The Next Big Thing in the Diet World

Get ready for the return of low-carb dieting….because Dr. Pierre Dukan (and his celebrity followers) are about to take the diet world by storm.

Already a hit in Europe, the Dukan Diet is about to blow up in North America thanks to the unofficial endorsements of J.Lo and supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Recently translated into English, the Dukan Diet is similar to last century’s Atkins Diet.

It has four distinct phases…with the first phase being the most strict and each subsequent phase becoming more and more carb-tolerant.

Here is a brief synopsis:








PHASE 1 – The Attack Phase

Like Atkins, The Dukan Diet starts with a very strict ‘attack’ phase where you eat nothing but protein – just meat, fish, eggs and no-fat dairy products.

You can spend just one day here – or as many as ten days if you have a lot of weight to lose – and many people can expect to lose as much as 7lb in five days.

During this phase, eat freely any foods on the following list – eat as much as you want, whenever you want. You must adhere to this plan strictly.

The List

  1. Lean beef and veal or rabbit, not pork or lamb (trim all fat and avoid ribs as too fatty). Eat meat grilled, roasted or boiled and without using butter, oil or cream (not even low-fat versions). You could also ‘dry fry’ it – rub the surface of a frying pan with a few drops of oil on kitchen paper. Lean minced beef can be prepared as burgers or meatballs (mixed with an egg, spices, capers or gherkins) or enjoy frozen beefburgers (if less than 10 per cent fat).
  2. All chicken and turkey (not goose or farmed duck) but remove skin before eating and avoid the outside part of the wings (too fatty).
  3. Ham if low-fat and lean, also cut rind off. Avoid deli, cured, and smoked hams (too fatty).
  4. Beef, veal or chicken liver.
  5. All fish white or oily, fresh, frozen, dried, smoked or canned (but not in oil or in any sauce containing fat), even crab sticks.
  6. All crustaceans and shellfish.
  7. Up to two eggs a day. Stick to 3 to 4 yolks per week if you have high cholesterol, but the white can be eaten without restriction.
  8. Non-fat dairy products such as 0per cent yoghurt, fromage frais, quark, cottage cheese, and skimmed milk. Natural ( plain) and flavoured yoghurts (coconut, vanilla, lemon) are allowed without restriction, but non-fat fruit yoghurts (containing fruit puree) should be limited to two a day (or avoided if you want a lightning start to your attack phase).
  9. Sweeteners (Canderel, Silverspoon Sweetener) or Stevia (a natural sweetener available from health food stores), vinegar, spices, herbs, garlic, onion, gherkins, pickled onions (as condiments, but not in large quantities), lemon juice (on food, but not to drink), mustard and salt (in moderation), sugar-free natural ketchup in moderation, sugar-free chewing gum (can slow down the mechanical swing towards eating whenever you feel under pressure).

Additional rules

  • Drink 1.5litres of water per day (plain or carbonated) particularly at mealtimes to help you feel full. Tea, coffee and diet drinks (no more than 1 calorie per glass) can be included in this total.
  • Eat 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day (as porridge, sprinkled on yoghurt, or made into a pancake).
  • Walk briskly for 20 minutes every day. This is a non-negotiable doctor’s prescription.
  • Avoid all butter and oil.


PHASE 2 – The Cruise Phase

In Phase 2, you alternate pure protein days with days when you include a  unlimited array of vegetables to your wide selection of meat, fish and no-fat dairy products. Expect to lose around 2lb a week.

The most efficient way to work this stage is to spend one day on the pure protein ‘attack’ diet (Phase 1), and the next on a protein and vegetable diet, switching between the two, one day at a time, until you reach your chosen weight.

Phase 2 Vegetables

  • artichoke, asparagus, aubergine, broccoli, cabbage (white, red, savoy, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprout), celery/celeriac, chicory, courgette, cucumber, fennel, French beans/ mangetout, leeks, mushrooms, onion, peppers, pumpkin, radish, salad leaves (lettuce/rocket/watercress), sorrel, soya beans, spinach, swede, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip.

Other Phase 2 Rules

  • Increase oat bran intake to 2 tbsp per day.
  • Increase exercise to a 30-minute brisk walk each day.
  • Keep drinking at least 1.5 litres of water each day.


PHASE 3 – The Consolidation Phase

  • Eat as much protein and vegetables (together) each day as you want without any restriction on quantity, time of day or combination.
  • Add one serving of fruit per day (avoid high-sugar bananas, grapes, cherries, dried fruits and high-fat nuts)
  • Enjoy two slices of wholemeal bread per day, spread with fat-reduced butter
  • Have one serving (40g or 1.5oz) of hard cheese per day (but avoid blue cheese, soft cheese or goat’s cheese)
  • Factor in one serving of ‘starchy foods’ per week in the first half of your Consolidation Phase, increasing to two servings per week in the second half. This includes pasta (225g or 8oz serving in tomato, not creamy, sauce and with no oil), couscous/polenta (225g or 8oz cooked in stock, not butter or oil), lentils, beans, chickpeas, rice (ideally brown) and potatoes (but only occasionally and without butter).
  • Broaden your meat repertoire to include any quantity of lamb, roast pork and ham (remove all fat first) once or twice a week
  • Let your hair down and plan and enjoy one celebration meal a week in the first half of the Consolidation Phase, increasing to two in the second half. In this meal you really can eat whatever you want – and you should choose something you’ve missed during the weight-loss period.


[box type=”important”]But there are two important conditions – NEVER have second helpings of the same dish and NEVER eat two celebration meals in a row. Have one of each: one starter, one main, one dessert and one glass of wine, all in a reasonable quantity but only once.[/box]

  • Keep one pure protein day per week – say, Thursdays. This is your insurance policy against gaining weight.
  • Take 2tbsp of oat bran per day (as a pancake or sprinkled on food)
  • Walk 25 minutes per day (longer if you enjoy it and have time)


PHASE 4 – The Stabilisation Phase

This is the maintenance phase…and here are the rules

Go back to eating whatever you like, but continue to use the basic rules of the Consolidation Phase as a safety platform (eat unlimited protein and vegetables, one piece of fruit a day, two slices of wholemeal bread, a portion of cheese, two starchy foods and two celebration meals a week).

Keep this in mind as your point of healthy-diet reference, and use it as your safety back-up if you are under threat of regaining weight.

Pick one day a week – for the rest of your life – when you eat nothing but protein. This is the key that allows you to eat normally for the other six days of the week without putting any weight back on. (Drink at least two litres of water to flush the digestive system and reduce its craving for food)

Make a vow to walk (briskly) for 20 minutes every day, and never take a lift or step on an escalator. Going up or down the stairs makes the body’s largest muscles contract and, in a short time, uses up considerable calories.

Increase your daily oat bran intake to 3tbsp and stick to it for life.


Well, that’s the Dukan Diet in a nutshell.


Find out More:



  1. Hmm, intriguing. I’m never sure about diets that are so all or nothing, but I’ve recently hit a slump where I could really use a jump start. I might just try this.

  2. Hmm… I don’t know… I’m never a fan of anything that requires huge intakes of meat only. Maybe because I’m not a big meat eater – I do eat meat but only bits a pieces, spaced out. I eat fish, but I limit that to once in two days or so.

    I’m always curious about these crash diets, how to lose weight NOW and Immediately. Puts a lot of strain on your body and you never really change the eating habit, just limit yourself for a period of time..

  3. Hmmm…. its not the worst diet plan ever,some good ideas, nothing that has not been published before. I think there are much better programmes. Yes fat loss is important but strong health must be the primary focus, which is not always achieved by “weight loss” alone. I have many clients who try the “Dukan” approach, which works for a while but end up with cravings which overcome them and they lose all the gains they had achieved.

    Great web site, thanks Doug

  4. Its actually not far from what i’m eating at the moment: I eat a small bowl of plain whole rolled porridge oats (30g) made with water every morning but the rest is protein (lean) or green steamed veg or fresh fruit apples, pears, grapefruits, melon or tomatos). I am not losing weight. I have a long ish history of anorexia hence being so fanatical about what I eat and sticking religiously to that plan but weight loss, its not happening, infact I put on weight from a BMI 15 all the way to a BMI 25 that way.

    I want to say “I doubt this diet will work” to give others hope but infact I know this diet wont work, unless taking 100kcals out of my diet (porridge oats each morning) and replacing with 100kcals of something else is going to make a difference: I heavily doubt this.

    Or have I f***’d up my body too much with 5 years of anorexia? I doubt it: no one else seems to experience that and infact the rate of relapse is huge. I am eating 1500kcals a day. I maintain a BMI of 23 like this having lost weight the one way I know how: to stop eating at all.

  5. I first read about this plan because Kate Middleton’s mother lost weight on it and supposedly Kate is on it for the wedding. One thing that always concerns me about super low carb diets is that a number of low-starch vegetables and fruits (often people’s favs) are goitrogens (sp?). As a hypothyroid patient, I’ve spent years figuring out what kind of foods and exercise and what dose of medication are best for my thyroid. I was diagnosed at age 11 and only got my thyroid stable and in the normal range for the first time at age 22. If I started eating broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, kale, soy, etc. it would ruin all that hard work.Many of the other veggies on this list are tough to cook into something non-boring. I don’t know how these foods affect people whose thyroid is okay, but it’s just something to be mindful of

  6. One thing that always worries me, a very low carbohydrate diet that many low-starch vegetables and fruits (often people are favs), the goitrogens (sp?). Hypothyroidism as a patient, and I for many years to figure out what foods and physical activity, and the optimal dose of thyroid medication. I was diagnosed at age 11, and my thyroid was stable only in the normal range for the first time in 22 years. When I started to eat broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, cabbage, soy, etc., would destroy all that hard work.Many other vegetables on this list it is difficult to cook something that is not boring. I do not know that these foods affect people who have thyroid is okay, but just something to be aware of

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