Dukan Diet

Dukan Diet


The Dukan diet is a weight loss diet created by former doctor Pierre Dukan.
Not being considered healthy, the Dukan method is not recommended by most medical and human nutrition institutions.
The most fearsome features of the Dukan diet are:

  • Protein excess.
  • Excess of food of animal origin.
  • Nutritional miseducation.

Who is Pierre Dukan?

Long in conflict with the health authorities, on 19 April 2012 Pierre Dukan applied to be disbarred from the French order of doctors. Many argue that it was a preventive maneuver.
Among the ethically distinguishable behaviors committed by Pierre Dukan we remember:

  • Hypothetically incorrect administration of appetite suppressing drugs to a patient with acute aortic valve disease.
  • Personal advertising leveraging your own appointment.
  • Anti-obesity proposal addressed to the President of the Republic to be applied at the University; this proposed giving extra credits to students who would remain in the normal weight range throughout their academic studies, regardless of emotional and psychological repercussions.

Principles and Characteristics

According to Pierre Dukan, losing weight in a context of food abundance is very difficult and unnatural. In such circumstances, restrictive dietary therapies (based on limiting food quantities) contribute to aggravating frustration with one's overweight.
The Dukan diet differs from clinical diets for the "freedom of consumption and calculation of food portions". Apparently, it is therefore opposed to the calorie deficit of traditional diets, precisely because they are considered debilitating and impractical.
The Dukan diet aims to achieve weight loss through food regression, that is, through the restoration of the diet hypothetically undertaken by primitive men (hunters and gatherers); the concept is very similar to that of the Paleo Diet.

What Foods?

The creator has drawn up a list of 100 recommended foods, of which 72 of vegetable origin and 28 of animal origin.
Dukan diet suggests the prevalent consumption of:

  • Foods with a high protein content, not too fatty (lean meat and fish).
  • Vegetables, not potatoes.

Planning and Strategy

The Dukan diet strategy involves the subdivision of weight loss into 4 phases.
Each step is managed in a personalized way to ensure the naturalness of weight loss.

Attack phase

It is the initial approach; it has a short duration, but has an immediate effect.
In the attack phase only 72 foods are allowed as sources of protein.

Cruise phase

It is less aggressive; alternates days identical to the attack phase with days that also include the 28 vegetable-based dishes.

Consolidation phase

It differs in two halves and has the function of integrating some of the foods eliminated in the first two phases in predetermined quantities.
It has a variable duration depending on the extent of the weight loss obtained; it is calculated by attributing 10 days for each kilogram lost in the first two phases (for example, with a weight loss of 20kg it is necessary to adopt consolidation up to 200 days).
In the consolidation phase, a more "balanced" diet is allowed, restoring the overall pleasantness of the diet.

Final stabilization phase

It is based on few rules, however unequivocal and fundamental to the long-term maintenance of the ideal weight.

The Slimming Apartment

In addition to providing the right dietary rules, it is necessary to structure a method including:

  • Diet coaching.
  • Possibility of using an interactive area called "slimming apartment".

The latter is a virtual space designed to control all the parameters of the dietary regime, in which it is possible to consult:

  • The list of 100 foods allowed.
  • The recipes (see Dukan Cake recipe).
  • Various useful tips for motor therapy (including explanatory video clips).

Method analysis


The only advantages of the Dukan diet are (or rather were at the time of its first spread):

  • Originality and use of interactive tools that allow consultation in real time: the invention of the slimming apartment is a very effective loyalty strategy. Combining online support with diet therapy was a flash of genius that allowed consumers to firmly “harness” consumers to the Dukan method.
  • Marketing: disputed by the authorities it is however necessary for the business. This is a commercial advantage that concerns the Dukan company but does not touch the users in the least.
  • Standardization: concerns the quality of the service offered; it is indispensable for the provision of services on a large scale.

WARNING! The effectiveness of the Dukan diet is NOT to be considered an advantage. Any weight loss diet leads inexorably to weight loss; otherwise it would not be considered as such.


As for the disadvantages, there is a lot to say:

  • Nutritional imbalance: recommending to follow entire periods of high protein consumption, the Dukan method does NOT respect in any way the principles of a good and healthy diet.
    • Protein excess: goes beyond the recommendations established in compliance with the Mediterranean diet; the extent of the protein excess obtainable with the Dukan diet also conflicts with all the results of the experimental studies carried out to establish a recommended daily protein dose.
    • Carbohydrate deficiency: compromises blood sugar and inexorably leads to ketoacidosis. Nerve tissues are mainly supported by glucose in the blood, which is maintained through various processes. However, by totally excluding carbohydrates from the diet, even the metabolic pathways of neoglucogenesis may not be sufficient. Symptoms are: weakness, short temper, low blood pressure and inability to practice sustained and / or prolonged motor activity etc. Furthermore, the accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood puts the organism in unfavorable conditions. Liver and kidneys are forced to work harder; however, these acids tend to dehydrate the body by further lowering the pressure and increasing the excretion of minerals in the urine.
    • Fiber deficiency: The correct amount is around 30g of fiber per day. To obtain this dose it is necessary to consume: cereals for breakfast, two portions of fruit a day, two portions of vegetables a day, cereals or legumes in at least one first course and a few slices of bread.
    • Lack of water (in addition to the greater tendency to dehydration): that contained in food is necessary to maintain the physiological state of hydration. It represents more than 50% of the fluids necessary for survival; in a balanced diet it is mainly provided by foods of plant origin and milk.
    • Lack of lipid molecules: let's not forget that among fats there are essential molecules, that is, that the body is not able to produce independently. These are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The main food sources are fatty fish, algae, oilseeds, fleshy oily fruit, and the relative extraction oils. Moreover, diluted in lipids we also find many other very important compounds, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), phytosterols and lecithins.
    • Deficiency of water-soluble vitamins and minerals: excluding cereals, legumes, fruits, etc. there is a risk of dietary deficiency of vitamins and salts mainly supplied by these foods. Two examples are: vitamin C or ascorbic acid, contained mainly in sour fruit and some vegetables (lettuce, parsley, cabbage, etc.); magnesium, contained above all in the fibrous portion of cereals, certain vegetables, oil seeds and fruits.
  • Absence of therapist-therapist relationship: any video clip, food list, diet recipe or other material available on a website cannot (and never will) replace an interview with a nutrition specialist or a training session carried out with a personal trainer .
  • Marketing and standardization: transform users into consumers.
  • Too rapid initial weight loss: motivating for some but traumatic for all. It is also a not very honest strategy as most of the pounds lost in the first few days are the result of dehydration.
  • Excessive restriction: while it is possible to consume free portions, on the other Dukan imposes to eat only certain foods. 
  • Hypocrisy: Pierre Dukan demonizes low-calorie diets by calling them stressful. Yet at the same time it puts its customers in the same condition and perhaps worse. Let's take an example: a balanced low-calorie diet for an average sedentary adult subject is about 1500-1600kcal. A Dukan diet in the attack phase (5 meals a day with normal portions of meat, fish, low-fat cheeses, vegan protein foods and eggs) reaches about 1000kcal. A big difference (50% fewer calories). Let's avoid reiterating the complication of hypoglycemia, which is also an uncomfortable factor to say the least.
  • Hurry to "attack": wrong term and attitude. For a patient (especially obese) the rush to lose weight is undoubtedly the first attitude to change. Furthermore, statistically, the motivation is lacking especially in the stabilization and maintenance phase; it therefore proves useless to reduce weight quickly in the first phase. From a psychological point of view, “attacking oneself” or one's image does not facilitate the achievement of serenity in therapy. On the contrary, it could foment doubts, fears and insecurities already present enough in a person who decides to follow a food therapy for aesthetic purposes (we purposely avoid referring to subjects suffering from eating disorders, on which the negative effect is certainly amplified. ).
  • Long-term unsustainability: we are not talking about the consolidation and stabilization phases, but about the new attempts to lose weight. Recidivism to overweight is quite widespread among those who follow slimming therapies and even more so in the case of high-protein diets that DO NOT favor food education. This means that with each attempt (probably every year) the liver and kidneys will have to tolerate the attack and cruise phases.


Ultimately, it is not conceivable to organize a slimming strategy with the aim of losing weight quickly without considering the future repercussions it could have on the dietary attitude and health of patients. Rather, the educational aspect, the health aspect and the applicability of the therapy should be addressed.

Here are some examples of recipes in line with the principles of the Dukan diet. These videos are not an invitation to undertake this diet, but a demonstration of how it is possible to prepare sweets with less sugar and more protein. Such precautions can be useful in different diets, of course under the guidance of a nutritionist.

Simple Dukan Cake

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See also sections: Protein recipes and Diet recipes

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