Updated for 2017
The Dukan Diet: Kate Middleton's Secret
Have you ever wondered:
How is Kate Middleton so impossibly skinny?
Never mind that the Buckingham Palace princess used to be a model. She obviously knows the tricks to losing weight and staying thin.
Since we all deserve to be skinny and fabulous, the editors at SkinnyBitch sought out the details of this diet and we're sharing them with you.
The best part:
It has no calorie restrictions.
Most Americans have never heard of the Dukan Diet, yet it’s one of the most popular and reliable diets in Europe.
It’s based on 100 foods that you can eat without counting calories.
If you're ready to skip this article and go straight to the book, you can get it here.
The Dukan Diet in a Nutshell
- You get 100 foods to eat with no calorie counting
- The diet has 4 phases that start strict and become more relaxed
- High protein consumption keeps you full and fights food cravings
- Low carbs mobilize fat to be used for energy
- You get cheat days after the first 2 phases
- Encourages lean muscle growth and fat loss to firm your body
- Designed to prevent future fat gain
When you're full, you eat less
A weight loss diet is designed to do one thing:
Lose body fat.
In the short term body fat affects our self image and personal confidence.
When you look good...
...you feel good.
You are the only one who can lose the weight.
And we’re here to provide you the tools.
In a Dukan Diet study, 1525 people lost an average of 15.7 pounds only half way through the diet...
...imagine what you can do if you’re serious about getting results.
If this diet is speaking to you, feel free to bypass the article and just buy the book. It offers far more detail than we can provide here. Otherwise, read on...
In 2010, the French Institute of Public Opinion conducted an impressive study of the Dukan Diet. The results were unprecedented. Eight out of ten dieters achieved their true weight goal and dieters lost an average of 15.7 pounds after just the first two phases of the diet (there are four phases total). Click here for more.
But is it Realistic?
If you’re sick of being fat and ready to drop the extra pounds, the Dukan Diet may be the right fit for you.
The objective of the diet is to eat a lot of filling food that is nutrient rich, so you never feel like you’re starving.
You’ll feel full and satisfied every day on the Dukan Diet. Promise.
A path to being skinny and satisfied.
A note to vegans and vegetarians:
The Dukan Diet plan relies heavily on protein found in dairy and meat products as its weight loss strategy. You will follow specific guidelines on what you can and cannot consume. Vegetarians who eat fish have been able to complete a modified form of the Dukan Diet plan with great results. However, be prepared to eat a lot of fish, eggs and dairy products.
Vegans who choose not to eat any type of animal products are not well suited for the Dukan Diet. Some have found great results replacing all meats, fish, and poultry with tofu based products instead, but a vegan approach to Dukan is very challenging. Legumes, for example, are too starchy for the diet guidelines, and nuts contain too much fat for program. If you find a way to make this diet work as a vegan, we’d love to hear how you did it, so that we can share it with our other vegan readers.
If you’re gluten averse:
No problem. The Dukan diet is too. Because of the emphasis on reducing simple carbohydrates to burn fat, the Dukan is a favorite among our gluten-free skinnies.
What are the Main Rules?
The Dukan Diet has strict rules with what you can and cannot eat.
To make it a sure fired success and no brainer for weight loss...
Dr. Dukan developed a concise list of just over a 100 foods that are allowed in the plan.
Protein rich food comprise 68 of the items, leaving 32 in the vegetable category.
AND you can have cheat days.
If the Dukan Diet sounds familiar:
It is essentially the French version of a low carb/ high protein diet.
Now for the Bad News
While 80% of consumers have a strongly positive opinion of the Dukan Diet, not all experts agree.
With good reason, nutrition experts aren't fond of the first two phases of the diet because they are heavy on meat and scant on vegetables. Without it, things get backed up and constipation ensues.
What about the toxins?
When you lose fat, adipose tissue breaks down and releases toxins that need to be flushed out.
When you're constipated...
...your body's natural system for removing toxins is halted and they remain inside you. You can avoid this problem with a natural laxative.
What's with the Unlimited Dairy???
The diet permits all the non-fat dairy you want to eat. Some argue that the chemical intensive process of removing fat from dairy is reason enough to avoid fat free food.
We tend to agree:
A collection of 25 studies shows that people who eat full fat are much better off than those who eat non-fat. The full fat group had lower body weight, less weight gain and were at a lower risk of becoming obese.
And the worst part:
Long-term exposure to chemicals such as aspartame significantly damages your ability to determine when you are full, making it much more difficult to control your own weight. Saccharine has been widely linked to black-outs, seizures and brain damage. Acesulfame K is also present in most sugar-free gum and soft drinks. Avoid them all. It is wrong for an experienced nutritionist to be giving this dangerous advice. Rob Suchet
Artificial sweeteners are chemical compounds created in a laboratory. They do not occur in nature.
The Dukan Diet allows the use of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin.
An easy fix:
Don't use them when you do the Dukan. Actually, don't use them ever.
You can get all the benefits of the diet without taking the risks associated with chemical sweeteners.
What are Dieters Saying?
I lost 16 lbs and 6 dress sizes in a month and my husband lost 4 inches and 30lbs. A year later it's still off. My father and 3 friends who tried this diet all had similar success. Highly recommend it.
Although I haven’t kept the weight off like I had hoped, I am still very glad that I know how to follow this diet. When I follow it for brief periods, the weight comes off again and I feel much better after a few days on it. My advice is to never leave phase 3. There is a lot that can be eaten on that phase and I think it could be sustainable. Phase 4 is not sustainable for me.
I got really constipated and didnt poop for 3 days. I didnt lose any weight, but gained 3 pounds!!!! I struggled eating only meat and protein.
Maximize Weight Loss in 4 Phases:
The Dukan Diet runs through 4 phases that start out hard and get easier as you go.
1. The Attack Phase
This is the first step to getting skinny fast. It lasts 1-10 days, depending on your current body weight and height. This is the phase of the Dukan Diet in which you can gleefully expect to lose 10 pounds. How skinny you want to be will determine how long this phase will last. You basically eat as much lean protein as possible while consuming a 1.5 TBSP of oat bran and a minimum of 6-8 cups of water daily.
2. The Cruise Phase
2. The Cruise Phase – The attack phase of the Dukan Diet is considered to be the most difficult, leaving most people relieved to move onto the phase two. In the cruise phase, you will add as many non-starchy vegetables to your diet as you can eat, but only for every other day of the week. This can last a couple of weeks or a couple of months, depending on how overweight you are. As a general rule, lean protein will still be eaten daily, and your oat bran dosage as been increased to a half tablespoon.
3. The Consolidation Phase
3. The Consolidation Phase – In phase 3 of the Dukan Diet, you’ll be able to add more food varieties into your nutrition plan. Every pound of fat you lost equals 5 days of being able to eat veggies every day, two slices of whole grain bread, a tasty piece of fruit, and you can even have one or two celebration meals containing whatever you want from the Dukan Diet approved food list.
4. The Stabilization Phase
4. The Stabilization Phase – In phase 4 of the Dukan Diet, and you’ll be left with having to maintain your new skinny body to prevent fat gains from coming back. You get to eat whatever foods you like from Dr Dukan’s approved food list. The only exception is that one day out of the week you follow the “Attack” phase instead with 3 TBSP’s of oat bran added into your food consumption.
Some other things allowed into the Dukan diet:
Spices, artificial sweeteners, and even alcohol on occasion. Coffee and tea are also allowed--sans sugar and creamer.
What Foods are Allowed in the Dukan Diet?
As mentioned, a short list of 100 foods are what allow you to lose weight on this diet.
The most important being lean meats, poultry, and cheese.
In addition to meat, eggs have plenty of supporting nutrients to keep your body health and can be found for pretty cheap.
Tofu makes a great protein add-on because it usually contains 14 grams of protein per serving.
Cauliflower, spinach, and lettuce are some examples of the low starch vegetables that work on Dukan.
Starchy vegetables and legumes must be avoided during the first phase of the diet.
From there you have to keep the consumption to a minimum.
DUKAN DIET FOOD LIST: PROTEIN
Beef tenderloin, Filet Mignon, Buffalo, very lean ham , extra-lean Kosher beef hot dogs, center-cut pork chops , slices of roast beef, pork tenderloin, pork loin roast, low fat bacon, flank steak, sirloin, London broil, veal chops, veal scaloppini, venison
Chicken, chicken liver, cornish game hen, turkey and chicken sausage, deli slices of chicken or turkey, ostrich, quail, turkey, duck
Arctic char, catfish, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, Mahi Mahi, monkfish, orange roughy, perch, red snapper, salmon, sardines (fresh or canned in water), sea bass, shark, sole , surimi, swordfish, tilapia, trout, tuna (fresh or canned in water)
Clams, crab, crawfish, crayfish, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters, scalops, shrimp, squid
Plant Based Protein
Seitan, soy based foods, veggie burgers, tofu, tempeh,
Eggs + Fat Free Dairy
Chicken, quail and duck, eggs
Cream cheese, cottage cheese, milk, plain Greek yogurt, ricotta and sour cream
DUKAN DIET FOOD LIST: VEGETABLES
Artichoke - Asparagus – Bean sprouts - Beet - Broccoli - Brussels sprouts - Cabbage - Carrot - Cauliflower - Celery - Cucumber - Eggplant - Endive - Fennel - Green beans – Kale – Lettuce, arugula, radicchio – Mushrooms – Okra – Onions, leeks, shallots – Palm Hearts - Peppers – Pumpkin - Radishes – Rhubarb - Spaghetti squash - Squash - Spinach – Tomato – Turnip – Watercress – Zucchini
Exercise: the part where you move your body
Nutrition accounts for around 70% of why you lose weight and increase lean muscle mass on any given diet, including Dukan. The other 30% relies on exercise. You don’t need a massive exercise regimen to increase your metabolism and drop weight on the Dukan. Moderate exercise will do. Walking 20 minutes a day (or a similar form of exercise) will have a noticeable impact. It’s quite possible to be skinny and healthy without spending 5 days a week at the gym—or any day of the week for that matter.
While you are burning fat through dieting in phase 1 (the attack phase), your body will need physical exercise that elevates your heart rate and stimulates your metabolism. This process will expand your possible weight loss and help you get skinny faster. You’re also going to feel great and full of confidence knowing that you’re on the path to a skinny life.
In phase one (the attack phase), your body will be limited in the amount of energy you have to use for exercise. To overcome this, you need only do a 20 minute walk daily to keep the fat burning process well-lit.
Once you move to the advanced phases, you’ll have more energy to use for exercise. In phase two (cruise phase), you need to up your exercise to 30-60 every single day. After phase two, you will be able to maintain your new skinny figure on a mere 20-25 minutes of exercise a day.
The Science Behind the Dukan Diet
Dr. Dukan had enough experience with his weight loss patients to modify the diet for those who needed more protein to feel full. If you can relate to that feeling, the Dukan Diet was designed just for you.
The diet is not right for everyone, but for some, it’s the ticket to weight loss. Most carbs we eat are simple carbs that make us fat. They’re full of sugars and empty calories that don’t provide meaningful nutrition, which leave us unsatisfied and quick to get hungry.
Counting calories isn’t the key to weight loss. Protein is. It’s a weight-loss powerhouse – it’s filling, takes time and work to digest, and has very few calories for each gram of food compared to carb-heavy foods. When protein supplies the majority of a diet, and fats and carbs are all but squeezed out, fast weight loss ensues. (Limiting carbs, the body’s preferred energy source, forces the body to turn to an alternative fuel – stored fat.) US News and World Report
The high protein aspect of the Dukan Diet prevents you from eating too many foods, but that is not all it does:
Protein-rich foods are hard for your stomach to digest quickly.
That means you have food in your stomach longer and feel full longer. You also burn more fat and calories during the extended digestion process. Foods high in protein tend to have lower amounts of calories per gram, yet make us feel full. Piece it all together and you have a results oriented diet plan that increases fat loss and prevents it from ever returning.
You can find much more information in Dr. Dukan's book.