What is the Dukan Diet?

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Every year, hundreds of new dieting books hit the shelves. And these days, primal diets are all the rage, eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The Dukan diet follows the same track. Devised by French nutritionist Pierre Dukan in 2000, the eating plan comprises 100 foods (72 of which are animal products). There are no portion sizes, no weighing, no counting calories. You just can't stray from those 100 foods.

Let's look at the Dukan diet in a little more detail?

The high protein, low carb diet

Like other primal eating schemes, the Dukan diet focuses on limited carbohydrates. Dukan believes the body burns more fat when it doesn't have to digest carbs.

The diet promises that sticking to the low-carb diet of 100 foods will help followers drop up to 10 pounds (x kilos) in just the first week, and a subsequent 2 to 4 pounds a week until you?re feeling fit and fab.

To deliver, it also promotes a high-protein diet evident in the 72 of 100 foods being animal sources. The proportion of protein exceeds government recommended levels.

The four phases

The Dukan diet is set out in four phases. The first phase,Attack; focuses on rapid weight loss and a whole lot of protein. You?ll have to stick to a strict intake of lean protein and nothing else.

But don't worry, you can also have 1.5 tablespoons of oats, to counteract all that animal protein!

You'll then move onto the Cruise phase, adding 28 vegetables into the mix. You can eat as many low-starch vegetables and lean protein as you like, for as long as you need to reach your goal weight.

After that, the Consolidation phase gets a little more fun. You'll be able to enjoy one piece of low-fructose fruit, a piece of cheese, and a few slices of bread. Each week you can also have a cheat meal to prevent insanity.

Finally, in the Stabilisation phase, you'll try to maintain the diet long-term. Except, one day a week has to be all-protein, and you have to walk as much as possible. Add in a few tablespoons of the beloved bran a day and you should be able to maintain a healthy weight so says Dukan diet advocates.

Is the Dukan diet healthy?

While the diet may work for some (including various Hollywood starlets), is it healthy? Science has shown that high-protein eating is good for weight loss, but its long-term effects are unknown.

Some say too much protein puts pressure on the kidneys to remove the resulting uric acid, so people with kidney problems are warned against such diets.

People with heart conditions and diabetes are also cautioned, as the diet doesn?t feature fibre in significant doses.

As with all diets, you should speak with a health advisor, nutritionist or dietician before trying the Dukan plan.

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