The Dukan diet is a multi-level diet that promises to help you lose weight fast, and keep it off for life. It focuses on the temporary elimination of carbohydrates to jump-start weight loss. The diet also includes a daily dose of oat bran, and daily exercise, something that many other diets like this neglect to mention. There are four stages to this diet; attack, cruise, consolidation, and stabilization.
Like many other multi-stage diets, the first phase of this diet eliminates all carbohydrates. According to Dr. Dukan, the creator of this diet, this is a quick way to eliminate bloating and water retention. This phase should last from 1 to 10 days, based on the amount of weight you want to lose. If you want to lose 10 lbs or less, one day is enough. 2 days for 20 lbs, and 5 days for 20-40 lbs. If your goal is to lose more than 40 lbs, Dr Dukan suggests doing the attack phase for 7-10 days, after speaking with your doctor.
Foods allowed in the attack phase
- All lean meats, cooked with no skin or oil
- All raw and cooked fish and shellfish
- Low-fat dairy products
- Coffee and tea with no sugar, and drinks with less than one calorie, like diet soda
- Seasonings like vinegar and lemon juice, spices and herbs
- One and one-half tablespoons oat bran
- At least one and one-half litres of water
There are a few possible side effects of the attack phase, including constipation, bad breath, and dry mouth. The diet recommends drinking as much water as possible and chewing sugar free gum to mitigate these effects.
The Cruise Phase
The second phase of the Dukan diet is the cruise phase. This is the phase that you will continue until you reach your target weight. It involves alternating days of only eating protein (PP days) and eating protein and vegetables (PV days).
Foods allowed in the cruise phase
- All foods from the attack phase
- All vegetables, raw or cooked, except for potatoes.
- As much water as possible
- 2 tablespoons of oat bran
With the reintroduction of carbs in the form of vegetables, the constipation and bad breath will begin to abate. The body will begin to burn the carbohydrates as energy, but at a much faster rate, because of the alternation with eating only protein.
The Consolidation Phase
This phase involves the gradual reintroduction of carbohydrates. According to Dr. Dukan, the consolidation phase should last 5 days for every pound that you lost. For example, if you lose 10 lbs, you would stay in the consolidation phase for 50 days to let your body adjust to your new weight.
Foods allowed on the consolidation phase
- All foods from the cruise phase
- Two slices of whole grain bread per day
- Two tablespoons of oat bran per day
- One portion of fruit per day, avoiding bananas, cherries, grapes, and raisins
- One portion of cheese per day
- One portion of pasta, beans, or couscous per week
This phase includes one PP day per week, and one celebration or ‘cheat’ meal per week.
The Stabilization Phase
The stabilization phase is the ‘life long’ phase of the diet. It requires one PP day per week, and eating as you wish for the other 6. Having 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day, and daily walking exercise are what Dr. Dukan recommends for a life of healthy weight.