The Dukan Diet was developed by a French physician. It focuses on eating protein-rich foods and avoiding carbohydrates and fats. Proteins help build lean-muscle, which can increase your metabolic rate and help burn fat.
Four Phases and Allowed Foods
The diet has a very specific list of allowed foods. These food vary depending on the phase of the diet that you are in. There are 4 phases total, so it’s important to be vigilant about choosing the right foods for the right phase.
First Phase: Attack Phase
The first phase is the Attack Phase. During this part of the diet, you will eat only protein. The Attack Phase lasts between 2 and 10 days. During this time period you can expect to lose up to 40 pounds. By eating only protein, you will change your metabolism from burning carbohydrates to burning fat (one of the best diets to follow to increase your metabolism is the 6 meals a day diet). This process is known as ketosis. During this phase, you are also allowed to use as much spice as you want to flavor your proteins. Garlic, soy sauce, mustard and vinegar are also allowed. Get creative and find flavor combinations that appeal to you. In addition to protein, you’ll also want to drink plenty of water. Aim for a minimum of 1.5 liters. It can be in the form of zero-fat soda, coffee or tea. You should also include a multi-vitamin. Avoid fatty proteins such as sausages, lamb, mutton and goose during this period.
Second Phase: The Cruise Phase
The Cruise Phase is divided into two types of eating days. One type is the pure protein day and the other is the protein and vegetable day. This is designed to get you down to your true weight. You can alternate the types of days, or you can do a set of pure protein days followed by a set of protein and vegetable days. If you find the protein days challenging, you can do 2 pure protein days followed by 5 protein and vegetable days, though your weight loss will be slower with this method. On pure protein days, you’ll only be allowed proteins. On protein and vegetable days, you’ll be allowed to also consume vegetables, but you must continue eating lean proteins. Avoid avocados, beans, peas, potatoes, corn and fruits containing carbs. In addition to your diet, you should aim to walk for at least 30 minutes and continue drinking plenty of water. You should also continue your multi-vitamin.
Third Phase: The Consolidation Phase
The Consolidation Phase takes a while, so it’s important to be patient. For every pound you shed up until this point, you need to stay in the consolidation phase for 5 days. However, the Consolidation Phase can be fun because you get to re-introduce foods that were previously off limits. During this phase, one day out of every 7 days you must follow the eating style of the Attack Phase. It must be the same day every week, so for example each Monday you would eat like you are in the Attack Phase again. As you venture through the consolidation phase, avoid high fat cheeses, white rice, potatoes, cherries and bananas. You should continue walking, drinking water and taking your multi-vitamin.
Final Phase: Stabilization Phase
The final phase is the stabilization phase. During this time you are allowed to eat whatever you want as long as you set aside one day a week to eat like you did during the Attack Phase. Portion control is key during this phase. You’ll also want to continue walking, drinking plenty of water and taking your multi-vitamin. Your weight should stabilize during this phase. If it increases, you need to reduce your portion sizes or take away certain foods like you did in the Consolidation Phase.
If you are able to stick with this diet, you can are on the right way how to lose weight in a healthy way. While some foods are initially prohibited, by the end of the diet, you will have the opportunity to enjoy all of your old favorites while living a more active life at a healthier weight.
The Attack Phase Explained
Every diet has to start somewhere and the Dukan Diet starts with what is aptly called the Attack Phase. This phase is the most important and hardest phase of the Dukan Diet and lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 days depending on your starting weight and goals. The purpose of the Attack Phase is to get you used to eating on the Dukan Diet while also addressing the typical problems that plague dieters in the beginning stages.
During the Attack Phase you can expect significant weight loss. As you progress with the diet, your body will slowly adjust to the new way of eating and your weight loss will become steady at a slower pace.
First Days Are the Hardest
The first few days of the Attack Phase are the hardest. You’ll be battling against old habits and you may even be experiencing withdrawals from your old favorite foods such as sugar and chocolate. To help get through this painful stage, you should stock your fridge with extra produce from the approved foods list so that when you feel the urge to snack you’ll have plenty of healthy options on hand.
Feeling Worn Out
During the Attack Phase you may feel tired and irritable. This is common because your body is still adjusting to the diet. You should avoid excessive exercise during this phase. Know that your energy will return after a few days, and you may actually feel more energized than you did before the diet.
Three Meals a Day
While on the Dukan Diet you should eat 3 meals a day. You should make portion sizes large enough to satisfy you and you should never let yourself go hungry to avoid entering starvation mode. If you’ve done a lot of diets in the past, you may feel like skipping meals, but this is a bad idea. During the first few days you may also feel side effects of the diet. Since protein products are low in fiber, constipation is not uncommon. You can eat bran and drink extra water to help keep your digestive system flowing.
Some people also report bad breath during the Attack Phase. This is actually not a bad sign as bad breath is a common symptom of ketosis, which is the goal of the diet. Drinking plenty of water and chewing on mint-flavored sugar-free gum can help fix this problem.
Large Choice in Allowed Foods
The best part of the Attack Phase is that you can eat pretty much whatever you want as long as it is an approved food. You should make sure you also drink 1.5 liters of water per day in addition to anything you eat.
Exercising is Restricted
If you want to exercise during the Attack Phase, limit yourself to a 20 minute walk each day. Anything more than that can have negative effects during this phase. Low-intensity swimming for weight loss can also be beneficial.
Moving On To The Next Three Phases
Once you complete the Attack Phase, you’re ready to move on to the cruise phase, then the consolidation phase and finally the stabilization phase (as explained above). The Attack Phase is meant to introduce your body to the diet and get your metabolism quickly into ketosis so you start burning fat rather than carbs. While it’s difficult to get started with any diet, once you notice the weight loss during the Attack Phase, you’ll feel motivated to continue and keep on losing.
Dukan Diet Allowed Foods
The Dukan Diet was developed by a French physician. Rather than being a true diet plan, it is more of a way of eating. The foods that you consume while on the diet are highly customizable according to your own tastes, as long as you choose foods that fit into the categories needed for each phase.
The diet is divided into four phases and each phase has its own rhythm to follow consisting of either pure protein days or pure protein days mixed with protein and vegetable days. You may find it helpful to mark which day you are on on a calendar to make sure that you are eating from the right categories of foods.
The first phase of the diet is the Attack Phase. This phase can last anywhere from 2-10 days, during which dieters will eat a pure protein diet while losing significant amounts of weight. Consuming only lean proteins will help quickly convert your metabolism to a more efficient style, which will in turn burn greater numbers of calories. (Visit our how many calories to lose weight page to learn more about burning calories and losing weight.)
Here are some foods you can eat during the Attack Phase:
- 90% lean ground beef (lean meats are also advised by the GI diet)
- boneless skinless chicken breast
- white fishes
- pork tenderloin
You can also use as many herbs and spices as you want to add flavor to your foods. The following herbs go well with protein:
- onion powder
In addition to eating protein, it’s important to drink 1.5 liters of water daily and take a high-quality multivitamin. You should also avoid fatty foods like sausage, lamb, mutton and goose.
When you begin the cruise phase, your days will be divided into two different types. One type is pure protein days like during the Attack Phase, and the other type is protein and vegetable days. You can choose a variety of ways to incorporate the two days, either by alternating one pure protein with one protein and vegetable or by doing sets of each. Your weight loss will slow down during this period.
The following items are allowed on pure protein days:
- lean ground beef
- Skinless chicken
- turkey, either ground or from the breast
- lean white meat pork
- seafood, specifically white fish and salmon
- (many of these foods are also important components of the Mediterranean Diet)
On protein and vegetable days, things get a little more interesting. You’ll be allowed to add vegetables back into your diet while you continue eating lean meats. Here is a list of some things you allowed during protein and vegetable days:
- proteins from the list above
You’ll also want to continue drinking water and taking your multi-vitamin. Avoid avocados, beans, peas, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
The consolidation phase is the longest phase of the diet. This is also one of the most fun phases because you’ll get to include a greater variety of foods that were previously not allowed. During this phase, one day out of every week is devoted to eating only proteins. It must be the same day every week, but the type of protein you eat may change. Here are some examples of healthy proteins:
- marinated chicken breast
- roasted pork tenderoin
- lean ground beef
- ground turkey
On the other days of the week, you can include vegetables in your diet, but you should continue to avoid the highest starch vegetables, like those in the potato family. Here are some vegetables you can enjoy along side your protein selections:
You should still avoid some things that are high in fat such as high fat cheeses, white rice, cherries and bananas. Continue drinking 1.5 liters of water daily and taking your multi-vitamin. If you think you add too much water weight, visit our how to lose water weight article to learn how to lose it.
Last, but not least is the stabilization phase. Here you’re allowed to eat anything you want as long as you reserve one day a week for pure protein. You’ll also want to continue drinking water and taking a daily multi-vitamin.
Previously off limit items will be back on the table, so take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy your food. Some fun items to include in this phase of your diet are:
- acorn squash
Eating according to the Dukan Diet isn’t difficult. Use these examples of allowed foods to create your own healthful meal that satisfies your need to eat as well as your need to lose weight.