FAQ

Allowed Foods & Beverages

Effects of the Diet

  • Since I have been on the Dukan Diet, I have had a hard time falling asleep. Do you have any advice for me?

    There is not an immediate link between the Dukan Diet and insomnia but from time to time, we do hear about trouble sleeping associated with a change in diet. The most common cause is consumption of tea, coffee, or other caffeinated beverages. Now that you are consuming less carbohydrates, your body becomes more responsive to caffeine. We would suggest that you cut down on your caffeine intake. You can get the decaffeinated versions instead if you are craving the taste. We also advise against drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening or late in the day. Please note that unless indicated otherwise, tea contains just as much caffeine as coffee, especially green tea.
  • I am experiencing muscle cramps during the diet, what can I do to ease this discomfort?

    Muscle cramps may be a sign of lack of potassium in your system. You can add a bit more Celtic Sea Salt in your diet to alleviate this or focus a bit more on consuming Dukan Diet allowed foods that are high in potassium.
  • I'm constipated, what can I do to help this?

    Constipation is likely to happen during the Attack Phase because proteins absorb water. If the initial constipation bothers you, add 1 tablespoon of wheat bran or natural psyllium fiber to your diet. You must drink as much water as is recommended because water will make you urinate and also soften your stool, which improves intestinal contraction and digestion. If you are experiencing very serious constipation, please see your pharmacist or physician for advice. We do not recommend taking a laxative because they are aggressive on the body.
  • I have diarrhea since I started the diet. What are the causes?

    Diarrhea is a possible side-effect of Dukan Diet but is typically not due to the diet itself but rather to the foods you are now consuming that you may not have eaten as much of before dieting. You may have eaten something in particular that is causing this. Look at your eating habits - are you perhaps now consuming more milk products than you have before? Could you be lactose intolerant? Or it could be a combination of foods that is causing it. Artificial sweeteners have been known to cause diarrhea as well as some sugar-free gum. Please consider your menu and what did you eat differently now that may be causing your diarrhea.

Exercise

Dietary Restrictions

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Stagnation

Supplements

Coaching

Medical Issues

Athletes

  • I'm an athlete and need to lose a few pounds.

    Protein helps build muscle and prevents you from losing it. You can compensate for the needed extra energy by eating more nonfat dairy, carrots, beets or oat bran as these have naturally occurring sugars. You should also take care to drink enough water and replenish your electrolytes by eating potassium rich foods that are allowed in the diet. Your weight loss may be slower because of the particular modifications that have been made.

Cheating

  • I cheated. What should I do now?

    The Dukan Diet is a very forgiving diet. If you find that you cheated a little, you should continue the next day with whatever is on your plan (be it proteins or vegetable and proteins). Do understand that your weight loss may slow down for a short period of time as a result. If you have been cheating badly and often, do a few extra pure protein days to help you get back on track in the program and get rid of excess water weight.
  • I have cheated while on Cruise Phase of the diet, what can I do to get back on track?

    In order to get back on track with the diet you simply add one more day of eating nothing but pure protein. If you've cheated more than one day you simply compensate with 2 more days of pure protein and exercises.

Following the Diet

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Women's Issues

  • How does taking hormones (such as birth-control pills) affect the Dukan Diet?

    Taking hormones (estrogen, for instance) always has a direct effect on weight loss.
  • I am breast feeding. Can I start the Dukan Diet now?

    No. In this case your baby has absolute priority. We do not recommend to follow the diet while breast feeding. After having given birth and having stopped breast feeding the Dukan method is a great way to get rid of the extra pounds.

  • Menstruation

    Menstruation can cause water retention, which is normal. Drink more water and wait until your period is over. Afterward, the weight loss will return. You can also consult your physician about taking vegetable-based diuretics to counter water retention during this time.
  • Menopause

    If you are currently in menopause, the hormonal imbalance you are experiencing will alter your rate of weight loss. Consult with your physician on what you can take to help smooth out this effect.

Method

  • Are nutritional supplements necessary while I’m on the diet?

    Unless you suffer from a deficiency in something prior to starting your diet, no. It is important, however, to eat enough vegetables once these are allowed again on PV days in the cruise phase and to vary your intake of approved, all-you-can-eat foods.
    If you don’t eat enough vegetables on PV days, ask your pharmacist for a multivitamin supplement or try our Vitaminans supplement, available for purchase in our online shop.
    If you are deficient in certain vitamins prior to starting, yes, more than likely. Ask your doctor for advice.


  • Can the Dukan Diet be followed for life, with the constant monitoring that entails?

    The Dukan Diet must be followed for a specific length of time (based on True Weight calculations) to reach and maintain your True Weight. The health benefits of the diet can only be enjoyed by following through completely, which is possible thanks to the ‘no frustration’ nature of the method. The diet must not become the only way you eat. As you make it through the different phases, you’ll identify vital nutrients and foods and the ‘toxic’ things to cut down on. After stabilising your True Weight, three simple, life-long steps will help you keep the weight off forever.


  • How do the Dukan Diet and Atkins Diet differ?

    The Atkins Diet allows the controlled intake of carbohydrates and fats during the weight loss phase. Limited carb intake (via pulses in particular) requires knowledge of the carb content of foods and constant measurement and portion sizing. The Dukan Diet, in contrast, lets you eat certain foods in unlimited quantities with no need to count, and is divided into a four-phase structure: two phases for weight loss and two to consolidate and stabilise your new weight effectively, durably, free of constraints. The revised Atkins Diet released in 2011 is also based on a four-phase structure.


  • How can I lose weight if I eat as much as I want?

    Several scientific studies have proven how effective protein is in fighting excess weight. By sticking to the Dukan Diet’s list of 100 approved and unlimited foods that are rich in protein, low in fat, and fill you up, you can shed extra pounds quickly, effectively and without depriving yourself.
    The method ensures a balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure which consistently promotes weight loss.  Lean body mass is maintained while excess fat is burned.

  • The Dukan Diet is a rapid weight loss method. Is there a yo-yo effect?

    The Dukan Diet does starts with the spectacular attack phase and cruise phrase which guide you towards your True Weight. Once you reach your True Weight, two well-structured phases follow which prevent a yo-yo effect. In the consolidation phase, slightly more energy-rich food is re-introduced as part of a balanced and varied diet. The permanent stabilisation phase is a life-long, sensible, three-step routine which, if followed properly, allows you to stay close to your True Weight.

  • Why does the Dukan Diet work?

    The Dukan Diet works for six excellent reasons. It’s a universal and natural method based on 100 foods (72 protein and 28 vegetable sources) dieters can eat in unlimited quantities. As a filling food, protein optimises fast and effective weight loss without having to say ‘no’. Pierre Dukan’s weight loss programme is divided into four easy-to-manage Phases: attack, cruise, consolidation and permanent stabilisation.

  • Do I have to do the Pure Protein (PP) day (during the consolidation and stabilisation phases) on Thursday, or can I pick another day of the week?

    Theoretically, no. Stick to Thursday, both in good times and especially in bad, when everything feels grim. The great majority of mishaps and relapses occur at times like this. If absolutely necessary, switch your PP day to another day of the week, but don’t eliminate it entirely. It’s incredible what one productive day can do to override a lapse in nutritional judgement; what strong willpower one day can do to prevent weakness another.


  • Can the attack phase be extended to lose more weight?

    Extending the attack phase for more than six days without consulting your doctor is not recommended, even if you wish to lose weight quickly. You won’t lose more weight in the long run, and may tire yourself out, lose patience and, in extreme cases, create deficiencies. Dieting is a serious decision – ask your doctor for help.

  • How much weight can be lost with the Dukan Diet?

    The answer depends on your profile, weight loss history and genes. Use the True Weight Calculator to find out how much you could sensibly lose. Our goal is not to chain you to an obsessive weight loss goal, but to help you attain your True Weight, which is the weight you can most easily maintain without unrealistic daily efforts or the need to deprive yourself.

Oat bran

  • Can I eat oat bran several times a day?

    Theoretically, no. During the attack phase and the cruise phase until you reach your True Weight, stick to the recommended intake: 1 ½ tablespoons of oat bran in the attack phase, and 2 tablespoons in the cruise phase. Make sure you don’t eat more than 3 tablespoons per day. One tablespoon per day is not only permitted, it’s strongly encouraged. This is the amount needed to help you lose weight, both by controlling your appetite and by flushing a few calories out of your system on a regular basis. This is enough during the weight loss phase – don’t expect anything else. During consolidation, eat 2 ½ tablespoons per day. Oat bran is a pillar of the stabilisation phase for weight maintenance – 3 tablespoons should be eaten daily. Once you enter the stabilisation phase, however, you can eat more than that if hungry. You can also up your intake to 3 tablespoons in any phase if you suffer from constipation. Oat bran is a natural food. If you are on medication, spread your oat bran consumption over the day and take your medication at a different time, as the bran will slow the absorption of ingested food and the medicine mixed in with it.

    For more information, read our full report on oat bran. Dukan oat bran can be purchased in our online shop.


  • What is the best time of day to eat oat bran?

    Hungry in the morning? Use oat bran to make pancakes or porridge for a filling and delicious breakfast. 
    Don’t have time to make a full meal? Looking for a lunch on the go? Make a Dukan sandwich with a large oat bran  pancake add smoked fish, lean, trimmed ham, or bresaola.
    If you enjoy a mid-afternoon snack, try to have it at 5 pm.
    Looking for a healthy, post-supper snack that doesn’t break the sugar bank? Try an oat bran pancake made with unsweetened, low-fat cocoa powder.
    For more information, read our full report on oat bran. Dukan oat bran can be purchased in our online shop where you also find many delicious recepies.

  • Can I take a birth-control pill simultaneously with oat bran?

    It all depends on the amount of oat bran eaten.
    - One or two spoonfuls of bran won’t make your pill less effective, even low-dose pills. In this case, you can take both at the same time.
    - If you eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran and are taking a mini pill, take them separately: oat bran in the morning and your pill in the evening, for example.
    - If you are taking a combination pill, there’s no problem mixing the two. Oat bran is usually found in health food shops and can also be purchased on the internet.

    For more information, read our full report on oat bran. Dukan oat bran can be purchased in our online shop.


  • What are the benefits of oat bran?

    Oat bran provides a long-lasting feeling of fullness. It absorbs calories in the small intestine, reduces sugar and fat absorption and eliminates them in the stool. The ‘cutback’ in calories, while not huge, is ongoing. Oat bran can have positive effects on cholesterol and diabetes and promotes regularity. For more information, read our full report on oat bran. Dukan oat bran can be purchased in our online shop.


Dietary guidelines

  • I'm lapsing on my diet, what to do?

    Summer time, like every year, brings the opportunity to enjoy the long weekends and with them many opportunities to indulge in BBQs, outdoor parties and picnics. 

    I understand that these numerous occasions, as enjoyable as they are, are risks for you to succumb to temptation. 

    There are two major findings, first, you have made a lapse that made you regain the weight and the second you feel guilty and this lapse created an urge to eat certain foods that may have been forgotten while you were dieting. 

    If you are following the diet, the impact will be a little more important and you must be careful not to lapse during the week. 

    Regarding alcohol you can consume an alcoholic drink during your celebration meal.   

    If you can, try to anticipate eating a hearty meal in order to be less hungry at mealtimes. Some good suggestions include flavourful cheeses which can be satiating / filling. 

    You can offer your friends to bring an appetizer salad by providing surimi or peeled shrimp dressed in Dukan mayonnaise. 

    In addition to anticipating the excess you will have to think about the response by practicing cardiovascular activity like jogging the next day. Jogging 40 minutes is ideal to compensate for excess. 

    Above all, do not feel guilty, it is useless, it increases stress and this is not good for the diet.


  • Can I eat carrots and beets while on the diet? If so, how much?

    Yes, in moderation: 200g a week of each vegetable. Carrots and beets are known for their sugar content. They actually contain less than we think, but the simple sugars they do have are quickly absorbed in the body, particularly those in cooked carrots. Try to avoid the latter if you tend to eat too many or too often, or if you’re going through a stagnation period. Always choose raw, grated carrots over cooked ones: when raw, the sugar in carrots is absorbed more slowly.

  • What should sugar be replaced with?

    Instead of sugar, you can use artificial sweeteners like splenda or natural sweeteners like Stevia.
    Note: Sugar can cause excess weight gain and even addiction.

  • Why can’t I lose more weight by skipping meals?

    Why skip a meal while following a diet that allows you to eat as much as you want from a choice of 100 different foods? Skipping meals is counterproductive and should be avoided whether you’re on a diet or not.
    - If you skip lunch, there’s a good chance you’ll be starving by 5 pm – at which time it’s very tough to choose a healthy snack option.
    - If you manage to last until dinner, you’re likely to eat more than you would normally and expose yourself to greater risk. Your body will penalise you by optimising its use of the food you consume and stocking as many calories as possible as insurance against another possible ‘fast’.
    Skipping a meal is a sure way to gain weight. You may not have time to make a real, full meal, but you can certainly shake a cup of fat-free yoghurt and drink it right from the container, or pick up a few slices of trimmed, low-fat ham at the grocer’s.

  • Can a have an occasional drink while on the diet?

    Alcohol is not allowed during the weight-loss focused attack and cruise phases of the Dukan Diet, as a small quantity contains a high amount of empty calories. Once you have reached your True Weight, you can drink one unit of alcohol as part of a celebration meal in the consolidation phase. Stick to your guns and try something on the approved beverage list.

  • Must I eat red meat?

    There is no obligation whatsoever to eat red meat. Eat what you most fancy from the list of 72 protein sources that are allowed in unlimited amounts, including fish, eggs, fat-free dairy, shell fish, poultry and lean, trimmed ham. The important thing is to vary your meals as much as possible.

  • Is it normal to gain back a little weight when I start eating vegetables again?

    It can happen, but these extra pounds will drop off as quickly as they appeared on the scale. On a Pure Protein day, water is flushed out of the body by proteins, which are water repellent. On the scale, you notice a significant drop in lost fat tissue and water, which is good for your ego. On a Protein + Vegetable day, you add water and mineral salts, which slow down that flushing action. Weight loss continues but at a slightly slower pace than on a PP day. On the scale, it feels like you’re stuck. But once back on the pure proteins, you’ll eliminate water and weight once again, and the scale will give you a better reading. If you go through this phase, don’t lose heart! The results are worth the ‘weight’!

  • Can I eat as many eggs as I like?

    -          If you don’t have a cholesterol problem, you can eat one egg yolk per day. Egg whites can be eaten as often as you like, as they don’t contain cholesterol.

    -          If you have high cholesterol, don’t eat more than two egg yolks per week.  Concentrate on egg whites, even when making Dukan recipes.

  • How can I follow the diet on a tight budget? Eating proteins – meat, in particular – is pricey.

    The price of lean red meat has skyrocketed recently, but you can opt for more affordable proteins instead, such as eggs, non-fat dairy products, chicken and frozen fish. Try buying fresh meat from your local butcher or frozen dishes at the grocer’s. Buy in bulk and clip your coupons. Keep in mind that money you spend now is little compared with the medical cost of dealing with obesity.

  • What beverages are allowed as part of the diet?

    Anything that doesn’t contain sugar or alcohol, including still and sparkling water, tea, herbal and fruit teas, coffee and diet soft drinks that contain less than 1 calorie per 7 oz serving.

  • Can I really eat as much as I want from the list of 100 approved foods?

    Yes. You never need to measure what you eat on the Dukan Diet. Any approved food can be eaten in unlimited quantities. “Unlimited” means “until you’re full”. The diet is designed to help you re-establish healthy eating habits and listen to your feelings of hunger and fullness.

Your health

  • How can I quit smoking and follow a diet without feeling overwhelmed?

    Quitting smoking is so important for your health and well-being that it should be given utmost priority over a diet. Doing both at the same time – successfully – is possible but more difficult. You must quit smoking entirely for ten days before starting the diet. On the 11th day, you can target weight loss as well. To avoid excessive cravings on both fronts, make the most of one of the Dukan Diet’s best features, the 100 approved foods list, by eating as much as you want from it and by varying your snacks and meals. Be creative and willing to spend a bit more time in the kitchen. Herbs and spices can be used in everything; try a diet fizzy drink if you’re thirsty. Drink a lot of tea – the caffeine is a helpful substitute for nicotine. Remember your oat bran as well, and double the daily dose if needed to make galettes, pancakes and blintzes. Lastly, ask your doctor for help. Certain products can reduce the urge to light up, and nicotine patches can help manage withdrawal. A final tip: try an aromatherapy inhaler, like our anti-smoking ‘logado’, available in the online Dukan shop.

  • How can I get a slimmer tummy and hips without altering my breasts?

    There is no way to lose weight without it affecting your chest. It all depends on your current cup size and what it contains – mammary gland or fat. If you lose weight easily in your breasts, it means the tissue contains more fat than mammary gland. The opposite is true for thighs. Your body loves your saddle bags and will spend its last ounce of energy to keep them. If you simply diet, you’ll drop a lot from the top but much less from your lower half, throwing your figure off kilter. From a medical perspective, you can do two things to improve lower body slimming: take Centella Asiatica (a nutritional supplement) and exercise regularly. Your doctor alone can give you the advice and help you need. As a last resort, cosmetic surgery can even out your top and bottom, but it is a costly and invasive solution that can be considered a year and a half after you finish your diet.

  • I have a thyroid problem. Can I still do the diet?

    Thyroid problems can contribute to weight gain. An underactive thyroid can be treated using levothyroxine in accurate doses to ensure the same functioning as a healthy thyroid. Regular TSH tests with your doctor or endocrinologist will confirm whether your treatment is right for you.

  • How can the Dukan Diet help me get rid of cellulite?

    No weight loss programme can eliminate cellulite but high-protein ones are water-repellent and flush water from the body. This type of diet, which cuts out alcohol and cooked oils, also includes the least amount of toxins. The Dukan Diet is an example.  Cellulite is hereditary and caused by an increased sensitivity to oestrogen. If your cellulite is the result of an oestrogen sensitivity, talk to your gynaecologist about reducing your oestrogen levels if necessary. Aside from surgery and liposuction, the only viable medical solution is mesotherapy in combination with the diet. One truly effective plant is the Centella Asiatica, no doubt the only substance which works well enough locally to reduce thigh and knee volume irrespectively of weight. Ultimately, the best way to treat cellulite is to prevent it. Follow these two rules: avoid weight gain the week before your period begins, since this weight is likely to become cellulite, and, above all, engage in regular exercise.

  • Is it bad for my health to completely cut out complex carbohydrates and starches?

    No. Temporarily cutting out complex carbs is not a health risk. In fact, low-fat, low-sugar diets that are rich in protein promote healthy, safe weight loss. The Dukan Diet includes low-carb foods such as non-fat yoghurt and vegetables, which provide your body the energy it needs every day while optimising weight loss. When you reach the consolidation phase, complex carb sources like bread and starches (pasta, rice, etc.) are back on your plate in limited amounts.   

  • Is weight loss dangerous?

    Losing weight is a medical process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It requires a full check-up before starting and regular monitoring by one’s doctor. Weight loss programmes are not dangerous if they are sensible and based on scientifically proven results, provide appropriate support and do not constitute a permanent eating method. The Dukan Diet is such a plan.

  • Is the diet recommended by healthcare professionals?

    Yes, and for good reason: this weight loss programme was created by Pierre Dukan, a doctor and nutrition specialist with 45 years of experience in actively fighting overweight and obesity.  The diet is founded on the effectiveness of protein to shed excess weight, on a smart selection of foods that provide the body’s essential nutrients, and on regular physical activity. Scientific research has proven the accuracy and effectiveness of the Dukan Diet: three international clinical studies have been conducted since September 2011, one European study and one American study. Pierre Dukan has also worked with 32 doctors in all specialties who approve the diet, to create My Weight Book, a personalised, comprehensive weight loss plan which understands and treats weight conditions based on each person’s unique needs.

  • What are the possible side effects?

    -           Constipation: an exclusively protein-based diet in the attack phase may contribute slightly to a bout of constipation. This is linked to a reduced intake of fibre and fats which play an active role in lubricating stool and ensuring your bowels move properly. Constipation can be avoided by drinking 2 L of water per day and doing a few abdominal crunches when you wake up in the morning. Your daily dose of oat bran also helps: add a tablespoon of bran or a tablespoon of liquid paraffin to salad dressings.

    -           Bad breath: this is a common side effect of any high-protein diet. Burning off fatty acid reserves releases ketone bodies, which are eliminated through saliva in particular. Chew some sugar-free gum and drink water at regular intervals throughout the day.  This unpleasant effect will gradually disappear.

    -           Headaches: Again, this temporary side effect is common with any high-protein diet in which ketone bodies must be eliminated by the body. Drinking enough water (2L per day) and eating until you are full will gradually reduce these symptoms until they disappear altogether.

  • Is the Dukan Diet incompatible with certain medical conditions?

    Schedule a full check-up with your doctor before starting the diet. The diet should not be followed if you have any of the following conditions: past heart attack, heart disease, chemotherapy treatment for cancer(s), insulin-dependent diabetes, kidney failure, eating disorders, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Children and teenagers should not follow the diet.

Health controversy

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Online coaching

  • I’m undergoing hormone therapy to become pregnant. Can I sign up for coaching?

    If you are undergoing hormone therapy to start a family, you may gain weight during this time.
    This means vigilance is necessary if you haven’t yet conceived.
    If you do, you can continue your coaching programme for the first 15 days of your pregnancy, after which you’ll need to switch to Protein and Vegetable days only for the entire first month.
    From then on, you’ll need to follow a pregnancy-specific consolidation phase which we will help you with. Remember to always keep us updated so we can give you good advice. It’s best to take action right away, as hormones frequently cause weight gain.

  • Can vegetarians and vegans sign up for the coaching programme?

    Please note that the Dukan Diet does not include vegetarianism as a parameter, so our coaching programme does not offer special recipe ideas for vegetarians and vegans. Despite this, some vegetarians and vegans do still sign up and adjust their meals according to the guidelines set out below.
    While on the diet, you may choose not to eat some of the 100 unlimited foods but don’t exclude more than 18 vegetables or more than 32 of the non-vegetable protein options.
    Vegans can also follow the Dukan Diet by making sure they eat tofu, seitan, textured soy products, soy burgers and konjac, while vegetarians can add eggs (a ratio of 1 yolk to 3 whites) and a lot of non-fat dairy.
    In both cases, increase your oat bran intake to 4 tablespoons a day, along with two tablespoons of lentils (or any other kind of pulse) on Pure Protein days. On Protein and Vegetable days, give yourself the green light to choose your meals freely.

  • I have high cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels. Can I sign up for coaching?

    The Dukan coaching programme will help you improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels because the diet does not call for additional animal-sourced fats. Instead, it limits protein consumption to an (all-you-can-eat) list of 100 lean sources, including oily fish rich in Omega-3 acids which help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.
    Daily exercise also helps regulate cholesterol. Cutting out added sugar and alcohol will help you improve your triglyceride levels.

  • I have diabetes. Can I sign up for coaching?

    -          If you have type 2 diabetes and do not need to take insulin, then our coaching programme is for you. Moreover, losing weight with the Dukan Diet will help you tip the scale in your favour and improve your blood sugar levels.

    -          If you have type 1 diabetes and are insulin dependent, the Dukan Diet is incompatible with your need for a steady supply of complex carbohydrates to prevent spikes in insulin levels. Speak to your specialist about your weight loss options.

  • Can athletes (who run or play competitive sports, for example) sign up for Dukan coaching?