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The Phases of Dukan Diet by Dr Pierre Dukan

Updated on May 23, 2012

"Five million French People can't be wrong" or so the cover says! On 13 May 2010 the British Publishing House Hodder & Stoughton released the English translation of the French bestselling diet book "Je ne sais pas maigrir" by Dr Pierre Dukan. The direct translation of the French title is "I don't know how to lose weight" but the 384 page English version will simply be called "The Dukan Diet".

Dr Pierre Dukan

Dr. Pierre Dukan is a French doctor who started his medical career specialising in neurology but he switched to nutrition when he accidentally stumbled across on the successful weight losing formula of introducing a low-fat, protein-only element to his friend's diet. Dr Dukan now has over 35 years experience in the field of nutrition and has written several best selling books in this area.

Five Tips for Weight Loss

The Thinking behind the Diet

Dr Dukan believes that calorie counting long term doesn't work as very few of us can live our lives on a continuous permanent regime of weighing out and measuring everything we eat. He wanted to provide a program which provided both weight loss and weight maintenance whilst still allowing the pleasure to be had from eating real food.

His solution was to devise a phased easy to follow system which allows you to eat all that you can from a specified list of foods and which carefully brings you back to a normal life of unrestrained eating on six days out of every seven.

The low-fat protein-only element which Dr Dukan stumbled across by accident is present in each stage of the diet and whilst it may sound very similar to the Atkins Diet the crucial difference is that the Dukan diet urges dieters to steer clear of the fats which form the mainstays of the Atkins program.

Curb your Appetite

The Four Phases

The Dukan Diet has 4 consecutive steps or phases:

  • Attack - An initial fast weight loss boost to kickstart your diet
  • Cruise - The weight loss phase where you progress to your target weight.
  • Consolidation - A period where you gradually re-introduce all types of food back into your diet.
  • Stabilisation -The final phase where you maintain your ideal weight on an on-going and permanent basis.


The Kickstart "Attack"

This phase literally kickstarts the whole diet program and a substantial weight loss can be experienced particularly by the more seriously overweight. The duration of the kickstart is usually around five days but it can be shorter or longer depending upon how much weight you have to lose.

For the whole of the duration of the boost you only eat protein but you can eat as much as you want. The principle of eating as much as you can is one is present in all stages of the Dukan Diet as is days spent eating only protein..

Kickstart "Attack" Duration

Intended Weight Loss 
Length of Attack Phase 
Usual Weight Loss
Up to 10lbs 
2 days 
1 - 3lbs 
Up to 20lbs 
3 days 
3 - 5lbs 
Up to 40lbs 
5 days
4 - 6lbs 
More than 40lbs
7 days to 10 days
5lbs or more

Speed up your Metabolism

The Weight Loss "Cruise"

This is the phase where you lose the bulk of the weight you need to lose to reach your ideal weight and you do this by alternating the protein only days with days of protein and vegetables. The most effective way to lose the weight of around 2lbs per week is to spend one day on proteins only and the next on proteins and vegetables but for convenience some people do work the 50:50 split slightly differently such as one week on proteins only and one week on proteins and vegetables.

"Consolidation" of your Weight Loss

After having eaten a very restrictive diet the aim of this phase is to reintroduce carbohydrates back into your diet whilst keeping your weight stable. Apart from adding a small amounts of carbohydrates to your diet each day you are also allowed one special meal per week with a starter, main course and dessert of your choice.

"Stabilisation" of Your Body Weight Forever

The principle of this phase is to maintain your ideal weight. This will mean continuing your program of reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet by gradually increasing the portion sizes and by setting aside one day a week to eat only proteins.  You are still allowed one special meal per week with a starter, main course and dessert of your choice.


Dukan Diet Recipes

To help anyone considering undertaking the Dukan Diet I've written five recipe hubs. A capstone hub Dukan Diet Recipes which lists the recipes I've collected from far and wide and then provides you with a link to one of the four other hubs in which the recipes can be found.

I've categorised the recipes I've collated into the following hubs

Dukan Diet Recipes - Poultry

Dukan Diet Recipes - Meat

Dukan Diet Recipes - Fish and Seafood

Dukan Diet Recipes - Starters and Desserts

If you are interested in finding out more about the Dukan Diet you might like to read my follow up articles Tips and Recipes for the Dukan Diet and The Pros and Cons of the Dukan Diet.

This article is one of a series that I've written reviewing some of the more popular weight loss and lifestyle programs. If you found this article interesting you may enjoy reading the others in the series which are


The information contained in this article and my other articles about the Dukan Diet are provided for your general informational purposes only and they are not intended to be nor should they be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of the Dukan Diet.   Anyone with medical problems of any nature should see and consult a doctor before embarking on any diet or exercise program and even if you have no known health problems, it is still advisable for you to consult your doctor before you make any major changes to your lifestyle.


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