At this point, we all know there’s no shortage of diets out there for those trying to lose weight or eat healthier. The Dukan Diet is a protein-based nutritional approach that was created by French physician Pierre Dukan. We are going to dive into the details of the diet, explore what it consists of, and then discuss its pros and cons!
The Dukan Diet is divided into four phases: two weight loss phases and two maintenance phases. The first phase, which is also the most restrictive phase, is designed to jumpstart weight loss and help followers lose up to 10 pounds in just five days. During this phase, participants are only allowed to consume lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, tofu, and nonfat dairy. They are also encouraged to eat unlimited amounts of vegetables and drink plenty of water each day.
The second weight loss phase (also known as the Cruise Phase) allows for the addition of 32 healthy foods—such as whole grains, fruit, and starchy vegetables—to the dieter’s daily routine. Proteins are still emphasized during this phase but can now be complemented with these other nutrient-rich foods. This phase lasts until the desired weight is achieved.
Once goal weight is reached, followers enter into one of two maintenance phases for the rest of their lives. For those who have lost less than 20 pounds on the diet (known as True Weight Loss), they will follow what’s called the Consolidation Phase—which adds back in two “celebration meals” per week while continuing to emphasize proteins and veggies at every other meal. Those who have lost more than 20 pounds enter into the Stabilization Phase—where they eat whatever they want (yes, really!) except for one pure protein day per week; otherwise it’s business as usual following the plan outlined in earlier phases.
A high protein low carb diet like the Dukan Diet can have many different effects on the body. Some of these effects can be positive, such as weight loss, while others can be negative, such as an increased risk for heart disease. Let’s take a look at the positives first.
When it comes to weight loss, a high protein low carb diet can be very effective. This is because when you cut carbs out of your diet, your body has to start burning fat for energy instead. And since protein is needed to build and repair muscle tissue, eating plenty of it will help you lose weight in a healthy way by ensuring that most of the weight you lose is coming from fat stores rather than muscle mass. There are a few reasons why it’s better to lose fat through your body’s fat stores than muscle mass. First, fat is much easier to lose than muscle. Muscle is denser and harder to break down, so it takes longer to lose. Second, losing muscle mass can actually make it harder to lose fat in the future. When you have less muscle, your body burns fewer calories at rest and has a harder time building new muscle. Losing muscle also makes it more likely that the weight you do lose will be predominantly fat. Third, excess body fat leads to a host of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Losing fat helps reduce your risk for these diseases and can improve your overall health.
It’s important to be aware that there are some potential downsides to a high protein low carb diet as well. One worry is that cutting carbs could lead to an unhealthy obsession with food and calorie counting. It's also important to make sure you're getting enough fiber on this type of diet, as too little fiber can cause constipation and other digestive problems. And finally, while Cutting carbs may help lower your cholesterol levels in the short-term, over the long-term it could increase your risk for heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Choosing a new dietary plan might seem simple, but really it can be quite difficult! Here’s some quick tips for what to consider when choosing a plan:
Every person is different when figuring out what is best for their body. It’s important to be honest with yourself about how diets make you feel, regardless of the external results