Don’t Believe Everything You Read About the Dukan Diet

I came across an article when carrying out some research a few days ago and thought it would make an interesting post.

What struck me was the (mis?)representation of the data.  The article was a Press Release by the interest group, the Calorie Control Council that represents the low-calorie and reduced- fat food and beverage industry.

The heading used for their Press Release was “Only Eight Percent Follow Restrictive Diets (e.g. Dukan, Atkins) or Weight Control Programs (e.g. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers)”

The problem with this is that the figure of those following a restrictive diet or a weight control program is more likely to be closer to 16%, as 8% of those surveyed  followed a restrictive diet and another 8% followed a weight control program.  It is unlikely that a person would be following both at the same time.

The chart to the left comes from the article and I found it very interesting, but one of the first things that struck me was that the figures don’t add up to 100%, so it is clear that those surveyed are using more than one method.

If you think about the Dukan Diet in particular, and put yourself in the position that you were answering the survey, you would quite probably answer yes to:

  • Cut down on Foods High in Sugar
  • Use Low-Cal, Reduced-Sugar, Sugar-Free Foods and Beverages
  • Combine Calorie Reduction with Exercise (but not calorie counting)
  • Chew Gum
  • as well as Follow a Restrictive Weight Loss Diet
  • You might also advise that you Exercise Moderately 45 minutes/ 3 times per week.

The article opens advising ” Despite all the recent hype, restrictive diets such as the Dukan Diet and Atkins – and dieting programs such as Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers – appear at the bottom of the list of popular weight control methods” and further into the article it states “The results of the CCC survey – of Americans aged 18 and over – are in contrast with much of the recent emphasis and news about royal diets (Kate Middleton’s Dukan diet, for instance, prior to the Royal Wedding) and celebrity dieting programs.”  What the article doesn’t point out until a little further on  is that their “survey was conducted in November-December 2010” which was prior to “much of the recent emphasis and news about royal diets” so it could hardly be expected to take this into account!  It was also well prior to the launch of the Dukan Diet in the US.

When you think that the article says that 54% of Americans are trying to lose weight and that 8% of that 54% were following a diet like the Dukan Diet, this means that over 4.3% of Americans were following a Restrictive Weight Loss Diet before the hype!  Of course I’ve got no idea whether the launch of the Dukan Diet and the Royal Wedding fever would have impacted on these results if the survey had been undertaken in April or May this year, but ignoring this, and just taking the figures as they stand, to me 4.3% of of Americans measures up to a very big number.



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