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The Dukan Diet


The Dukan Diet

You've probably heard of the famous Dukan Diet which was designed by Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist and dietician, as a healthy eating plan based on how primitive man used to eat when we were hunter-gatherers.

However, you may be unclear on what it actually involves so we've outlined a few facts below:

Dr Dukan's theory:

Quite simply protein is a dieter's friend whilst fat and carbs are initially the foe. Pierre Dukan puts forward several good reasons to eat more protein-rich foods when trying to lose weight:

• Proteins are composed of long chains of building blocks called amino acids which are linked with strong bonds that take a lot of effort to break. This means the body has to work really hard to process proteins and so they stay in the stomach longer than fats or carbohydrates. In turn, this means the stomach empties more slowly, helping to keep us fuller for longer so we find it easier to stick to our diet.

• Meanwhile, because the body has to work harder to break down proteins, it burns up more calories in doing so. So for example, when we consume 100 calories from protein, the body uses 30 calories to process it and so in reality we only get 70 calories. In contrast, the body only uses 12 calories to process 100 calories from fat; and just seven calories to process 100 calories from carbs. This means if we eat 1,500 calories of pure protein, in reality we only get 1,050 calories.Complementing this high protein intake, carbs should be severely limited because they cause the secretion of insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels and encourages the storage of fat. Fat needs to be limited because it contains the most calories per gram, and it tends to eaten in combination with carbs like bread and pasta. Protein contains only half the calories of fat – just four calories per gram compared to nine calories per gram of fat. Fat only reduces our appetite a little and high intakes are linked with heart disease.
Put simply, Dr Dukan says: "you cannot lose your own fat by eating fat from other sources."

The four phases of the Dukan regime:

• Phase 1: The Attack Phase: Made up of protein rich foods that are low in fat.
• Phase 2: The Cruise Phase: The Attack Phase with limited added vegetables every other day.
• Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase: To help you keep the weight off. This phase adds a few more vegetables everyday and some fruit.
• Phase 4: The Stabilisation Phase: The final phase is effectively a lifelong commitment to maintain your weight loss. Most of the time you eat normally, but every Thursday, you follow a pure protein day by eating only foods allowed in the Attack Phase, for example, whilst aiming to walk every day for at least 20 minutes.

Hydration on the Dukan diet:

You should have 1.5 litres of water every day through all the phases. It's fine to use this in tea, coffee or herbal teas. Ideally, you should opt for mineral water that's low in sodium, although tap water is still suitable. Diet drinks are also allowed.This means no alcohol, fruit juices or non diet fizzy drinks. You need to drink a lot more than usual on this diet because the breakdown of protein creates waste products such as uric acid. Plenty of fluid is needed to help the kidneys eliminate this from the body.

Want to know even more about the Dukan Diet?

Take a look at this clip showing Elizabeth (Nutritionist at Crystal Energy Hotel, Greece) explaining the structure of the diet and what programmes are available at the resort.

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