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The Dukan Diet: Secret to Weight Loss or Just a Fad?

As with all "fad" diets, it's important to understand the facts, outcomes and possible hazards before beginning any diet regime. One of the latest fad diets from France called the Dukan Diet has celebrities hailing its outcome. Everyone from Kate Middleton (ahem, Catherine, new Duchess of Cambridge) to Jennifer Lopez to Giselle Bundchen have reportedly turned to the Dukan Diet to lose weight, whether after a baby or before a royal wedding.

To understand all the hype, let's start by outlining the expectations while on the Dukan Diet. The diet first gained popularity in France years ago when it was created by nutritionist Pierre Dukan. There are four phases to the program.

Phase 1 - Attachment

In this phase, dieters are told to only eat lean protein. You can eat as much lean protein as you like - however, this is all you can eat in Phase 1, along with 1.5 tbsp. of oat bran and at least 1.5 liters of water per day. In Phase 1, you are not allowed to eat pork or lamb, but there are 72 lean protein options, including fish, poultry, eggs, non-fat dairy, and soy. In Phase 1, a participant may lose up to seven lbs. in five days, and the phase may last anywhere from 1 to 10 days.

Phase 2: Cruise Phase

This phase could last for weeks to months, depending on the amount of weight a person is looking to lose. The Cruise phase is the time during which participants lose most all the weight they want to lose. In Phase 2, participants can consume non-starchy vegetables (not including carrots, peas, corn, or potatoes) and lean protein The Dukan experts recommend a weight loss of no more than two lbs. per week in Phase 2.

Phase 3: Consolidation Phase

In Phase 3, participants begin to incorporate more foods into their diet, including unlimited protein (pork and lamb, too), one piece of low-sugar fruit, two slices of whole grain bread, and one portion of hard cheese. This phase is supposed to prepare participants to begin a lifetime commitment of eating the core diet, which includes pure protein one day a week for the rest of their lives.

Phase 4: Stabilization Phase

The "maintenance" phase.

As you can see, this diet is another fad diet, similar to the Atkins or South Beach diets. It comes under much scrutiny by nutrition professionals due to the many health hazards it presents. Restrictive diets that remove major food groups from our diets do nothing for us but deprive our bodies of necessary nutrients and calories. Other than presenting a nutrient deficiency, there are concerns about kidney problems and possible gall stones. Muscle loss is very common with calorie restrictive diets. Of course, a person will see weight loss, but only because she is reducing her daily caloric intake. Consequently, when a person loses weight too fast, she loses more than just fat. The body prefers carbohydrates for its fuel source, and it needs nutrients found in a healthy diet. For best results, combine proteins with whole grains, fruits & vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Eat well!!

Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at foodjunkie@nutritionnfitenss.com.


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