The Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet consists of 4 eating programmes that follow on from each other.

The crucial element that links the four stages is the days spent eating nothing but protein. It may sound similar to Atkins, but the Dukan Diet is very different. Protein days are used for crucial strategic effect at each stage of the diet, and dieters are urged to stay clear of butter and oil that forms one of the mainstays of the Atkins regime.

The Dukan Diet starts with a short, sharp attack phase where you eat absolutely nothing but protein - just meat, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products. This is the kick-start that gives you the initial impetus, the dramatic weight loss, and sets the tone for the other diets in the Dukan plan. Because it is extremely effective, this first stage of the diet produces obvious and immediate results - many people can expect to lose as much as 7lb in just five days.

The attack phase can last 1 - 10 days, depending on how much weight you wish to lose overall, on a single day in the attack phase you could be expected to lose 2lb instantly & is often enough to get you started.

A short-term, protein-rich regime like this will purge the tissues of excess water, dull the appetite (if you eat only protein foods, your body produces ketonic cells that are powerful natural appetite

After one to ten days in the pure protein attack phase, dieters move on to the cruise phase. This is the workhorse stage of the diet where you alternate pure protein days with days when you include unlimited vegetables. You can start a meal with a salad or soup, followed by a meat or fish dish gently stewed vegetables. Weight will fall off at a rate of around 2lb a week.

When you reach your ideal weight - or your Dukan-prescribed true weight - the consolidation phase kicks in; gradually releasing dietary constraints and putting fruit, bread, cheese and starchy foods such as pasta back on the menu.

You are even encouraged to have two totally unrestrained celebration meals (with alcohol, butter, bread, chocolate ... whatever foods you truly love) a week.

This is not a tolerated indulgence, it is a doctor's recommendation, and an important part of the diet's acceptance that food, in all its variety, can be relished if you are going to stay slim for ever. You aren't expected to lose weight in this phase, but nor will you gain pounds.

Consolidation has been designed to stop you rebounding straight back into your former eating habits, and to set your body's equilibrium with your new figure.

If you stick to the plan for five days, for every 1lb you lost in previous phases your body will be able to properly and permanently consolidate that weight loss.

When your time in consolidation is up, you enter the Stabilisation Phase where you resume a healthy balanced diet with three Dukan caveats: daily oat bran, daily exercise and protein-only on Thursdays.

FIND YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT

A key to weight loss is finding a target weight that is right for your body and can be maintained for life. This isn't always the weight you'd like to be or even once enjoyed. But it has to take into account your gender, age, family history of obesity, past weight problems and your previous highest and lowest adult weights.

Your true weight calculation is complex to work out, but go to dukandiet.co.uk and answer the 11 questions. You will receive your target weight, when you can expect to reach it and how many days you should spend in the stages of the Dukan Diet.

Type in DM50 (Daily Mail offer) to get a 50% discount on Dukan

THE DUKAN DIET SECRET INGREDIENT - OATS

Oat bran is rich in sugars and protein, but its benefit lies in the high levels of soluble fibre, which absorbs water in the gut, swelling up to 20 times its size. This helps you feel full and satisfied. It is also great for heart health and eases constipation (which can affect people in the early stages of the diet). Once digested, it attracts fat molecules, sugars and toxins, and carries them out of the body before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

INSIDER TIPS

  • Due to the high amounts of protein, dieters are advised to drink three litres of water a day
  • Eat a lot and as often as you like. Donít let yourself get hungry.
  • Never skip meals.
  • Drink whenever you eat (it makes you feel full and slows absorption).
  • Never let yourself run out of the foods you need.
  • Eat as many Dukan-friendly snacks and treats as you like.
  • Add flavour (herbs and spices) at every opportunity. Extreme flavours stimulate an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which in turn triggers feelings of fullness.
  • Experiment with agar agar (from health shops). This marine gelatine is made from sea algae, which works in a similar way as pectin and oat bran to thicken food. It is useful for making jelly-like custards. It reduces the speed at which sugar is assimilated by the body, reduces cholesterol and cuts down calories absorbed.
  • make a batch of Dukan-friendly sauces and dressings to spice up your meals. For a simple yoghurt dressing, simply beat a tsp of Dijon mustard, a dash of vinegar, pepper, salt and herbs into non-fat yoghurt.
  • Make a batch of mini oat bran pancakes each morning ó you can nibble on them when hunger strikes.
  • Weigh yourself frequently. While you are on Dukan, the scales are your daily reward. Weight loss, no matter how tiny, is the best incentive.
  • Drink a large glass of cold water before your meal, another during, and a third glass before you leave the table. Dr Dukan says this makes you feel full, disrupts the absorption of solid food, rinses the taste buds, and slows the meal down, allowing the chemicals that send out messages of satisfaction more time to pass through the blood and reach the brain so that you stop feeling hungry.

On Holiday

If youíre getting ready for your holiday, these are essential products youíll need to pack and take with you:

  • Oat bran (enough for 4 tablespoons per day) ideally measured into separate sandwich bags, one for each day.
  • Flavourings (vanilla, almond, lemon) available from supermarkets or from dukandiet.co.uk
  • Sweetener. Arm yourself with mini sachets from restaurants.
  • mini cartons of skimmed milk.
  • Mini tins of tuna in brine (with ring pull tops).
  • Bags of bresaola (air cured beef)/biltong (a South African dried meat product).
  • Tiny pots of cocoa powder (to add to yogurts).
  • Sugar-free jelly (safe snack) and sugar-free sweets.
  • Small plastic bottle of balsamic vinegar/tabasco.
  • Bag of mixed herbs.
  • Sachets of mustard and pepper.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking.

Tips:

  • Stick to low-fat meat/ fish/shellfish with salad and vegetables and low-fat dairy products;
  • Allow yourself a small portion of hard cheese, 2 slices of wholemeal bread, one piece of fruit and one glass of wine per day;
  • Have 2-4 tablespoons oat bran per day;
  • Enjoy two celebration meals per week;
  • Maintain your Protein Thursdays;
  • Walk 25 minutes per day;
  • Drink 2 litres of water per day.

When you come home, continue with your holiday eating plan (minus the daily glass of wine) ó this is Dukanís Consolidation phase ó and stick at it for five days for every 1lb in weight you have lost, to establish your new slender weight long-term.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SLIP UP

When you embark on the Dukan Diet, it is very important to follow the rules absolutely to the letter during the Attack Phase. This phase sets you into orbit; it is short and has to be done in one single go without any deviation.

As soon as you get into the Cruise Phase (where you alternate protein only and protein and vegetable days), lapses from the diet such as social commitments and dining out are often unavoidable.

Keep them to a minimum and try to reduce any damage by feeding yourself with protein-rich foods and vegetables wherever you go.

If you go overboard at any time, don't panic, just get back on track where you left off. If, at any time during Cruise, you find your weight-loss tailing off, or if during Consolidation and Stabilisation the weight creeps back, try these emergency tactics:

  • Four days back on Attack
  • Restrict salt intake (to reduce the risk of water retention)
  • Upping water intake to 2 litres per day (to flush through the kidneys)
  • Get more sleep
  • Above all walk for 60 minutes a day for four days. This sudden dose of exercise will confuse the body and jolt it out of stagnation.

But there are two important conditions - NEVER have second helpings of the same dish and NEVER eat two celebration meals in a row (if you splurge on Tuesday night, at Wednesday's breakfast the success of your diet is on the line). Have one of each: one starter, one main, one dessert and one glass of wine, all in a reasonable quantity but only once.

  • Keep one pure protein day per week - say, Thursdays. This is your insurance policy against gaining weight.
  • Take 2tbsp of oat bran per day (as a pancake or sprinkled on food)
  • Walk 25 minutes per day (longer if you enjoy it and have time)

CONSOLIDATION PHASE

  • Eat as much protein and vegetables (together) each day as you want without any restriction on quantity, time of day or combination.
  • Add one serving of fruit per day (avoid high-sugar bananas, grapes, cherries, dried fruits and high-fat nuts)
  • Enjoy two slices of wholemeal bread per day, spread with fat-reduced butter
  • Have one serving (40g or 1.5oz) of hard cheese per day (but avoid blue cheese, soft cheese or goat's cheese)
  • Factor in one serving of 'starchy foods' per week in the first half of your Consolidation Phase, increasing to two servings per week in the second half. This includes pasta (225g or 8oz serving in tomato, not creamy, sauce and with no oil), couscous/polenta (225g or 8oz cooked in stock, not butter or oil), lentils, beans, chickpeas, rice (ideally brown) and potatoes (but only occasionally and without butter).
  • Broaden your meat repertoire to include any quantity of lamb, roast pork and ham (remove all fat first) once or twice a week
  • Let your hair down and plan and enjoy one celebration meal a week in the first half of the Consolidation Phase, increasing to two in the second half. In this meal you really can eat whatever you want - and you should choose something you've missed during the weight-loss period.

STABILISATION

The secret of staying slim forever

When you have successfully completed the consolidation stage of the diet (five days for every 1lb you lost in the earlier Attack and Cruise stages) you are ready for the fourth and final stage of the Dukan diet.

Your new slim line body will have given up its extreme reactivity, wanting to extract every last calorie from everything you eat, and your metabolism will be calmer.

But experience shows the likelihood of regaining weight will remain if you do not incorporate into your lifestyle a number of habits specifically designed to deal with this risk.

The Stabilisation Stage of the Dukan Diet offers permanent slenderness in return for four simple, extremely effective but nonnegotiable measures that you should follow for the rest of your life. 

Stabilisation rules

Go back to eating whatever you like, but continue to use the basic rules of the Consolidation Phase as a safety platform (eat unlimited protein and vegetables, one piece of fruit a day, two slices of wholemeal bread, a portion of cheese, two starchy foods and two celebration meals a week).

Keep this in mind as your point of healthy-diet reference, and use it as your safety back-up if you are under threat of regaining weight.

Pick one day a week - for the rest of your life - when you eat nothing but protein. This is the key that allows you to eat normally for the other six days of the week without putting any weight back on. (Drink at least two litres of water to flush the digestive system and reduce its craving for food)

Make a vow to walk (briskly) for 20 minutes every day, and never take a lift or step on an escalator. Going up or down the stairs makes the body's largest muscles contract and, in a short time, uses up considerable calories.

Increase your daily oat bran intake to 3tbsp and stick to it for life.

Low-Carb Snack Suggestions

1. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups

Cut one part-skim mozzarella cheese stick in half lengthwise. Roll about 1 ounce of sliced roasted turkey breast around half of a part skim mozzarella cheese stick and repeat with the remaining cheese and turkey to make a total of two roll-ups.

2. Side Salad Topped with a Hard-Boiled Egg or Avocado

Top a typical side salad with a hard-boiled egg or 1/4 chopped avocado, drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette.

3. Large Artichoke

Cut artichoke in half (from the stem to the tip) and cut out the inedible thistle part of the center of the artichoke. Place in microwave-safe, covered container with 1/2 cup water and cook on high until tender throughout (about 6 minutes for one artichoke or 10 minutes for two). Enjoy with lemon juice or 2 teaspoons of canola oil or olive oil mayonnaise.

4. Avocado and Shrimp Cocktail

Toss 2 ounces of cooked thawed shrimp with 1/4 avocado (chopped) and a tablespoon of cocktail sauce.

5. Typical fast-food Caesar salad with grilled chicken (no dressing)

6. Peanut Butter & Celery Sticks

Serve 3 celery stalks with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter.

7. A Handful of Nuts

A handful, depending on the size of the hand, can be the ideal snack portion: a quarter cup. You can keep roasted, unsalted mixed nuts on hand or choose any variation of nuts.

8. Edamame Bowl

A super-convenient way to enjoy high protein soybeans as a snack is to put 3/4 cup of frozen, shelled edamame into a microwave-safe bowl and micro-cook them for a few minutes or until nice and hot. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

9. Carrot Sticks and Hummus

Cut one large carrot into sticks or coins and serve with 1/4-cup hummus.

10. Soy Latte (iced or hot)

Blend a cup of light soymilk with a shot or two (1/8 to 1/4 cup) of espresso or triple-strength coffee (decaf if you're sensitive to caffeine). Serve over or blend with 3/4 cup crushed ice for an iced soy latte.

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