This article was researched and written by Kelly Sipala
The Dukan Diet is basically the English version of the South Beach Diet. It focuses on protein, and specific low fat foods, while limiting the consumption of carbohydrates. There are four phases to the diet. The first phase is the attack phase, a person can expect to loose between 7-10 pounds within the first five days while only eating protein foods. To me, that is a ridiculously large amount of weight to loose within a short period of time. Unfortunately, these will be 7-10 pounds of lost muscle, not fat. By starving your body of carbohydrates, you are forcing your body to burn muscle for fuel, as your muscle is broken down you will release a lot of water – this will be the majority of the weight loss you see. It is well documented that a healthy and appropriate amount of weight loss is between 1-2 pounds a week. Yes, that seems like a small amount but it is encouraged to not go beyond 1-2 pounds per week. Losing more weight than this can slow your metabolism down and will increase your odds of regaining any lost weight when you go off the diet, which you surely will at some point.
The rapid weight loss from this diet is what many people are attracted to, but the reality is that once off the diet there could be rapid weight gain. Why put yourself through a diet that is highly restricted as well as possible weight gain in the end? The Dukan diet restricts a person’s intake in many of the food groups like fruits, grains, legumes and nuts. It is important to obtain an adequate amount of food in each food group in order to meet the dietary recommended intake (DRI). All the food groups provide essential nutrients that are needed for the body. Keep in mind too, that without consuming carbohydrates, you will likely not be up to your regular exercise routine. You body demands carbohydrates when you are physical active.
I feel like following such a restrictive diet would make people turn away because they are bored of what they are eating. They don’t eat as much because there is such a limited variety. A common assumption is to stay away from the “junk” food but really there is no such thing. The key point to remember is portion size, healthy snacks, and exercise. All foods can fit into a healthy diet. Since this diet mainly focuses on protein it won’t work for those who are vegetarian because there are really no substitutions that they may use instead of animal protein. A significant con to the Dukan Diet is that it increases one’s chances of developing health complications like high cholesterol from all the meat in the diet. Meat in general is high in saturated fats and cholesterol; choosing leaner meats is essential. Although this diet has had many success rates; it has not been studied over the long term. It closely resembles many of the widely available crash diets that lead to Yo-Yo dieting. Yo-Yo dieting is one of the unhealthiest way to loose weight.
So, if you are considering the Dukan Diet, keep in mind you will be giving up a lot of the local produce that summer has to offer- berries, peaches, plums, watermelon, tomatoes… to name a few. And although you may lose weight, you’ll be moody, have bad breath, suffer from headaches and you may not have enough energy to walk along the beach in your bikini!
Kelly Sipala is a Dietetic/Nutrition graduate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She is hoping to obtain a Dietetic Internship in the Spring and then become a Registered Dietitian. She loves working out on her free time as well as spending time with family and friends. Her interests are in pediatric nutrition because of the epidemic of childhood obesity. Ultimately, she would love to own her own business that focus on children with all disorders as well as a clinic for eating disorder patients.