Dukan diet: how it works, examples, what to eat and CONTRAINDICATIONS

Dukan diet. One of the most famous and talked about diet in the world that promises to make you lose weight in a simple and lasting way. But is it really so? How does the Dukan diet work, what allows you to eat and what does not? Does it have any contraindications?

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La dukan diet it takes its name from its creator, the no longer French doctor Pierre Dukan (he was canceled from the order in 2012 at his own request). The problem with this diet is that it completely eliminates carbohydrates in many of its phases e drastically reduces fruits and vegetables (and therefore fibers that are insured only by oat bran).

It is therefore a high-protein diet considered unbalanced and even dangerous by most doctors and nutritionists. Among other things, most of the time, it is done in total by people in total autonomy, or without going to any specialist to be followed in the weight loss phase. The do-it-yourself in this case, more dangerous than ever, it is simply based on the advice that Pierre Dukan gives in his books.

But why do you like this diet so much? Is simple: there are no very strong calorie restrictions. You can eat a lot and foods that are appreciated by most people like meat, fish, eggs and milk.

Read also: Protein diet, how it works, examples, benefits, CONTRAINDICATIONS and maximum duration

But let's see now specifically how this diet works, the menus offered and the recommended eating patterns.


How it works

The Dukan diet is structured in 4 phases:

• Maintenance (or cruise)
Stabilisation phase

Photo: dietadukan.com

Attack phase

This first phase of the Dukan diet is obviously essential and is the most loved since most of the people loses weight right away. It can last from 3 to 10 days depending on how much weight you have to lose and how your body adapts to the new diet. The attack phase provides a diet consisting only of proteins (72 pure protein foods), oil is prohibited and salt, spices, lemon, vinegar and aromatic herbs can be used to season foods. Sugar is also banned in all stages of the Dukan diet.

They must be hired one and a half tablespoons of oat bran per day to compensate for the lack of fiber and Dukan recommends taking multivitamin supplements as there are no fruit and vegetables. You should drink plenty of water and coffee and tea are also allowed.

The attack phase it forces the body to use the stored fat reserves as energy and well predisposes to success as the results are seen in a short time and the motivation to continue increases.

Cruise phase

Equally, in this phase of the diet, carbohydrates cannot be taken vegetables appear even if they are not allowed every day. On the allowed days, however, you can eat without limits (in this phase they exist in fact PP days, pure proteins, and PV days, proteins and vegetables). You have to keep drinking a lot of water, increase to two tablespoons oat bran and a little bit of seed oil for cooking vegetables, soy milk or soy yogurt is starting to be used. This phase is the longest as it must be pursued until the ideal weight is reached.

The new foods that can be included are:

  • 1 0% fat fruit yogurt
  • 20 g of soy flour
  • 4% spreadable cheese (30 g)
  • soy flour: 1 tablespoon per day
  • coconut milk: 10 cl per week
  • 1 teaspoon (7g) of low-fat, unsweetened cocoa (11% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons of white or red wine for cooking
  • 100 g defatted chicken sausage or frankfurter with a maximum of 10% fat
  • 1 glass of soy milk
  • 7% fat cheese (30 g)
  • 5 sugar-free candies a day
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of skimmed milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon of light cooking cream (11% fat)
  • maximum light mozzarella with 9,5% fat (30 g)
  • light thin slices with a maximum of 9% fat (30 g)
  • 70% dark chocolate (1-2 squares per week)
  • soy protein: 50 g per week.

3) Consolidation phase

Only at this point foods containing carbohydrates, starches, legumes and fruit appear, but occasional consumption is recommended. It remains fixed one day PP, pure protein and increases to two and a half tablespoons oat bran daily. You can continue to eat the vegetables allowed in the previous stages by adding a couple of slices of wholemeal bread a day, a plate of pasta or rice a week, a fruit a day (no cherries, bananas and eggs) and aged cheeses not fermented in moderation. . The consolidation phase it has a variable duration based on the number of kilos lost in total. The kilos lost multiplied by 10 indicate the number of days of the third phase.

In the consolidation phase, you can therefore add to the menu:

  • 1 fruit per day except bananas, grapes, cherries and dried fruit
  • 50 g of wholemeal bread
  • 40 grams of 40% fat cheese
  • 1 servings of starchy a week to choose from: 80 g of pasta, 200 g of polenta, 200 g of cous cous, 150 g of lentils, 45 g of rice and 125 g of potatoes
  • Lamb meat, roast pork and classic cooked ham
  • 1 meal of the party per week (you can eat whatever you want but don't do the encore)

Stabilization phase

This phase lasts as long as you want to maintain a healthy weight achieved via the Dukan diet. It is a question of returning to eating the usual diet by following two tips: eat only protein one day a week (for example on Thursdays recommended by Dukan himself) and continue to consume i 3 tablespoons of oat bran.


All the phases provide an indispensabledaily physical activity which can be a simple walk but can also range from aerobics, swimming, dance, gymnastics, etc. In this way the fat reserves are tapped and the body is firmed. In the attack phase 20 minutes a day are enough, in the cruising phase 30, in the consolidation 25 and in the stabilization again 20 minutes.

What to eat

Being a high-protein diet, the diet conceived by Dukan contemplates a total of 100 authorized foods that can be eaten practically without limits. In particular, these are:

  • White and lean meat (excluding duck and goose)
  • Red beef and veal but only the leanest parts (fillet, sirloin, etc.)
  • Horse meat
  • eggs
  • Low-fat cold cuts (raw and cooked ham, bresaola)
  • Fish, molluscs and crustaceans
  • Skimmed milk
  • Lean dairy products
  • Acqua (also sparkling), coffee, tea, herbal teas and low-calorie drinks


But what do you eat in the course of a day? A typical example is the one that provides:

Breakfast: coffee or tea or 1 cup of skim milk, low-fat yogurt with one and a half tablespoons of oat bran. Those who prefer a savory breakfast can instead opt for 200 grams of low-fat cheese, cold cuts or an egg.

Snack: low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese or 2/3 slices of turkey breast, 1 cup of herbal tea, tea or coffee

Lunch: 150 grams of grilled meat or the same amount of fish. Alternatively 2 eggs. But you can also make many different recipes such as: turkey breast rolls with spreadable cheese, savory crêpes based on eggs and oat bran, baked fish and even desserts such as Dukan chocolate cream made with cocoa low-fat, milk and low-fat yogurt.

Snack: low-fat yogurt, tea or coffee

Price: 150 grams of protein food of your choice between meat, cold cuts, fish, shrimp or a mix. You can always treat yourself to a dessert (without chocolate sugar) of those proposed by Dukan.

there many recipes suitable for the various phases of the Dukan diet that you can alternate so as not to fall into the monotony of always eating the same.


The contraindications of a diet like this are very evident. A high-protein diet, where among other things the proteins are almost exclusively of animal origin, considerably burdens the liver and kidneys and in the long run exposes you to the risk of running into health problems. An excess of animal proteins can cause cardiovascular problems and some forms of tumors, for example. In fact, if followed for a long time this diet often leads to an increase in cholesterol and uric acid (which derives from the metabolism of proteins).

Side effects that can appear in those who follow this diet are: bad breath, dry mouth, greyish complexion, feeling of tiredness, headache, hair loss. This whole situation is also due to the deficiency of vitamins and minerals that you risk strongly following this diet.

The limitation of fruit and vegetables (which instead it is generally recommended to take in 5 daily portions) exposes to a lack of fibers useful for the intestine which risks losing its regularity in this way. For this the bran is added but the effect is not always the desired one and moreover this system is much more irritating for our intestine.

Another contraindication is to do become familiar with a type of completely unregulated diet: our body needs all the nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibers) to function at its best and completely eliminating one or more exposes it to great stress. In short, it does not provide proper nutrition education which, in addition to maintaining the right weight, also contributes to optimal health.

The opinion of the nutritionist

We asked the nutritionist Irene Tornisello what do you think about the Dukan diet and whether it is a diet to recommend or not. Here's what he told us:

“Guiding a patient on the path of weight loss is a team game. We listen to fears, understand habits and educate ourselves. Fundamental elements for achieving the desired body weight and for maintaining a good state of health. This is one of the factors why the Dukan diet, like many other trendy diets, with high media coverage is not recommended. The brand and the products that standardize the diet strip it of the personalization that it must have instead. In its four phases it is one diet that is complex and restrictive, completely eliminating food groups essential for the supply of B vitamins and fibers, leading to possible intestinal alterations. In time it can be boring and tiring with progressive abandonment and weight recovery in a very short time. The high protein intake can also lead to the elimination of liquids thus giving the illusion of weight loss e possible kidney problems. Food education, on the other hand, must aim at making people lose weight in a conscious way, understanding that foods, if taken properly, guarantee the right weight and good health ".

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