The Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet Explained

The Attack Phase is the first of the four stages of the Dukan Diet and it is the first of the two weight loss stages. The Attack Phase is the part of the diet where the most dramatic weight loss takes place, especially in those individuals who have a great deal of weight to lose. It is also probably the part of the diet which attracts the most criticism amongst health professionals because this is the most restrictive stage of the diet. It is not restrictive in terms of the amounts that you can eat, as throughout the Dukan Diet you can eat as much as you want, but only of certain types of food. During the Attack Phase the list of permitted foods is limited to just 72 high protein foods.

You follow this part of the Diet for between two and ten days depending upon just how much weight you need to lose. For example if you needed to lose 20 pounds you would follow the Attack Phase for three days and could expect to lose between 3 and 5 pounds in this time.

As so many individuals experience a significant weight loss in the first few days the Attack Phase provides a huge morale boost and this provides a great kick start to the diet. This kick start is one of the factors which has helped the Dukan Diet to become so popular with those who are looking to lose weight.

There is no doubt that this part of the diet does not provide a balanced diet and this is why this part of the diet can only be undertaken for a maximum of ten days. The lack of fiber in the diet from fruit, vegetables and other sources does mean that many followers experience constipation and to help overcome these problems Dr Dukan expects individuals to eat 1 Β½ tablespoons of Oatbran and to drink a minimum of 1 Β½ liters of water each day whilst on the Attack Phase.

A small amount of moderate exercise is also recommended such as 20 minutes walking.

155 Responses to “The Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet Explained”

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  • sehar on February 3, 2012

    One thing I don’t understand is that at one point the diet says we can eat unlimited portion of protein in the attack phase and on the other hand I read above that we shouldn’t exceed the daily calories.this is confusing me.pls explain as I’m on day three of the attack phase.
    Oh and another thing, I eat before going to bed, does that affect the weight loss in any way. And I am taking folic acid and glucophage will that affect my diet?

    • Amber on February 4, 2012

      Hi Sehar

      The Dukan Diet works by restricting your calorie intake because of the foods that you eat but it doesn’t require you to count calories. However there are occasions when I suggest that people count calories to check in order to find out why they are not losing weight. It is also important not to eat too few calories as this can cause the body to slow its metabolic rate in an effort to conserve fat stores.

      The amount that you eat is more important that when you eat so arranging your meals to allow a snakc before bedtime can be fitted in without it impacting on your weight loss.

      Glucophage doesn’t normally cause weight gain ( and neither does taking folic acid.

      If you are diabetic and/or are taking folic acid because you’re trying to get pregnant I would strongly recommend discussing the suitability of following the Dukan Diet with your medical practitioner.

      Kind regards


  • Charlotte on January 7, 2012


    This may seem young, but I am a 14 year old girl and today I begun the Dukan Diet!
    I have two questions, my first is, will my age interfere with any weight loss?? Will the diet work for me? I’m 156lbs and I’m hoping to make it to 130!
    My second question, isn’t really a question. I’m just wondering if I’m doing everything right? So I got up at 8am and went for a 20 minute run at 5 m/ph on our treadmill. About an hour or two later I ate some tuna from a can with a sprinkle of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon, shortly followed by two hard boiled eggs with a dash of salt!

    Later on in the day I had a few slices of lean ham from the deli (no rind) and a strawberry non-fat yogurt with a tablespoon and a half of oat bran (I know the fruit isnt ideal, but it’s all the shops sell for non fat)
    Then for dinner I put raw chicken in the oven with a dash of salt and pepper! Ive drank more than enough water and I had a glass of diet coke

    Is this all alright??
    How long should I stay on the attack phase for?
    Oh and can you have yogurt with 1%fat?

    Sorry, I know it’s a lot of questions but I’d really appreciate any help you can give me!

    Best regards,

    • Amber on January 7, 2012

      Hi Charlotte

      The full Dukan Diet with the Attack Phase isn’t recommended for use by someone as young as you. As your body is still developing and growing it is very important to ensure that you are getting all the right vitamins and minerals. You really need to discuss and agree a suitable weight loss plan with your doctor.

      With their agreement you might be able to follow an adapted version of the diet in which you eat fruit and vegetables every day. You would be following the Consolidation Phase with Dukan Thursday replaced with a PV day.

      You seem to have grasped the concept of eating high protein foods for every meal but there does appear to be a lot of salt in or added to the foods that you have eaten. You do need to watch deli hams as they can be quite high in fat content as well as salt – you are usually better off getting prepackaged ham where you can see the fat/sodium content. You also need to watch the number of egg yolks you are eating as you should be aiming for just one a day.

      Fat free yogurt is best but anything less than 2% fat content is fine.

      I hope everything goes well.

      Best wishes


  • christie on December 6, 2011

    Hi,confused as we can eat as much fish,beef,mussels etc ad we wish but there all full of sodium which is salt right which leads to water retretsin and we must not have smoked salmon and turkey ate fattening. 6% per 3 slices which is nothing but fattening and a bowl of vegies is fat free ,lve got book and read it.l just feel lm eat salty fat all the time its not cleansing and not Going to toilet as the salt to much .its depresseing .all l rat is boiled eggs and container of mussels and smoked trout.body is over loaded so l stop and have herbal teas,then lm not hungry as just want lots of water due to salt / sodium but to full to drink water.l cant get past 2 days .lm bloated and.blaaa.l get Andy and end up eating fruit salad.

    • Amber on December 6, 2011

      Hi Christie

      The Dukan Diet is not a magic formula, the effectiveness of the diet is linked to the food that you eat. You need to be choosing foods which are low in sodium and only eating the higher sodium ones as a treat. If you have only eaten eggs and high sodium protein foods for two days it is not really surprising that your body feels overloaded and that you have become constipated. You need to be including fat free dairy products and your daily serving of oat bran and as you have problems with constipation you would also probably benefit from including the optional daily tablespoon of wheat bran.

      Kind regards


  • Kirsty on December 3, 2011

    Hello πŸ™‚

    I am on day 5 of my attack phase which is supposed to last 7 days. My start weight was 189.6 lbs (13 stone 8 lbs) and I have lost 4 lbs so far. However I have found that my weight fluctuates greatly and I’m terrified that when I start the cruise phase my weight will go back up. I think I should mention that I am menstruating at the moment. Could this be a factor? As I am also not as happy with my weight loss as I had excpected at least – 6 lbs by now… Please reply I really need your help πŸ™


    • Amber on December 3, 2011

      Hi Kirsty

      Don’t be discouraged by your weight fluctuation, some people do find that their weight goes up and down by quite a bit. This is usually due to water retention and monthly hormones can play a big part in this movement. A five day Attack is likely to produce a loss of between 4 and 6 lbs and given your hormones a 4 lb loss is not too shabby at all.

      When you move into Cruise make sure that you eat a high proportion of protein with each meal and avoid salty food that can cause water retention.

      Stay strong!

      Best wishes


  • Sara on November 5, 2011

    Hi Amber!

    So I have been eating a mosty veggies with an increasing amount of whole grains the past 4 months and I managed to lose 10lbs. I have 15 more pounds to lose so I thought I would give the dukan diet a try. I have been eating only protien for 2 days now and gained almost 3lbs. I even went on a 2 mile jog today. I feel more fit then I have in awhile but I can’t think of any think to explain the sudden weight gain.



    • Amber on November 5, 2011

      Hi Sara

      There are so many factors which determine whether our weight goes up or down but it does seem a little unusual to gain weight. Sometimes a weight gain occurs because of a misunderstanding of the diet for example you can’t eat any type of protein. One of the easiest checks to make is to work out how many calories you are eating. If you are eating too many it probably means you’ve misunderstood a part of the diet, if the calories are OK your weight gain is due to another reason.

      Best wishes


  • Amber on October 31, 2011


    Just started Dukan today Weighed myself this morning at 168 and tonight im 177. Is this normal. All i ate was my gallette this morning some turkey meat, beef with braggs liquid aminos, and pork tonight for supper, I made sure that I cut off any visible fat as well. I drank more than my 1 1/2 q of water. I did have a coke zero today. Am I doomed?

    Thank you,


    • Amber on October 31, 2011

      Hi Amber

      Our weight does fluctuate through the day and this is why it is best to weigh yourself at the same time each day. The best time is usually first thing in the morning after having visited the bathroom. There certainly doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with what you are eating – did you drink a lot more than 1.5 quarts of fluids? There are so many things that can influence the rate at which we those weight so try not to be discouraged.

      Best wishes


  • fatima on October 21, 2011

    i have completed 4 days of attack phase, i did eveything what book says, making sure that i am taking my daily intae of oat bran 1 and half spoon. but i am not lose weight, i am 57.1 kg and yesterday i was 56.3 today i am back to 57.1 kg
    what am i doing wrong, i am eating tuna fish, chicken and lots of water. i ate 2 ALDI brand fat free vanilla yogurt today, when i checked the ingredients, it didnt say skimmed milk or aspartame sweetener, instead there were sugar and some other things in it.
    do you think they made difference.
    please help, i am losing intrest as i am feeling very very week and finding it difficult to go through.
    i am doing my 30 minutes walk too.
    please assist me what to do

    • Amber on October 21, 2011

      Hi Fatima

      I can’t see that you are doing anything wrong apart from the yogurts which you ate that would have contained a small amount of sugar. How old are you, how tall are you and do you have a small, medium or large frame?


  • Ashley on September 29, 2011

    Hi Amber,
    Great site! I’m so happy to have found a spot to ask questions. I’m on my fourth day of the attack phase and I haven’t lost or gained an ounce πŸ™ I recently lost 34 lbs from my recent pregnancy, but I still have about 30 to go in order to be in my pre-pregnancy weigh (he was a big boy!). Do you think it’s possible that since I’ve already lost so much weight recently that I’m struggling to see the results that others are achieving during the attack phase? I’m following the diet to the T, but I’m starting to get discouraged. Also, how do feel about consuming deli meat (turkey) as a good portion of daily protein? Is it too high in sodium? Thank you!!!

    • Amber on September 29, 2011

      Hi Ashley

      If you’ve already been dieting it will reduce the impact of the Attack Phase and if you’ve been eating food with a high sodium content you may be retaining a lot of water. Deli meat usually contains a lot of sodium and 200g of deli turkey which only has around 240 calories is also likely to contains around 80% of the recommended daily sodium levels. There are so many variables which determine how our weight goes up and down; to give another example your recent weight loss may have slowed your metabolism if you were not eating enough calories. Try to stay strong and be patient.

      If you are breastfeeding Dr Dukan does not recommend that you use his diet to lose weight as the weight loss phases are very restrictive in the foods that are eaten and it is important to ensure that the breast milk contains everything that the baby needs.

      Kind regards


  • julie on September 25, 2011

    I am on day 5 of the attack phase and I havent lost a thing, I am 70kg wanting to drop 10kg, when should i start to notice the weight loss?? I am doing everything by the book, i dont understand why no weight loss.

    • Amber on September 25, 2011

      Hi Julie

      It is very unusual not to lose weight in the Attack Phase because it is so restrictive but there are many things which influence how much weight we lose such as:

      – hormonal cycle
      – salt in diet
      – medications
      – medical conditions
      – exercise
      – calories eaten
      – types of food eaten
      – metabolic rate

      I would suggest you check the calories content of the food that you are eating and if you should be losing weight and still haven’t seen any change in the scales after a few more days, I would recommend seeing your doctor for a check up just to make sure that there are no underlying medical conditions stopping you losing weight.

      Kind regards


  • bobbi on September 12, 2011


    i have been following the Atkins program but would like to change to the Durkan Program as i feel overall it makes a bit more sense, i have lost 13Lbs so far, my concern is will having been on the other program interfer with the Attack Phase on this program?

    • Amber on September 12, 2011

      Hi bobbi

      As you are already following a diet plan I would suggest you consider moving straight to Cruise. Cutting back your calorie consumption too far could slow down your metabolism and because you are already trying to lose weight you are not likely to get such a big impact from the Attack Phase as those just starting to diet.

      Good luck


      • bobbi on September 13, 2011


        thank you, one more quetion….
        are any of the veg quantities limited?


        • Amber on September 13, 2011

          Hi Bobbi

          You are only allowed one serving of carrots, beet (root) and asparagus artichokes per week but other than that all the other vegetables are unlimited.

          Best wishes


          • bobbi on September 15, 2011

            what is a serving size?

            (i know i am being dumb, but i am getting Married and really do not want to be plump on the day, and i want to get this 100% correct. i have been looking for the book in South Africa but every body is out of stock and i cannot afford the conversion rates to pounds for coaching.)


          • Amber on September 15, 2011

            Hi Bobbi

            There are no serving sizes. The Dukan Diet is not a calorie counting or food weighing diet. You are allowed to eat as much as you want of the permitted foods but you must not exceed 1kg of dairy or 1.5 tablespoons (Attack) or 2 tablespoons (Cruise) of oat bran.

            Hope this helps


  • DeniseG-C on September 2, 2011

    Hello Amber,

    I live in Canada, and have recently read about the Dukan Diet in an American magazine. I’ve been reading through your site, and both the US and UK Dukan Diet sites.

    I’m hypo-thyroid and I’ve been told by my doctor, and others, that a low-carb diet is the way to go with my condition. I’ve tried Atkins before, as well as the “Slow-Carb” diet and neither of them worked. After an initial loss, I put everything back on, and then some. I’m very careful to follow diets to the letter. I have about 30 pounds to lose, but they just will not budge. I’m in my mid-40’s.

    Does Dr. Dukan outline any concerns/advice about people with thyroid problems using his diet?


    • Amber on September 2, 2011

      Hi Denise

      Having an under active thyroid does make losing weight much more difficult and Dr Dukan doesn’t advise of any concerns over the use of the diet by anyone suffering with hypothyroidism. The important thing to do is check with your doctor before starting. The Dukan Diet is however a low carb diet as well as a high protein,low fat and low sugar diet so he might well approve. If you need a really low carb diet you probably need to look to restrict the level of dairy produce you are eating each day and rather than the normal 1kg limit you might prefer to try a 750 or 500g daily limit.

      Kind regards


      • DeniseG-C on September 3, 2011

        Thanks Amber! I appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my question. I think it’s what makes your site so great, with so much valuable information.

        Take care πŸ™‚

  • Anna J on September 1, 2011


    Great website for the Dukan diet! I’ve just finished day 2 of the attack phase, and so far am feeling great!
    I think i’ve slipped up though, as I did eat some lamb this afternnon (i didn’t realise it was restricted). I’ve now read all the allowed foods though so think I’m ok going forward. Just wondering how much it’s put me back by eating some lamb? Will tommorrow basically be day one for me?


    • Amber on September 1, 2011

      Hi Anna J

      I’m pleased that you like my site. Don’t worry about the lamb that you ate by mistake just carry on as if nothing had happened. The reason lamb is not allowed by Dr Dukan on his diet is because of the high fat content but one serving is not going to make a huge difference in the scheme of things. Of course it isn’t something you can do every day and expect the diet to work!

      Best wishes


  • mrshickey on August 31, 2011

    Started Attack phase today,very optimistic!!!! I just wanted to ask if I am able to use extra light philadelphia during this phase,? or is there a substitute I can buy? I am in the West Midlands, UK Thanks

    • Amber on August 31, 2011

      Hi mrshickey

      I’m pleased that you are so enthusiastic as this is a great start.

      This very low fat cream cheese is in the US version of the Dukan Diet so I treat it as an allowable dairy protein but you won’t find it mentioned in the UK version of the book.

      Good Luck


  • Janis on August 25, 2011

    I see you can chew sugar free gum during the Attack Phase, but if one does not chew gum; can you have sugar free mints?.

    • Amber on August 25, 2011

      Hi Janis

      You can have up to five sugar free sweets every day in all phases of the Diet.

      Kind regards


  • Mark on August 22, 2011

    Been on attack phase for 8 days and have lost 17lbs! Stick with it and be strict, it works. Starting phase 2 2moro. Hoping to lose another 15lbs in 5 weeks.

    • Amber on August 22, 2011

      Congratulations Mark, that is a very impressive start.

      Best wishes


  • TINA on August 7, 2011

    Hi Amber, thanks for the reply, I only have 26 lbs to loss, so tomorrow I’ll be ending my Phase 1, so excited to go to the next phase on tuesday, so far I have lost 8 lbs already. I’m just so happy, and to top it all, I finally have found the oat bran! this dieting is really great and so are you!

    Maraming salamat uli…:)

    you’re learning tagalog fast, ang galing mo talaga! πŸ™‚

    • Amber on August 7, 2011

      Magandang araw


  • TINA on August 6, 2011

    Hi Amber thanks for the reply, wow “ang galing mo”(you’re very good) “ako ay mas mabuti ngayon, kay sa noon”( Im far better now compared before), thanks a lot for your site this really is very helpful, I learned many things from other dieters, and some of my questions have already been answered. I’m on day 5 and so far have lost 7lbs, this is so good, I feel so motivated and cant wait to go on the next phase, but is it okay to reach the maximum 10 days in Phase 1 even if I have already this loss?I’m really enjoying this Phase and planned to consume the maximum 10 days to really see how much I can loss. I’ll be searching for oat bran today, hope I can find in bigger stores in the city…
    Thanks for your encouragements, two thumbs up!

    Maraming salamat (thank you very much),
    TINA πŸ™‚

    • Amber on August 6, 2011

      Hi Tina

      Walang anuman. (You’re welcome)

      I’m so pleased that the diet is going well for you. How long you should stay in the Attack Phase really depends on how much weight you have to lose. The maximum 10 days should only be used by those with 40 or more pounds to lose. A lot of people are so happy with the weight that they’ve lost that they make the mistake of extending the Attack Phase and this then back fires. This is because if we stay on a very restricted diet for too long our body goes into a conservation mode which lowers our metabolism and makes it more difficult to lose weight.

      Take care


  • TINA on August 4, 2011

    Hi, Dukan diet is invading the world!!! I’m from halfway around the world…I’m from the Philippines. I have come across an online forum about Dukan diet. I got interested and I searched more about it,and decided that I have to try. At first I was skeptical because some of the required food in the 4 Phases are hard to find here, like for instance the oat bran, I have been looking for oat bran in lots of grocery stores, but what is available are only oat meat, whole oast, and rolled oats. There are no cottage cheese either, and had a hard time finding Fat free yogurt. But these does not discouraged me from doing so, I just have to substitute oat bran with oat meal(sorry Dr. Dukan, in some of your sites it said that there is no sub for oat bran) and I have followed through all the instruction in the attack phase. Right now I’m in day 3 of the Attack Phase, and to my amazement I did loss pounds. I started with 186 lbs. and last nightIi weighed 180! wow! this really is great, I feel so motivated and this gives me more encouragement to go on and reach my target weight of 160 lbs. Thank you so much, this just show that Dukan can reach beyond nationalities and cultures. Keep up the good works, more power!

    • Amber on August 4, 2011

      Kumusta kayo, Tina?

      It is nice to meet you. You are my first visitor from the Philippines to comment on my site and I hope I got the greeting right. It is wonderful how the Dukan Diet is breaking down barriers across the world.

      I think your practical approach to following the diet is just fine. As you say Dr Dukan doesn’t provide a substitute for oat bran but if you are getting along fine with oatmeal what does it matter.

      Best wishes


  • zuzana on July 21, 2011

    Hi Amber,

    I am on my day 4 of the Attack Phase and I am not loosing any weight actually I’ve put 2kg on. What’s going on? I am sure I follow the diet plan the way I’m supposed to. Could you give me some advice on what to do? I really need to stay motivated.
    Thanks for your help. Zuzana

    PS: great site, well done!

    • Amber on July 21, 2011

      Hi Zuzana

      That is a very unusual result – I know of some who lose very little weight on the Attack Phase but to put on 1/2 kg per day which is over a pound a day is exceptional.

      Here is a link to an article which explains some of the reasons why you might be gaining weight

      I’ve also included a link to another article which you may find interesting

      My advice would be to see your doctor to check to make sure everything is as it should be before continuing with the diet.

      Kind wishes


    • zuzana on September 22, 2011

      Hi Zuzana,
      I’m Zuzana too and have similar problem to yours..

      just wondering how are you getting on now? Have you started losing weight afterwards? i am on day 4 of attack phase tomorrow, weighed myself to realise i’ve not lost any weight πŸ™ soo frustrating.


  • miss.amaryllis on June 4, 2011

    I like this Dukan website very much indeed. It’s so helpful!

    I’m just completing day 3 of the Attack Phase.

    I’ve had to watch my weight for 40 years – ever since I was a hugely fat teenager. I’m an expert calorie counter, and have also had success with high protein/high fat rΓ©gimes, but feel that a different method now would be a great incentive.

    We are going to a wedding in July – the Bride’s Mother is one of those awful women that like to speak their mind. I’m determined that the stone and two pounds that has crept up on me will be gone by then! Huh! I’ll show her!!! Several old friends have had great success with the Dukan Diet. And I’ve lost 2 initial pounds in two days. It’s when the scales show 9st 13lbs rather than 10 stone-something that I know I’m on my way.

    Just a little bit motivated….!

    Very best wishes to other dieters everywhere!

    • Amber on June 5, 2011

      Hi miss.amaryllis

      Thank you for your kind comments about the site and very well done on getting through 3 days of the Attack Phase. Motivation is hugely important when losing weight and you seem to have enough for two so I’m sure that you will be successful.


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