What is the Dukan Diet?
The diet, created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, has four phases:
1. Attack: This phase consists of pure protein. You're allowed to eat 72 different high-protein foods.
2. Cruise: During this phase you alternate pure protein days with days when you can eat both protein and vegetables.
3. Consolidation: In this phase, you gradually return previously forbidden foods and allow two 'celebration' meals each week.
4. Permanent stabilization: In this stage – which goes on forever! – you'll need to have three tablespoons of oat bran a day, take the stairs whenever possible and have only pure protein every Thursday.
Does it work?
I checked in with a few health and nutrition experts to find out the pros and cons of this new fad diet. Plus I chatted with my Canadian Living colleagues to find out their thoughts. Here's what they had to say.
1. You'll lose weight
"As with any low-calorie diet, weight loss will typically be a result," says Angela Liddon, health and wellness expert at Oh She Glows. "Weight loss has numerous health benefits such as reduced cholesterol levels, decreased risk of heart attack, diabetes prevention and improved energy levels."
2. You'll eat whole foods
"It is really good that the Dukan Diet encourages eating whole, real foods as opposed to refined, packaged, 'convenience' foods," says holistic nutritionist Laura Stokoe.
"I like the fact that the diet includes a daily serving of oat bran (a good source of fibre). Fibre is extremely important in keeping the colon clean, digestion efficient, and elimination happening properly. In terms of weight loss and cravings, it helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level, which is key in reducing those incessant cravings."
3. You'll be more active.
"Taking the stairs where possible ensures a bit of extra activity thrown into most days," says Stokoe.
Page 1 of 2 - read about the Dukan Diet cons on page 2
1. It's low fat
"We need good fats to function, and even some saturated fats are needed in moderation," says Stokoe. "When the focus is put on eating as little fat as possible, the emphasis is taken away from ensuring a steady supply of essential fatty acids, which are just that: essential. They help to increase energy, promote fat loss, and increase endurance and stamina."
2. It excludes food groups
"The heavy focus on meat-based proteins, while excluding other food groups like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, is the least healthy aspect of this diet," Liddon says. "Not only does it deprive the body of essential nutrients, but it can place the body in an acidic state of ketosis potentially damaging the kidneys and liver."
3. You may stab yourself in the head with a fork
Canadian Living's Life section editor Donna Paris was excited when she first heard about the Dukan Diet but she was concerned she would put the weight back on once she started to eat carbs again. “And I know that I would have to eat carbs eventually or stab myself in the head with a fork because I love pasta, bread and potatoes."
A better option
Paris says Canadian Living health editor Brett Walther suggested she try the new ELMM diet. “You know Eat Less, Move More,” he said.
"And there it is. It's not sexy, it's sensible," says Paris. "Follow Canada's Food Guide and fit in exercise every day. It's not rocket science, but it won't hurt you. It will help you, and it will make you feel good."
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