very little (way to less and not healthy) and went jogging. With 25 I had 102 and lost 29 (102 to 73) kilos in one year by just eating less and do sports on a daily basis (I guess pretty healthy). After three years of maintaining this weight I burst my ligament in the right knee and started to gain again as sport was not possible for some month and I also did not start working out again like before. 30 years old and 87 kilos unhappy again, working out like crazy (average 2 hours at fat burning heart rate per day) and doing weights, and a very healthy diet (lots of slow carbohydrates throughout the day, and lean protein in the evening) ... I lost 7 kilos in one month gaining at the same time a lot of muscles. Hurting my shoulder and stop doing sport again. Why do I write this? To show that I effectively lost weight some time in my life - less and more healthy - and that I learned a lot ... Now - 32 years old and 87 kilos again - I decided to try this diet. And with this diet I mean using Ketosis to loose weight. Lost 9 kilos in one month now being at 78 kilos and feeling healthy. Controlling your weight with sports is fine but learning how to control it with food was a very good lesson that I learned with this diet. Even Dukan in his book writes that a healthy balanced diet is the best way ... but what to do if you can't maintain that, because of bad education (like in my childhood), injuries, or not enough willpower? Is simply being overweight healthier in the long run? I read a lot about ketosis and think that it is possible to do it in a relatively healthy way (3 days no carbohydrates to change the metabolism, not more, and then add a lot of vegetables and drink plenty of water to loose weight). Adding carbohydrates slowly to your diet and just as much as your body needs (so that you don't gain weight). I also do not thrust school medicine to much about the hypes of cholesterol and what is healthy and what not. I feel healthy and now and try to maintain the weight with a healthy diet and exercise. And if - for what ever reason - I can't do exercises, I know now how to change my diet and how to use the intake of less carbohydrates and more proteins and fiber to compensate. Knowledge is even better than willpower, so I also don't think that in the long run one protein day and eating six days what you want is the best way to maintain a healthy weight but it is an option for people that lack the will to do it right ... to whoever it may concern ;)

    • ahbless profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, but you have to maintain your diet for it to be effective and some type of exercise is necessary. That's the hard part for some. I live in the city for now and I go to the mall or find somewhere to walk for exercise.

    • WriteAngled profile image


      7 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      It is interesting, however, that, following a review of over 100 publications, Volek and Feinman concluded: (1) carbohydrate restriction improves metabolic syndrome even in the absence of weight loss, and (2) substituting protein for carbohydrate improves metabolic syndrome even further.

      (Ref: Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction

      by Jeff S Volek and Richard D Feinman in Nutrition & Metabolism 2005, 2:31)

      British dietary guidelines told us to "go to work on an egg" when I was a child. Then they started scaremongering about cholesterol and suddenly we were not supposed to eat more than 2 eggs a week. Recently, the cholesterol story has been exploded as a massive myth and once again, we are told we can eat eggs ad lib. Just one of a number of reasons why I could not give a toss about what dieticians and their associations say, but prefer to make up my own mind from reviewing scientific publications for and against any particular approach.

    • tritrain profile image

      And Drewson 

      7 years ago from United States

      I have a relative that is all about low carb diets. I should point her to this new diet, but first to this Hub.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      I have used the diet myself and found it excellent. My health has never been better and it really does work. How can remaining overweight be a healthier option to trying this diet? Thank you.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wow, Maddie. That diet is not one I would try. I'm glad to hear that people are already aware how dangerous this eating pattern could be. I say eat healthy and exercise. For me rigid diets never have worked.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Excellent hub and warning. Thank you.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, what fun! Another odd diet to muse over. I like the wordage... attack! Attack!! Cruise!! Consolidate!! It sounds like some sort of aircraft carrier disaster scenario. Lovely Hub, and I appreciate the judicious warnings.

    • profile image

      Sierra Mackenzie 

      7 years ago

      Another great hub. Informative and thought provoking.

    • profile image

      Francie Jones 

      7 years ago

      Well said, Maddie--per usual!

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for this smart, informative hub. These fad diets never work for me, and the dangers are just, too great. A healthy, balanced approach is best. Voted up!

    • Chatkath profile image


      7 years ago from California

      I must agree with your practical common sense summation here, not a day goes by without a revolutionary new diet scheme, forget it! Everything in life should be balanced and done in moderation: food, excercise, sleep, health, etc. Not always easy but for the most part the results are well worth it for long term results! Good advice, good hub.

    • CARIBQUEEN profile image


      7 years ago

      They keep bombarding us with diets after diets from time to time. If everyone go to heed all the advice given concerning diets we would really be messed up. As you said we need to include all food groups but we have to watch the quantity we eat. Small portions and try to eliminate a lot of sweet and fat. Lots of water usually do the trick with sensible eating. Good hub!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Yes, cutting out entire food groups is a bit dire and can be dangerous. I did Atkins once a long time ago, and decided to maintian my weight with a healthy and balanced regime of lower fats and higher grains and fiber. Excellent hub.

    • kathryn1000 profile image


      7 years ago from London

      Thi is very wise.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I don't think there's anything magic about any diet. I agree with you that cutting out a food group is not a safe thing to do. My philosophy is to exercise more, eat less, particularly cutting desserts. Thanks for the review of this particular diet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)