With Slimming World, we have our Extra Easy, Green and Red days. While I’m sticking with Extra Easy for as long as it works for me, I have a feeling that I’ll need to include some green and red days at some point. Red days would be similar to my Atkins past... but with all of that fat and my high cholesterol, I’m not too sure whether I want to go back to this. So, the question is – what are the benefits of the Dukan diet and will it help my health... or hinder it?
Celebs linked to the Dukan diet
Are there any who aren’t? The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton), Jennifer Lopez (J. Lo), supermodel Gisele Bundchen and opera singer Katherine Jenkins are all said to have shed the pounds following the Dukan method.
What’s Dukan all about?
Well, it’s apparently not a diet. It’s a lifestyle (read: diet). Essentially, its devotees don’t have to count calories through the regime’s four phases.
The Attack Phase 1 lasts between 2 and 7 days and these are perhaps the toughest. It’s no carb and non-fat, so you’re eating is limited (to say the least). So, what can you eat during Attack Phase? You may only eat lean meats, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products (are there any??). Water plays a really important role in this stage and participants are told to eat a tablespoon of oat bran to keep hunger (and constipation!) at bay.
During the Cruise Phase 2 you can introduce unlimited vegetables (albeit a limited list of them) every other day. Dukan outline what you can eat during the Cruise Phase on their website, but the list of 28 new foods includes avocados, lentils, potatoes, etc. This phase continues until you reach your goal weight.
After this you are in the Consolidation Phase 3. Dukan allow you to eat much more. You can slowly re-introduce some of the high carb foods (e.g. breads and pastas), butter and oils. Alcohol is allowed every now and again. You’re expected to stay in this phase for 5 days for every pound of weight you lost in the attack and cruise stages. So – if you lost 100lbs (as I need to – and then some) – you’d need to remain in consolidation for roughly 18 months!
The final stage is neverending... the Stabilisation phase. You’re allowed to eat anything you want... for 6 days a week. On the 7th day you’re expected to go back to protein only. It is this protein day which is credited with staving off any future weight gains.
Pros and Cons of Dukan
It has to be that rapid weight loss. While that’s significant, it’s also a real con! Ask any doctor what they recommend and they’ll say your weight loss should be no more than 2lbs per week for a sustainable loss. Rapid losses often result in rapid gains or – worst still – bags of loose skin. Tightening up loose skin after weight loss is nigh on impossible without a surgical procedure. While there are steps you can take to tighten up loose skin naturally, it’s better to prevent it from happening at the beginning.
The protein-only nature of the Dukan diet can lead to constipation and bad breath... Talk about how to lose friends and alienate people. Stinky breath and bloated flatulence is never a good look!
There’s a real lack of vegetables and nutrients. While this wouldn’t be such a problem in those achieving short-term weight losses, I reckon it would take me at least 12 months to complete the Attack and Cruise phases.
For now I'm going to stick to Extra Easy where the diet is easy going, my outlook's positive and my diet is varied. As someone who suffered kidney infections as a result of Atkins, I'm not 100% certain that I want (or need) to go back to a diet like Dukan.