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The Dukan Diet plan

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

What is the Dukan Diet plan?

The original Dukan diet is a complicated, rigid, high protein, no- carb/low-carb, four-phase diet that promotes rapid weight loss, created by French doctor Pierre Dukan over a decade ago.

The book about the diet claims to have helped 5 million French people lose weight.

The Duchess of Cambridge, singer Jennifer Lopez and model Giselle Bundchen are all reported to have followed the diet.

What you can eat during each phase

There is no weighing foods or counting calories when following this diet and protein is the centrepiece in all four phases, along with oat bran, lots of water and a 20-minute daily walk.

Phase 1: The 'Attack' phase, is quite simple: Eat all you want of 'animal' protein, along with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and 1.5 litres of water daily. That's it. Dieters can choose from 72 lean or low-fat meats (excluding pork and lamb), fish, poultry, eggs, soya and non-fat dairy.

Phase 2: The 'Cruise' phase builds on the 'Attack phase' foods, adding unlimited amounts of 28 non-starchy vegetables every other day, along with 2 tablespoons of oat bran. Commonly eaten vegetables like carrots, peas, sweetcorn and potatoes are not on this list of vegetables, but appear in the next phase. The 'non-starchy' vegetables have been chosen for their 'nutritional diversity' to supply vitamins, minerals and fibre. The diet recommends that for some, vegetables are not included every other day, but up to five days on, five days off.

Phase 3: The 'Consolidation' stage is the stage between 'strictness and spontaneity', and uses 'Nutritional Stairs' to add 'fun' foods back to the diet. The consolidation stage allows unlimited protein, vegetables, one piece of low-sugar fruit, two slices of wholegrain bread, and 40g of hard cheese each day. Previously forbidden pork and lamb can now be included - but only once a week. In addition, grapes, figs, cherries and bananas remain excluded from the diet. Dieters can add 1-2 servings of starchy foods and 1-2 'celebration' meals (in which you can eat whatever you want) each week during this phase. In this phase, you begin the lifetime commitment of eating the core diet of pure protein one day each week, preferably the same day. This stage is claimed to allow you to 'maintain your True Weight, permanently'.

Phase 4: The final 'Stabilisation' stage, is the maintenance portion of the plan. The author promises you can eat whatever you like without regaining weight if you follow his rules - 3 tablespoons of oat bran daily, a 'Pure Protein Thursday' when only protein foods are eaten, walk for 20 minutes daily and never take lifts or escalators. The website recommends you continue with online coaching to ensure weight loss is permanent.

Sugar-free gum, artificial sweeteners, vinegars and spices are allowed on The Dukan Diet. The book encourages dieters to take a daily multivitamin tablet with minerals.

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