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The Pros and Cons of the Dukan Diet

Updated on May 23, 2012

You may be wondering is the Dukan Diet bad for you? Well this article considers the pros and cons of the Dukan Diet which is based around a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. I believe it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of undertaking any diet before starting. This process is even more important when the diet you are considering restricts certain food groups such as carbohydrates as the Dukan Diet does. In the process you are looking to see how the benefits you stand to gain by losing weight stack up against the costs undertaking the diet in terms of your health, your wealth and your social life.

If you don’t know anything about this diet you might like to read my hub about the Dukan Diet. If you are thinking about undertaking this diet you may also like to read my hub on Tips and Recipes for the Dukan Diet. However please remember that this article and my other articles on the Dukan Diet are written to provide general information and they are not intended nor should they be taken as a recommendation or 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.

Photo courtesy of hsns s on Flickr
Photo courtesy of hsns s on Flickr
Photo courtey of klf bdf on Flickr
Photo courtey of klf bdf on Flickr

Dukan Diet Recipes

I also written some hubs providing recipes for the Dukan Diet..

I listed all the recipes in one capstone hub Dukan Diet Recipes and then provided 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

So what are the upsides of the Dukan Diet

1. Losing weight is good for your health if you are obese

The health benefits associated from losing weight are well documented. Obesity increases your risks of suffering from diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack or a stroke and losing weight decreases these risks.

2. It works

The Dukan Diet has a successful track record with many positive testimonials.

3. It produces noticeable weight loss in the early days

The initial Attack Phase which lasts between 2 and 10 days depending upon how much weight you have to lose can provide a substantial and rapid weight loss giving much needed motivation and momentum.

4. There is no calorie counting

Dr Pierre Dukan the creator of the diet 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.

5. There is no portion control

The principle of being able to eat as much as you want, of permitted foods of course, is one is present in all stages of the Dukan Diet.

6. It is a program for life

It provides a framework to deliver both weight loss and weight maintenance.

7. It is easy to follow

The diet is based on normal everyday foods so you don’t have to buy special foods or shakes.

8. You are allowed to indulge yourself

In the consolidation and stabilisation phases you can indulge in your favorite foods making the diet much more palatable and this allows you to plan in more normal social life.

9. It is a diet made for meat eaters

Being able to eat unrestricted amounts of protein makes this diet much more appealing to meat lovers that calorie controlled diets.

Photo courtesy of Gudlyf on Flickr
Photo courtesy of Gudlyf on Flickr

And what are the downsides

1. Health problems

From a health point of view following a high protein diet like the Dukan Diet can produce a number of different side effects

  • High Cholesterol – although losing weight usually helps lower your cholesterol levels in the long term if you chose your protein sources predominantly from high cholesterol foods such as red meat and eggs your cholesterol levels may increase.
  • Gout – a high protein diet is just one of many factors that can lead to you suffering from gout. Other things such as your family history, age, gender and level of alcohol consumption also influence whether you are likely to suffer.
  • Constipation – On the days you eat only protein the likelihood of being constipated is increased. Dr Dukan recognised this problem and to combat it you are required to drink a lot of water and to eat oat bran. If you do suffer with constipation you may find it helpful to miss out the initial Attack Phase where you eat only protein and go straight to the steady weight loss Cruise Phase where you also eat some vegetables.

2. Induction Flu

Induction Flu isn’t a type of flu at all it is a colloquialism used to describe the withdrawal symptoms your body experiences as you switch from carbohydrates to protein and your own body fat to fuel your body. Apart from not having a chill or fever the symptoms are very similar to flu. In addition to having a bad headache you can also feel nauseous, lethargic and irritable and be unable to concentrate. The good news(?) is that it should last only 2 to 3 days and if you plan for it to happen it should not divert you from your objective.

3. Ketosis

Burning body fat instead of carbohydrate for fuel is known as ketosis and whilst it produces the obvious benefits of weight loss it puts additional burden on your kidneys and liver and in extreme cases causes serious damage. Milder side effects of ketosis are bad breath, a metallic taste in your mouth and strong urine odour.

4. Nutritional Deficiency

The Attack and Cruise phases of the Diet are very restrictive and if you have a lot of weight to lose you would be on this restrictive diet for some time. You can of course counteract deficiencies by the use of nutritional supplements and ensuring that you eat as wide a variety of vegetables as you can. If you play the video Dukan Diet Update to the side below you will find that this person's doctor does not recommend the diet as being suitable for her because she has so much weight to lose.

5. Not suitable for everyone

There are a number of groups of people who would find it difficult or who would not be able to follow this plan. The foods available for vegetarians and vegans are quite limited and It would also not be suitable for anyone who is pregnant or who has liver or kidney problems. Coeliacs can follow the diet as you can buy gluten free oat bran which is prepared in a wheat free environment but it is quite expensive.

6. Additional costs

Eating a diet high in protein but low in carbohydrates is more expensive. You can keep costs down by concentrating on eating eggs, poultry and milk products as your forms of protein but if you are going to be on the diet for any length of time you will need the variety that eating meat, fish and seafood will provide. There is also the cost of nutritional supplements to take into consideration.

7. The impact on your social life

The restrictive nature of the Attack and Cruise phases are likely to mean that you will need to make considerable changes to your social life.


Other Articles of Interest

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


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