The Washington Post

Will you be doing the Dukan Diet?

If you read much diet and nutrition news, no doubt you've got wind of the Dukan Diet. The latest fashionable weight-loss scheme — this one from a French doctor — has been written up by folks at The New York Times, the L.A. Times and the Huffington Post, among other high-profile media.

Physician Pierre Dukan invented the diet just over a decade ago, and it's reportedly wildly popular in France. The first North American version of the book detailing the diet will be available April 19.

The diet's been likened to early versions of the Atkins because it relies so heavily on protein. Specifically, during the initial, "attack" phase geared toward rapid weight loss, you get to eat lean beef, veal, kidney, liver, beef tongue, skinless poultry (not duck or goose), fish, shellfish, low-fat ham, low-fat sliced chicken, eggs, nonfat dairy, plus noncaloric condiments, 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and at least 1.5 liters of water per day. You're supposed to stick with that for one to 10 days, depending on who you are and how much you lose.

At risk of oversimplifying, the Dukan diet has adherents move through four phases, including a second one in which vegetables are introduced (you're to alternate between protein-only days and those including vegetables) and a third in which food options are broadened as the weight is, in Dukan terms, consolidated, until they reach their weight-loss goal. Then they enter a "stabilization" phase, in which they're directed to eat as they please, so long as they go all-protein every Thursday and eat three tablespoons of oat bran daily.

Throughout, dieters are instructed to walk for at least 20 minutes a day. During the final phase, they're to act as though elevators and escalators do not exist.

I haven't tried the Dukan Diet; nor do I plan to. It probably works fine for some people, perhaps less well for others. It sounds kind of gimmicky to me, though the low-carb, high-protein approach to weight loss has plenty of support in science.

But here's the thing: I may not love vegetables, but I just can't see myself eating nothing but meat for days at a time, or even one day a week as per Dukan's stabilization phase.

No doubt many Americans, though, are eager to get their hands on the Dukan Diet. Are you among them? Do you know anyone who has tried the diet? Do you intend to try it yourself?


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