When you’re attempting to shed some pounds, you’re additionally hoping for one thing long run: You don’t need to acquire all of it again down the street. Sustainability is vital — so it’s comprehensible that an consuming type just like the Dukan weight-reduction plan may sound interesting.

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“Lose the weight and keep it off forever” is the promise of French nutritionist Pierre Dukan’s namesake weight-reduction plan, which he created in 2000. It’s a four-step weight-reduction plan plan that claims to work in perpetuity — which is to say, nicely, perpetually.

But is it too good to be true? Slow down earlier than leaping in. Registered dietitian Kendra Weekley, RD, cautions that the Dukan weight-reduction plan is just too restrictive, and it’s possible you’ll miss out on key vitamins whilst you’re following it.

What is the Dukan weight-reduction plan?

The Dukan weight-reduction plan is predicated on the premise that 95% of people that weight-reduction plan ultimately return to their pre-diet methods of consuming and acquire again the load they misplaced. It says it might “redesign your eating habits and help you permanently stabilize your weight” in 4 phases (steps).

“Essentially, this is an elimination diet,” Weekley notes. “Any diet that eliminates a number of nutrition-dense and calorie-dense foods will facilitate rapid weight loss.”

Phases of the Dukan weight-reduction plan and what you may eat

The Dukan weight-reduction plan is made up of 4 phases, all various in size and guidelines that may last as long as 12 months.

The first two phases are the load loss phases; the third part is about creating habits modifications to stop the load from coming again; and the fourth part and last part is a upkeep part, designed to final for all times.

“During each of these phases, you choose from a very limited list of foods that you can eat an ‘unlimited’ amount of,” Weekley says. “Many of these foods are also digested slowly so that you will feel fuller longer, which can then lead to a decrease in calorie intake and promote weight loss.”

Here’s a have a look at what every part entails.

1. The Attack part

The first part of the Dukan weight-reduction plan is often known as the “pure protein phase.”

  • Food: You’ll eat nothing however lean protein, with 68 animal proteins to select from. You can eat as a lot of it as you need every day — however that’s all, plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and 6 to eight cups of water. “The oat bran is used to help stabilize blood sugars, increase your sense of fullness and decrease overall calorie intake,” Weekley says.
  • Movement: Start exercising step by step by including a 20-minute stroll to your day by day repertoire.
  • Length: The Attack part usually lasts two to 5 days, although it might last as long as per week in case you have a major quantity of weight to lose.

The aim of the Attack part is to succeed in ketosis, a metabolic state that occurs when your physique begins burning fats for power. Ketosis usually occurs once you’re on a high-fat weight-reduction plan with reasonable protein consumption and little to no carbohydrates. When your physique doesn’t have carbs to interrupt down for power, it begins breaking down fats as a substitute, which may result in fast weight reduction.

“Your body needs energy to function, and it typically uses glucose from carbohydrates to create that energy,” Weekley explains. “When there’s no glucose available, though, the body can make energy from fat. Breaking down fat creates a compound called ketones, which are then converted to energy.”

While attempting to succeed in ketosis, you can expertise short-term negative effects like nausea, vomiting, elevated fatigue and free stool. But they need to self-resolve as your physique will get used to the weight-reduction plan — often just a few days or a few weeks.

2. The Cruise part

Tired of meat but? During the second part of the Dukan weight-reduction plan, you begin to reintroduce some greens into your weight-reduction plan. But it’s not fairly that straightforward.

  • Food: You’ll rotate between all-protein days and protein-and-veggies days. On days when you may eat greens, there are 32 non-starchy greens to select from, which brings you to a complete of 100 permissible meals throughout this part — plus your day by day oat bran.
  • Movement: Ramp up your day by day walks to half-hour throughout this part.
  • Length: The Cruise part lasts till you attain your weight reduction aim, with the expectation which you can lose about one pound per week if you happen to persist with the plan.

3. The Consolidation part

Once you’ve reached your weight-loss aim, you’ll head into part three, which is the start of your efforts to take care of that loss. Here, the principles get much more sophisticated. 

“The Consolidation phase gives you guidelines on new foods that you can add in each week,” Weekley says. “It also has rules on certain days that act as accountability to maintain what it calls your ‘true weight.’”

Here’s what you may count on on this third part:

  • Food: You can reintroduce some off-limits meals, like sure fruits, cheeses and whole-grain bread, and also you’re allowed two “celebration” meals per week. Once per week, although, is “Pure Protein Thursday,” once you’re again to consuming solely what you have been allowed through the Attack part — simply lean protein and oat bran.
  • Movement: Maintain your day by day strolling behavior with a brisk, 25-minute stroll daily.
  • Length: The size of your Consolidation part is determined by how a lot weight you misplaced through the Cruise part — 5 days for each pound misplaced.

4. The Stabilization part

The fourth and last part of the Dukan weight-reduction plan says it is going to assist you to attain “permanent stabilization” of your weight reduction. No meals are off limits anymore, however there are three non-negotiable guidelines:

  • Do a “Pure Protein Thursday” each single Thursday.
  • Consume 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day.
  • Take the steps versus the elevator each time doable.

This part is supposed to final, nicely, perpetually. No stress.

Don’t neglect to hydrate!

Hydration is all the time vital, however particularly once you’re not getting a lot fiber. On the Dukan weight-reduction plan, you’re inspired to drink at the very least six to eight glasses of water per day, with the advice that you simply goal for two liters — and possibly extra, on very popular days or days once you train loads.

Benefits of following the Dukan Diet

Weekley says that she doesn’t see a variety of positives to following the Dukan weight-reduction plan, and there’s surprisingly little information out there on it. Its deal with complete meals, together with lean proteins, is an efficient factor, she says — however you’re higher off reaching that very same focus via a much less restrictive, extra sustainable type of consuming.

She explains two advantages of the Dukan weight-reduction plan and how one can faucet into these advantages with out following such an advanced and restrictive weight-reduction plan.

Say ‘yes’ to lean proteins

Lean proteins are a serious component of the Dukan weight-reduction plan. “There can be some positives to a diet that shifts to lean proteins, as they can contribute to heart health and blood sugar control and can have anti-inflammatory properties,” Weekley says.

Good sources of lean protein embody:

  • Chicken.
  • Turkey.
  • Fish and different seafood.
  • Eggs.
  • Nuts and seeds.

But there’s no must go all-or-nothing. For profitable, sustainable weight reduction, goal for the wholesome plate technique: Your plate needs to be crammed with 50% greens, 25% carbohydrate or starch and 25% lean protein.

There’s no calorie-counting

The Dukan weight-reduction plan focuses on complete, one-ingredient meals that you simply put together your self, which suggests you don’t need to meticulously parse out your parts or rely energy.

“Measuring and counting calories can turn into disordered eating patterns, and eliminating that from a diet can be less stressful for some people,” Weekley notes.

A dietitian might help you determine what number of energy you want in a day and what a nutritious diet seems like for you, whether or not or not you’re counting caloric consumption.

Cons of the Dukan weight-reduction plan

When trying on the execs and cons of the Dukan weight-reduction plan, the cons win out. This weight-reduction plan is problematic for just a few causes, Weekley says.

“The rules of the diet are complicated and can be difficult to follow,” she reiterates. “There’s not a lot of scientific data supporting the rules of the diet.”

Here are a few of the key points with the Dukan weight-reduction plan.

It’s super-restrictive

Simply put, this weight-reduction plan has loads of guidelines. “There are too many of them, and they’re hard to keep track of,” Weekley says. “The more rules and regulations a diet has, the more room there is for error and poor compliance.”

This is likely one of the key causes that so many fad diets don’t work. When there are too many restrictions, you’re extra prone to get bored and pissed off, which may lead you proper again into the arms of your previous consuming patterns.

It’s tough to observe

It’s not simply in regards to the variety of guidelines; it’s additionally about how onerous these guidelines are to observe. And on this case, most of the Dukan weight-reduction plan’s guidelines aren’t notably sensible for most individuals’s on a regular basis lives.

The alternating day rule (one high-protein day and adopted by one “cruise” day), for instance, may be onerous to maintain observe of and plan for.

“It can be incredibly challenging to prepare meals for your family when you have to constantly keep track of what day of your diet you’re on,” Weekley factors out. “And that phase can go on for months!”

You may miss out on key vitamins

When you begin the Dukan weight-reduction plan, it’s possible you’ll really feel drained and fatigued from a scarcity of macronutrients (like carbohydrates) and from consuming so many fewer energy than you’re used to.

When you get to the Cruise part, extra severe considerations come into play. With such a restricted vegetable listing — plus no fruit or complete grains — you’re in danger for vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

“There’s a real possibility that with such limited numbers of foods, you may miss out on critical micronutrients and experience macronutrient imbalances,” Weekley warns. “Some participants might not get to eat fruit or certain vegetables for several months.”

One study discovered that girls who adopted the Dukan weight-reduction plan had low ranges of vitamin C.

You should acquire again the load you lose

The Dukan weight-reduction plan performs into folks’s fears about not having the ability to keep weight reduction by promoting that it’s going to assist you to obtain lifelong weight administration. But Weekley says you’re prone to regain some or the entire weight you lose whereas following this weight-reduction plan.

Losing weight in a short time lowers your physique’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) — the minimal energy your physique must perform whereas at relaxation. This makes it tougher so that you can burn energy, which then makes it tougher so that you can proceed to shed some pounds or to take care of weight reduction.

“Your body has a ‘weight set point’ that it likes to settle at,” Weekley says. “The Dukan diet calls this your ‘true weight’ and tries to get you to reach it in a short period of time — but such drastic weight loss can shift your BMR, which makes it more difficult to maintain your lower weight.”

It might trigger tummy troubles     

Here’s yet one more disagreeable aspect impact so as to add to the combo: Your day by day dose of oat bran in all probability isn’t sufficient to maintain you … err, common.

“With so much protein and very little soluble fiber (other than a few teaspoons of oat bran), some people might struggle with abnormal bowel patterns, especially constipation,” Weekley says.

Is the Dukan weight-reduction plan secure?

If you’ve gotten diabetes or in any other case battle with blood sugar administration, skip the Dukan weight-reduction plan, because it may very well be unsafe for you.

“Because carbohydrates aren’t allowed for days, followed by very restricted carbohydrates for weeks and months, this diet may be dangerous for people who often have low blood sugars or who are not able to maintain their own blood sugars for an extended period of time,” Weekley warns.

What if you happen to don’t have blood sugar points? The Dukan weight-reduction plan might not essentially be unsafe, however that doesn’t imply you must attempt it.

“There’s not a lot of data on the long-term effects of high-protein diets,” Weekley states. “For people who don’t have chronic disease, this diet may be safe for a short period of time, but I still wouldn’t recommend it in the long term.”

What to attempt as a substitute of the Dukan weight-reduction plan

Restrictive, sophisticated fad diets are not often (if ever) the reply to your weight woes — and so they actually don’t train wholesome, sustainable consuming habits.

Adopting a low-carbohydrate, high-protein consuming type is usually a secure and efficient method to shed some pounds, shifting your macronutrient consumption in a manner that encourages weight reduction however doesn’t deprive your physique of what it wants.

“Low-carb, high-protein diets don’t eliminate entire food groups (like fruits and grains) but instead include them in much smaller quantities,” Weekley says. “This helps avoid micronutrient deficiencies and also makes it easier for you to stick with it.”

The finest method to pursue a nutritious diet is to work with a registered dietitian who’ll assist you to give you a tailor-made, individualized technique — not a one-size-fits-all fad weight-reduction plan filled with hard-to-follow guidelines and restrictions.

“Some people need structure and want someone to tell them what to eat, while others benefit from brainstorming sessions of healthy plate ideas for themselves and their families,” Weekley says. “A balanced diet is the way to go, and a dietitian can help you make the right food choices for your nutrition goals.”

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