Dukan diet

Dukan Diet: Plan, Review, Phases And Results

The Dukan diet plan is structured in 4 phases with a different menu for each.

It was designed by French doctor Pierre Dukan more than 30 years ago, a former nutritionist with more than 40 years of experience and a specialist in eating behavior. This is a type of diet that grew in popularity from the year 2000 to the point that his book, The Dukan Diet, became a true bestseller in France in 2011, with 10 million copies sold.

This is a certainly controversial type of diet that promises quick, effective, and permanent weight loss results without being hungry at all.

What does the Dukan diet really consist of, and why has it become so popular since then? What are its phases, rules, and which foods to include? In this article, we discover everything about the Dukan diet and the controversies and side effects that surround it.

What is the Dukan diet?

Also known as the Dukan method, this diet designed by nutritionist Pierre Dukan tends to resemble high-protein diets.

In fact, the Dukan diet is based on the consumption of high protein foods (among the 72 recommended), while or reducing carbohydrates intake and including 28 recommended vegetables.

It is divided into 4 phases, known as attack phase, cruise phase, consolidation phase, and stabilization phase. Also, it is recommended to practice exercise at least 20-30 minutes a day and to consume oat bran.

Dukan diet phases

It consists of a total of 4 phases, in which, unlike other types of plans, in the Dukan diet there are no restrictions related to the amount of food that can be consumed. However, there are restrictions on the type of food you eat. And what are these phases?

1. Attack phase

As Dukan himself says, it is  the phase that offers immediate results in terms of weight loss. It is also known as the phase of pure protein attack, and as its name suggests, it gives priority to foods with high protein content, drastically reducing energy inputs.


Trying to stimulate the organism by taking advantage of the body's reserves, which offers the possibility of losing weight quickly, while maintaining or preserving muscle mass (or lean body mass). In other words, in this first phase of the Dukan diet, our body extracts energy from the fat mass.

What you can eat

The main foods to include are lean proteins from skinless poultry, veal (except entrecote), fat-free eggs, fish, shellfish, soybeans (tofu), light ham, and low-fat dairy. Also, one and a half tablespoons of oatmeal per day is recommended. You can choose from the 72 protein foods recommended in this method.

How long does it last? How much weight can I lose?

This Dukan diet phase lasts from 2 to 7 days, during which the person can lose 2 to 3 kg, although it is also possible to lose up to 4. This phase recommends doing 20 minutes of physical exercise daily.

Dukan diet
In the Dukan diet attack phase, the person eats mainly proteins, like meat, eggs or dairy products. 

2. Cruise phase

This second phase of the Dukan diet is a stage in which the aim is to maintain weight loss by prolonging it over time and avoiding the appearance of the dreaded yo-yo effect (that is, regaining the weight that has been lost).


Maintaining the lost weight, consolidating it and prolonging it over time. It allows the organism not to acquire certain resistances. To achieve this, the daily reintroduction of carbohydrates intake is allowed, which helps the energy intake to increase little by little and avoids a rapid increase in insulin secretion.

What you can eat

In addition to the 72 recommended protein foods, the person can also include the 28 recommended vegetables.

How long does it last? How much weight can I lose?

It can be maintained for as long as the dieter wants until they get the weight they want to lose. However, it tends to be 10 days for each kilo that has been lost. It is estimated that the person can lose about 1 kg per week, so weight loss continues, albeit less rapidly. You should also take two tablespoons a day of oats, and carry out 30 minutes a day of physical activity.

3. Consolidation phase

As its name suggests, after the attack and cruise phase, it is the turn of the so-called consolidation phase, which pursues the goal of retaining the weight that has been lost. This phase must begin just as soon as the person has reached the desired weight.


This Dukan diet phase promises to avoid the yo-yo effect by trying to maintain the weight achieved after previous weeks.

What you can eat

In order to achieve this, we have to re-introduce banned foods little by little, such as cereals, dairy products, wholemeal bread, fruit... There is one day a week when the dieter can eat proteins exclusively. It is advisable to consume 2.5 spoonfuls of oats a day and to practice 25 minutes of physical activity.

How long does it last?

Ten days per lost kilo.

Dukan diet
In the Dukan diet consolidation phase, the person can include bread or cereals in their meals.

4. Stabilization phase

In this last phase of the Dukan diet, the goal is not to regain weight that has been lost, trying to maintain some stability. Dukan places special emphasis on this phase, as it is the most important to achieve success.


Achieving stability in the lost weight, never recovering it again. To do this, three basic actions must be carried out: eat three tablespoons of oat bran a day, walk at least 30 minutes each day and keep one day a week eating only protein (for example, Thursdays).

What you can eat

The key is to maintain a certain daily balance. It is therefore advisable to consume five fruits and vegetables, three dairy products, 1 to 2 servings of meat, eggs or fish, three servings of bread and starch, and 1 to 2 servings of fat.

How long does it last?

Since its goal is not to regain the weight that has been lost, it can last a lifetime.

Controversy and side effects

Many nutritionists have criticized the Dukan diet, not only because  it is considered a fraudulent method, but also because of its possible risks for people who follow its 4 phases. The Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics itself considers it a dangerous and illegal method, which poses a risk to public health and is not an effective weight loss diet.

They maintain that there is no evidence or scientific basis to support its results, and is considered as a fraudulent diet to promise quick results, erroneously attributing slimming capacity to proteins (when there is no evidence to guarantee that following a diet high in protein helps to lose weight).

Also, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) itself went so far as to state that this diet can cause nutritional imbalances.



Freeman TF, Willis B, Krywko DM. Acute intractable vomiting and severe ketoacidosis secondary to the Dukan Diet©. J Emerg Med. 2014 Oct;47(4):e109-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.06.020.

Wyka J, Malczyk E, Misiarz M, Zołoteńka-Synowiec M, Całyniuk B, Baczyńska S. Assessment of food intakes for women adopting the high protein Dukan diet. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2015;66(2):137-42.


Check out the original article: Dieta Dukan: qué es, cómo hacerla, fases, alimentos y controversias at viviendolasalud.com