In Defence of the Dukan Diet
As a supporter of the Dukan Diet I do find the biased and negative press coverage a little galling and I know that Dr Dukan is mystified by, using his own term, the “aggressivity” against his eating plan.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has consistently criticised the Dukan Diet since the book was launched in the UK in May 2010 and in its latest attack it has placed the Dukan Diet at the top of their annual list of the five worst celebrity diets to avoid in the New Year. According to the Daily Mail their list is prepared from the hundreds of calls the BDA receives each year on the subject of diets, which they have then analysed to form a list of the most unreliable, difficult to follow or unhealthy diet plans. I did take a look at the BDA site to try to read their version of the article and I was unable to find the article or a copy of any press release. The latest press release on their site as at 27 November 2011 is dated 10 November 2011, so it would seem that they’ve not updated their site! So I took a look at last year’s press release for the diets to avoid in 2011 and it would seem that these telephone calls come from the media. What was also quite odd was that much of what the Daily Mail current article had published came from this old press release.
If this is true, it is hardly a scientific basis on which to rate any eating plan and the information in the Daily Mail article shows that the BDA have ranked the Dukan Diet as being worse than the Alcorexia diet, a diet which is very low in calories and which allows alcohol binges! Presumably this means that I could analyse the comments to my site to determine that the Dukan Diet is the very best celebrity diet to follow in 2012 but I wouldn’t make this claim because I know that the people commenting on my site are biased in favor of the Dukan Diet. Perhaps the BDA haven’t worked out that the media isn’t exactly impartial!
The inaccuracies about the Dukan Diet abound and the criticism from the BDA is based around the following statements
- “…promotes weight loss of around 7lb per week..”
Whilst larger amounts of weight are lost in the Attack Phase to quote from my copy of the UK Dukan Diet book Dr Dukan states ” experience has shown that one can expect to lose around two pounds a week.”
- “This diet is so confusing, very rigid, full of very French foods that most Brits would run a mile from like rabbit and offal…”
While I would agree that some parts of the diet can be a little confusing, the yogurt issues springs to mind, it is the rigidity which makes it easy to follow. It is laughable to say that the 100 foods are full of very French foods that the British don’t eat – perhaps they’ve never eaten steak and kidney pies or liver with onions or don’t know what fromage frais is!
- “Much of the diet prescribes solely protein for days on end.”
– After the Attack Phase is completed you never eat solely protein for more than one day at a time unless you chose to follow a different Cruise Phase rhythm than the recommended 1 day PP followed by 1 day PV.
– While the PP days are based on eating mainly protein, they could not be described as protein only days as in the Attack Phase you can also eat
- Small amounts of onions, garlic and gherkins.
- One tablespoon of chopped tomatoes or tomato puree.
- Your daily serving of oat bran
- One tablespoon of wheat bran (optional)
- Two teaspoons of oil (a new addition)
– And in the Cruise Phase you can also add as tolerated items
- goji berries
- “Eating so much protein – around three to four times the normal amount – can put a strain on the kidneys”
Eating protein does produce waste products which have to be eliminated by the kidneys and this is why Dr Dukan recommends an increased intake of water. He has worked with over 30 patients who have lost weight using his system despite having only one kidney and by ensuring that sufficient water was consumed, none of the patients noted any change in their renal markers.
- “A lack of fibre can be a problem. An unbalanced diet short of fruit and vegetables and heavy in fish and meat can lead to constipation.”
While constipation can be a problem for some in the Attack Phase, the oat bran, the wheat bran, rhubarb, goji berries and unlimited vegetables every other day usually provide more than enough fiber to keep constipation at bay.
- “Lack of cereal-based foods can lead to deficiency of vitamin B.”
Although the Dukan Diet not high in cereals , the oat bran and optional wheat bran eaten daily do contain various vitamins B but then so do a lot of the other foods that you also eat on the Dukan Diet.
- “Weight loss is difficult to maintain once the rigid programme has ended. The maintenance phase alone – six days of eating normally and one Dukan day of protein – is unlikely to keep the weight off for the average dieter, whose indulgence throughout the week will outweigh the benefits of the protein day. “
Stabilisation follows a lengthy period of Consolidation where you learn how to eat normally to maintain your weight. You are phased out of the “rigid programme” with normal foods being introduced in a controlled way. You do not just do Dukan Thursday – you also have to maintain the exercise and eat the oat bran. Fitting in the oat bran also reduces the calories that you eat. The Dukan Thursday serves as a reminder for you to keep your weight under control it does not give you the green light to eat yourself silly the other six days of the week.
Where I agree wholeheartedly with the BDA is that they say