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Niche Topics ( Health and Fitness) is dedicated to help you lead a happy and healthy life. We provide the latest updates on nutrition, dieting, exercise, fitness, home remedies and natural cures for common illnesses, and other health-related topics. Get in shape with us and keep your body running at it’s peak!

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I am not sure which is the best diet for me to lose weight. I am 5'5" and weigh around 165 lbs. Right now, I am a bit confused and undecided whether to go on the Atkins diet or the Dukan diet. Both diet plans seem to work really well for many of my female friends. Can you shed some light on the Dukan diet? Thanks! – Patricia, New Mexico.


Dukan Diet or Atkins for Weight Loss?


how to start the Dukan diet

Hi Patricia,

It's interesting that you asked this question on Atkins or Dukans. Many people are confused between the two as they share a few similarities. Both diets have the same weight loss objectives, they each are comprised of 4 phases, and they focus on low carb, high protein foods. However, the Atkins diet and the Dukan diet are distinctively different.

One of the main differences is that Atkins allows you to eat high fat foods like bacon and butter while the dukan diet menu forbids the consumption of fatty foods except oily fish and eggs. Unlike the Atkins diet, the final phase of the Dukan Diet lets you consume anything that you want 6 days a week, provided that you follow the diet the same day every week.

Let's take a closer look at the Dukan Diet and see how it is different from the Atkins diet.


How to Get Started on the Dukan Diet

The Dukan diet was developed by the French doctor, Dr Pierre Dukan to help obese patients lose copious amounts weight rapidly without scarifying food enjoyment. The Dukan diet is also popular among high-profile celebrities like Penelope Cruz . Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen, both reportedly turned to the Dukan diet to help them drop post pregnancy pounds fast.


Phase 1 (Attack)

The first phase (1-10days) of the Dukan diet is strict, with only lean protein (meat trimmed of all fat, fish, shellfish, eggs, non-fat dairy products), a small amount of oat bran (1½ tablespoons of oatmeal), and water are allowed.

Calorie-free drinks including sparkling water, coffee and tea (no sugar, but skimmed milk and sweeteners are ok), herbal tea and sugar-free sodas such as Diet Pepsi or Coke Zero are also permitted.

What are some examples of foods allowed in the Attack phase (pure protein meals)? You can consume low fat cottage cheese, fat free yogurt, tofu, seitan, rabbit, veal, turkey, chicken, low fat ham, steak, shrimp, prawn, crab, crab sticks, salmon, and seafood.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, the full 10 days are recommended. You can lose as much as 7-10 pounds within the first 5 days of pure protein phase (PP phase).



Phase 2 (Cruise)

In the second phase (which lasts until you reach your target weight), you can introduce unlimited amounts of vegetables along with lean protein, oat bran (2 tablespoons of oatmeal), and water. This happens alternatively with pure protein days, meaning that you eat proteins one day, followed by proteins and vegetables the next day and so forth.

You can choose from 28 vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumber, asparagus, tomato, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, green beans, cabbage, and cauliflower. You can consume them raw, or steamed, or boiled. However, no starchy veggies like peas, carrots, corn or potatoes.

How much weight can you lose in phase 2 of the Dukan diet? Expect to drop about 2 pounds per week.



Phase 3 (Consolidation)

For phase 3, which lasts 5 days for every pound lost, you are permitted to add one piece of fruit per day, cheese, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and starchy foods in moderation (carbs such as pasta, rice, or potato) and "celebration" meals twice a week. It is important you do not feel deprived, says Dr. Dukan.

The celebration meals include foods such as wine, bread, butter, chocolate and sweets but no going back for seconds.



Phase 4 (Stabilization)

Your weight should remain stable by now, and to maintain the weight loss, you can eat and drink whatever you like for 6 days a week but return to the first Phase and have only lean meat, oat bran (3 tablespoons), and water on Thursday.


Exercise is absolutely essential in the Dukan diet. You must walk briskly for 20 minutes everyday in phase 1 and increase the duration to 30 minutes in phase 2.



Menu Example for the Dukan Diet Attack Phase (Phase 1)

Breakfast – Warm water, low fat cream cheese and turkey ham slices

Lunch – Grilled chicken breast and low fat yogurt

Afternoon Snack – Coffee or tea without sugar and cinnamon oat bran porridge

Dinner – Garlic shrimps and hard boiled eggs


To get in-depth information, I suggest you visit their website, www.dukandiet.com or buy the book to see if this diet is right for you.

Keep in mind that the Dukan Diet is not suitable for people who has a history of gout, high cholesterol, or kidney disease. In addition, some dieters do not respond well to low carb high protein diets and may experience side effects such as fatigue, mood swings, constipation, headaches, dizziness and bad breath.

Although a high protein, low carbohydrate diet may produce rapid weight loss, you cannot eat like that for the rest of your life. A better and safer way to lose weight is to eat a wide variety of nutrient-densed foods, enjoy your favorite treats in moderation and make a conscious effort to get involved in different types of regular physical activity.





By Diane Hanson


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