Is the Dukan diet a health risk? - The Sun

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AMANDA says: "In a nutshell, the Dukan Diet consists of four stages.

"Initially, on the Attack stage, you live on only protein-rich foods for up to ten days.

"The time you spend on this phase depends on how much weight you have to shed.

"In practice, the Attack phase involves having eggs for breakfast, fish for lunch and steak for dinner.

"This may sound a bit like the Atkins Diet but high-fat foods are not included in the Dukan.

"Other foods in the Attack phase are lean and skinless chicken, turkey, lean ham, seafoods such as crab and mussels, cottage cheese and skimmed milk.

"You must only cook these foods minus any added fat. But you can use spices, lemon, vinegar and soy sauce to season them.

"In addition you are told to have about two tablespoons of oat bran each day to get some fibre and at least 1½ litres of fluids such as water, tea, coffee and herbal teas.

"The Cruise stage is next, which involves adding unlimited amounts of certain vegetables every other day. This means that for breakfast on your 'veg day' you could have some spinach and mushrooms with your scrambled eggs, a vegetable soup followed by some grilled salmon and mange tout for lunch, then a chicken and vegetable casserole for dinner, although this would have to be made minus any fat such as oil or butter.

Weight loss ... Gisele, Katherine Jenkins and Carole Middleton

Weight loss ... Gisele, Katherine Jenkins and Carole Middleton


"Avocado, potatoes, sweetcorn, peas, baked beans and all fruit are not allowed.

"This one day on then one day off the pure-protein routine goes on until you reach your ideal weight.

"With losses of about two pounds a week, this could be quite a long time depending on how much you have to lose.

"If you make it to your goal weight without falling off the Dukan wagon, you can enter the Consolidation phase.

"This is when 'normal' foods — such as bread, breakfast cereals, fruit, pasta, rice, oils and butter along with the odd glass of alcohol — are gradually reintroduced.

"Follow the Consolidation phase for five days for every pound you have lost on the diet.

Meat of the matter ... at the beginning the Dukan diet only allows protein-rich foods such as steak

Meat of the matter ... at the beginning the Dukan diet only allows protein-rich foods such as steak

"If you have lost a stone, for example, which is 14 pounds, you stay on it for 70 days.

"Finally you move into a phase where it appears that you can virtually eat what you like on six days of the week, but have one protein-only day every week. Dukan suggests Thursdays.

"This should mean you do not regain the weight you have lost."

1. You will lose weight rapidly if you stick with it.

2. The diet is very simple once you get going.

1. The protein-only section of the diet can get boring and, rather crucially, is hard to stick with as a result.

2. Eating around three or four times your daily protein can put a strain on the kidneys. This can be a particular problem if you have an underlying kidney problem of which you are not aware.

Unbalanced ... diet consisting almost entirely of meat and fish can lead to deficiencies and constipation

Unbalanced ... diet consisting almost entirely of meat and fish can lead to deficiencies and constipation

3. In spite of the oat bran, daily fibre intakes are usually lower than targets, which can cause constipation, potentially along with too few B vitamins, through the lack of cereal-based foods.

4. Eating a protein-rich diet can be expensive.

5. In the ongoing phase of Dukan, it is unlikely you will maintain your new weight if you eat poorly for six days and just do one Dukan high-protein-only day a week.

6. The Dukan Diet can in no way be described as balanced and is certainly not what the nutritionist ordered. Although it does give rapid weight loss initially, in the long term, eating regular meals and having a balanced approach to your diet and fitness is how you will lose and keep weight off for good.

FITNESS expert Nicki Waterman says: "Walking is the form of exercise that is strongly encouraged within each phase of the Dukan Diet.

"You are expected to walk 20 to 30 minutes a day, depending on the phase you are in.

"The Dukan diet also includes several light strength-training exercises you can also incorporate into your daily routine.

"The diet recommends 20 minutes a day in the Attack phase, 30 minutes daily in the Cruise phase — increasing to an hour a day if your weight stagnates for more than a week — and 25 minutes a day in the Consolidation phase.

"In the final permanent phase, you must absolutely stick to 20 minutes a day. While I agree that walking is good for you, on the Dukan Diet the fact is your body can cope with very little other exercise.

"This is because cutting out carbohydrate-based foods and sticking with protein-rich ones strips your muscles' supply of energy (called glycogen).

"In theory, this is 'good' because it forces your body to burn fat stores for energy, but in practice it means that you end up feeling tired and unable to do any proper exercise.

"This in turn leads to a reduction in muscle tone and metabolic rate, so you end up burning fewer calories, which is a real own-goal for long-term weight management and general health and fitness."

FULL-time mum Olivia Turner (main picture) weighed 14st in July 2010.

After six months on the Dukan Diet, Olivia, 30, had slimmed down to 9st 10lb and has remained that weight since.

Olivia, who has two sons — Jack, ten, and eight-year-old Dylan — says: "My weight problem started when my dad died ten years ago. I suffered with severe post-natal depression as I'd just had Jack.

Before ... Olivia was 14st

Before ... Olivia was 14st

"I tried a variety of anti-depressants from the doctor but they actually exaggerated my weight problem.

"Nothing worked when I tried to lose weight. I heard about the Dukan Diet from a friend and it appealed to me because it was so simple to follow and I knew exactly what I could and couldn't eat.

"I used to eat lots of white, buttered toast for breakfast, crisps mid-morning and have a white bread sandwich with tuna and mayonnaise for lunch.

"It would be biscuits and crisps mid-afternoon then a huge pile of creamy pasta for dinner followed by cheese and biscuits before bed.

"When I tried the Dukan I was never hungry — though I wasn't eating the carbs I had before.

"The weight fell off and now I eat a normal, well-balanced diet."

After six months following the weight-loss part of the Dukan Diet, Olivia, from Bangor, Co Down, switched to the phase of introducing "normal" food.

Sun nutritionist Amanda says: "Olivia has done well to wean herself on to a healthy diet of yogurt and oat bran for breakfast, a wholemeal tuna salad sandwich minus mayonnaise for lunch and an evening meal of lean meat or fish with sensible servings of pasta or potatoes.

"She follows one 'protein-only' day a week. In the context of an otherwise balanced diet, this is unlikely to do her any harm and she feels that it keeps her on track and her weight stable."

Olivia started walking to keep herself trim but wants to up her fitness regime. She says: "I tried joining a gym but I didn't lose any weight and gave up.

"I walked for 30 minutes a day while on the diet, but now want to tone my whole body and get really fit, preferably while walking my two dogs."

Fitness expert Nicki says: "A simple but effective routine while walking the dogs is to walk for five minutes then go into a gentle jog for one minute.

"Olivia can do this every other day, followed at the end of the dog walking by some travelling lunges, aiming for ten to 20 reps on each leg.

"She can then find a bench or low wall and step up and down on it for 20 steps on each leg.

"After this she can place her hands on the wall or bench and hold a press-up position, keeping her body straight and her abs tight.

"Lifting alternate legs off the floor as she keeps her body still and repeating five to ten lifts on each leg makes this even more effective.

"Repeating this sequence and upping her pace over time will certainly get her fitter."

17 Oct, 2011

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