The Dukan diet to be presented today is making a number of references to nutritional choices as well as the organism’s reaction in case of restricting certain food groups from our nutritional plan.
In any case this is a diet claiming very fast results if it is applied regularly.
The diet was created by a French nutritionist and pathologist, Pierre Dukan, who gave his name to this diet. The diet, making a promise of 2.5 kilos loss per week, was completed in 2000 and since then many persons have adopted and tested it with great success.
In general it could be described as a protein diet. More specifically, in the early stages the diet only allows the consumption of:
The programme has a requirement of 20 minutes walk every day.
The theory behind this diet is based on the principle that the organism needs to burn stored fat, if the consumption of carbohydrates is restricted.
A good point that everyone who follows the diet enjoys is that, no limit is posed on the quantities of foods consumed, under the condition that these belong to the particular group of foods allowed!
The key of the diet is protein. The tedious work of measuring the calories consumed is not a successful action in this process.
A brief overview of what protein is and why it is preferred by the Dukan diet.
The protein consists of a series of structural elements called amino acids. These chains since they are very tightly bound require an enormous effort to be broken down.
So the organism faces a really difficult task before it would be capable of processing them. So they stay in stomach for longer than fats and carbohydrates, resulting in a delayed discharge from the stomach. This gives a feeling of being full for longer and so the diet programme can be followed a lot easier.
So the protein provides the boost for all mentioned above, making every person feeling healthy, requires longer time to digest, and most importantly, the calories included compared to carbohydrates are reduced for each gram of food.
In addition, fats have the following problem: The person does not feel full easily so it consumes higher quantities so increasing the risk of heart disease.
So if fats and carbohydrates are excluded, and protein holds the first place in the diet, then a significant weight loss is observed in a short time.
As mentioned, the foods allowed are protein, and oat bran. No specific reference on quantities allowed.
The diet consists of 4 phases, as we see below, with minor variations per phase.
1. In the first phase, called “Attack”, you are allowed to consume as much lean protein as you want by filling one and a half tablespoons of oatmeal. It’s necessary to drink 6 glasses of water and to walk for 20 minutes daily. The first phase lasts up to 10 days depending on the amount of kilos you wish to lose.
The category of lean protein includes: chicken and turkey with no skin, beef, liver, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy products and cheese up to 2% fat, mustard and light only refreshments. Olive oil is forbidden.
2. The second phase, which has the name “Cruise”, is considered as easier by adding to what is included in first phase as many vegetables you wish and 2 additional tablespoons of oatmeal than before. The vegetables should be non-starchy, meaning no potatoes, corn, peas. A small quantity of beetroots and carrots along with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil are included in this phase as well. You have no limit on the amount of vegetables (as with protein), may be consumed cooked or even raw, but their consumption is suggested to take place every other day. Do not forget the 2 liters of water required, plus the daily walk increased to 30 minutes. The phase is terminated at the moment the goal of the total number of kilos to be lost is fulfilled.
3. Reaching the third phase of “Stabilization”, things become a little easier now. Vegetables are now included in the daily schedule, while a piece of fruit, a piece of hard cheese and bread (1-2 slices of whole grain), are added. During the 3rd phase you have the opportunity to enjoy 1-2 starchy meals and 1-2 “celebration” meals where anything you are really missing all this time is included. This phase lasts for a long period, I.e. 5 days per about 250 gr. lost.
4. The fourth and last phase. It is called “Maintenance”. Here it is allowed the consumption of everything allowed to be consumed in 3rd phase but:
However, even when you are allowed to eat protein, the choices you will have will be minimal since you do not consume meat. You should only settle for certain vegetables containing protein (such as beans, lentils, walnuts) and this might make you to feel a fatigue for following the diet.
If you are a diabetic, you might need to be given another programme especially for the 1st and 2nd phases where the amounts of carbohydrates allowed are minimal.
For those suffering from kidney diseases, perhaps the high protein consumption might cause additional problems to kidneys.
It is noticed that some dangers are emerging with the Dukan diet, but in certain cases only, as in other regular conditions a weight helps our health to a great extent.
For persons presenting heart problems and a low fat diet is necessary, this is an ideal diet. The fact that all foods allowed are of lean nature (protein, fruits and vegetables), makes the Dukan diet the most suitable for similar cases.
If you follow the gluten-free diet, no problems are identified in the first phases. Later, however, you should carefully read the labels of foods consumed.
In fact, it’s been seen that small amounts of carbohydrates and high protein diets contribute to a fast weight loss. However, if this result has a duration over the course of time and no health problem has been caused, it is not known as no clinical trials have not been conducted on the Dukan diet.
If the person applying the diet belongs to the groups acting in a better way when a specific plan with specific rules is required, then this program will seem very easy to follow because everything is analyzed in detail. Although there are a lot of restrictions these have a short duration, encouraging the person to go ahead with the programme.
Many and simple recipes are easily found in internet (facebook) to make your daily life easier.
A large number of books related to protein and low fat recipes are also available. Ready made meals are allowed only in case they adhere to diet’s rules.
Live chat in a number of forums of internet can also help with problems you face in applying the specific diet. A number of nutritionists can help additionally to solving any of your questions. Customized programmes are available with a payment of an additional special fee. There is also ready made food for the specific diet which it can be ordered regularly.
A person following the Dukan Diet, will never feel hungry as consuming even small protein quantities feels full. Besides, no limitation on quantity is required.
In general, the Dukan diet is considered as a fairly demanding diet. Especially in the first phases where only meat and fish and in large quantities are allowed, a financial problem might be encountered.
It is not considered as an economic diet because categories of foods such as rice, pasta, bread, fruit, legumes and potatoes not presenting a risk to your wallet are absent. Furthermore, the time spent in the first difficult stages is doubtful and depends on the kilos planned for loss. This might take a few days, a few months or even years.
At first, it is very important to seek the opinion of the personal doctor as at the beginning of the diet an elimination of important food groups from your daily schedule is planned. It could advise the person accordingly if it is possible to follow such a diet or customize it to suit its needs.
A very important parameter since high consumption of protein might provoke health problems. Similarly, the extensive lack of vitamins and trace elements contained in vegetables and fruits are also an important issue.
In any case, by consulting a nutritionist or a medical doctor, there is nothing to be afraid of, while any weight loss could give a new life.
The fact that the feeling of hunger is absent it is an incentive making easier the application of such a diet it easier for you to start such a diet. In addition the selection of lean protein saves the organism from saturated fat.
A drawback on this diet is the extensive time required to stay in early stages, something that could last for many months depending on the kilos planned for loss.
At this point not a healthy diet plan is visible. In case the extra kilos are not so may, then the results may be visible in a short time and no risk threatens your organism.
It would be advisable that people with heart problems do not try this diet, as their diet will be limited to specific types of food.
The completion of the process is doubtful in my opinion as the nutritional program required is boring and monotonous. But even if it’s proved successful finally for how long could it last when foods from other groups are added?
Most probably any success of the Dukan diet is based on the great calorie restriction. But this is something that easily and in a healthy way to achieve with another type of diet including foods from all major groups.
By referring to pros and cons of the Dukan diet, it is clearly your own decision whether to start this diet, or most probably another diet.
Any decision taken for adoption of any diet should be studied carefully, examined if it meets certain standards, your capabilities, not exposing your organism to any risk and concluded by the person’s dedication to follow it with no interruption in order to have the desired results.
Never underestimate the advice and guidance of a specialist doctor!
Good luck for successful and good results …