The Dukan Diet: Fit For a Princess?
If you’ve read the Health, Lifestyle & Wellness section of any newspaper or online blog lately, you’ve likely encountered a feature or two on “The Dukan Diet,” the latest “miracle weight-loss” eating plan.
In fact, the diet is supposedly SO tremendous that princess-of-England-to-be, Kate Middleton, is following the plan to shape up for her upcoming nuptuals to Prince William.
Developed by French physician Pierre Dukan, the diet is similar to Atkins in that it centers around protein. However, unlike Atkins, the Dukan Diet allows only lean proteins, such as fish, chicken breast, eggs, etc., and insists that participants ingest copious amounts of oat bran.
There are 4 phases to the diet, summarized below (excerpt from WebMD):
- Phase 1, the Attack phase, is quite simple: Eat all you want of lean protein, along with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and 1.5 liters of water daily. That’s it. Dieters can choose from 72 lean or low-fat meats (excluding pork and lamb), fish, poultry, eggs, soy, and nonfat dairy.
- Phase 2 is the Cruise phase, which allows unlimited amounts of 28 non-starchy vegetables every other day along with a core diet of unlimited lean/low-fat protein and 2 tablespoons of oat bran. Carrots, peas, corn, and potatoes are not on this list of vegetables but appear in the next phase.
- Phase 3, Consolidation, allows unlimited protein (including pork and lamb) and vegetables every day, along with one piece of low-sugar fruit, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and 1 portion of hard cheese. Dieters can also have 1-2 servings of starchy foods and 1-2 “celebration” meals (in which you can eat whatever you want) per week during this phase. In this phase, you begin the lifetime commitment of eating the core diet of pure protein one day each week, preferably the same day.
- Phase 4, Stabilization, is the maintenance portion of the plan. The author promises you can eat whatever you like without regain if you follow his rules – one day a week, follow the same all-protein diet as in Phase 1; eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day; and walk for 20 minutes daily and never take elevators or escalators
I wouldn’t necessarily call this diet a restrictive one, as it does allow various proteins, dairy, whole grains, fruits and veggies—all of the major, good-for-you food groups. However, one must have a taste for meat, no doubt, making this diet impossible for a vegetarian or vegan.
Moreover, I don’t like how the Dukan Diet advocates eating vegetables every OTHER day. That way of eating is nutritionally impropper, for sure. Vegetables and fruits should be heartily consumed every day, as they are the essential nutrients our body craves to give us energy, vitamins and minerals, and a glowing complexion and cheery disposition. I’m ALL about protein for keeping the appetite satiated and metabolism revved, but never at the expense of plant-based, natural foods that come from the earth.
Should you try this diet, you’ll most likely lose weight, as a typical day would be 2-3 cups of oat bran, lots of chicken breast, a couple tuna fillets and tons of water. The thermic effect of all the protein you’re consuming (the calories you’re body expends just to break down the protein) will definitely create metabolic burn. However, this is also a bit of a boring diet, and definitely should not be followed long-term.
I know it’s trite, but the best diet truly is a BALANCED one made up of foods derrived from the EARTH. As I like to say, “if you can’t kill it or pick it, don’t eat it.”
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