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The Dukan Diet

A diet popularized in France, it also known as the princess diet. For a time it was considered a "crash" diet, however with the constant backing of nutritionist Pierre Dukan, the creator of the diet, it has grown in popularity over the years, in 2010 it was brought to the United Kingdom and to the United States in 2011. The diet has been promoted for almost 40 years and with the book The Dukan Diet selling over 10 millions copies across the globe, the "crash" diet has grown into a fully coached programme.

Similar to the Atkins diet in some respects, the diet follow a 4 stage regime that encourages long term change into eating habits. The base concept of the diet is, participants are given a list of over 100 foods that are freely allowed and unlimited to consume which are introduced, altered and eventually maintained within the four stages.

1. Attack Phase - Described as an initial head-first attack to the diet, this takes the concept of making drastic change immediately and is meant for rapid weight loss by boosting metabolism. This is done by a dramatic increase in protein-rich foods, 72 of the specifically chosen ingredients are taken off a list of acceptable foods while removing all others.

  • All lean meats including beef, veal, chicken and turkey (skin-removed), cooked with no added fats.
  • All types of raw and cooked fish and shellfish with no restriction.
  • Eggs.
  • Kidneys, beef tongue and liver.
  • Low-fat cooked meats such as chicken, pork, turkey and ham.
  • Low-fat dairy products.

They will limit certain proteins and focus intently on lean meats. It is expected to last between 1 - 10 days with weight loss occurring quickly.

2. Cruise Phase - During the second stage a further 28 vegetables are introduced into the diet, once again taken from the list of acceptable foods. The length of this stage is calculated by personal health and expect the dieter to lose 1 kilogram per week, however this is based upon specific instructions under the coaching programme. Some tolerated foods may be allowed but will become revoked if weight is gained. At this point in the diet you should be aiming for your goal weight, the cruise stage is continued until you have reached the a weight that you are happy with.

3. Consolidation Phase - This stage of the diet will focus on long term changes to food mentality and will start the addition of starchy foods and fruit. This is with the continued allowance of foods from the acceptable list, which remain unlimited. The length of this stage is based purely off the weight you have lost so far, from the start of the attack stage. Then for every pound you have lost, 5 days must be spent consolidating, so if you have lost 40 pounds to get to your goal weight, you must then spend 200 day in phase 3 of the diet. Though with coaching and input this may be altered, it will also start to include days where a specific food must be eaten or abandoned. Eventually it will incorporate 2 celebratory meals per week in which participants are allowed to treat themselves.

4. Stabilization - Finally the diet ends by leaving the participants with the habits learnt through the stages and are informed that they can continue to eat whatever they want so long as some simple rules of the diet are followed; Oat bran must be eaten once every day, that one day of the week is devoted to eating nothing but lean protein and that minimal exercise be put in. Though this is subject to alteration dependent on the coaching of the diet providers.

The diet has shown by use that it can be effective in weight loss, however the strict regime of foods and lengthy periods of repetitive diet make it difficult to follow. Without constant maintenance, the diet can lead to harmful nutrient loss and over abundance in some vitamins.