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Physicians and SUCCESS magazine columnists Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen have reservations about the Dukan diet that some celebrities have touted. Here’s what the docs say about it:
The Dukan diet is a four-phase, high-protein, low-calorie diet plan. There's no weighing foods or counting calories. You eat as much as you want at any time of day—as long as what you’re eating is lean protein, at least initially.
In fact, protein is the centerpiece in all four phases, along with oat bran, lots of water and a 20-minute daily walk. Vegetables are allowed in the second stage, followed by small amounts of fruit and whole grains.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
Phase 1 The Attack Phase
This phase lasts one to 10 days depending on how much weight you have to lose (around a week for people who have to lose about 25 pounds). During the attack phase, there are no calorie restrictions. Your diet consists mainly of lean protein and allows virtually no carbohydrates. Your meals also include fat-free dairy products and the “secret weapon” of the diet: oat bran. Proponents of Dukan maintain that 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day allow people to feel fuller while the fiber efficiently cleans out their systems.
Phase 2 The Cruise Phase
During this phase, you continue to eat foods from Phase 1 (lean proteins, fat-free dairy and oat bran), only now you add non-starchy vegetables every other day. You maintain this phase until you reach your target weight.
Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase
Pierre Dukan, M.D., the creator of this diet, maintains that this phase is where the Dukan Diet sets itself apart from the competition. The Consolidation Phase focuses on returning carbohydrates to the diet. Additionally, you can have two “celebration meals” a week where you can eat anything you want—but no bingeing on a regular basis. One day a week, you eat only lean protein.
Phase 4: The Stabilization Phase
The final phase of this diet focuses on applying the three rules to live by:
- One day a week, just eat protein. It must be the same day each week.
- Eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day for the rest of your life.
- Never take elevators or escalators. Walk 20 minutes a day.
On the plus side, the Dukan Diet gives you long-term management skills and generous flexibility with fruits and some carbohydrates. It’s not perfect, though. The saturated fat in animal-based protein turns on genes that cause inflammation and promote heart disease and cancer. If you can follow the Dukan diet and use only healthy protein—salmon and trout, skinless poultry, nuts and legumes and quinoa and chia for protein, and it works for you—great!
Otherwise stick with the plan in YOU: On A Diet, The Owner’s Manual to Waist Management (a shameless plug for our book—available at libraries as well as bookstores—which contains plenty of recipes and meal suggestions when eating in or out). We also suggest you use the diet and exercise plan that we coach at EnforcerECoaching.com.
Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., is a professor and vice chairman of surgery, as well as director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Integrated Medical Center at New York’s Presbyterian-Columbia University. He hosts The Dr. Oz Show. Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is a professor of internal medicine and anesthesiology, and chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.