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 ½ tablespoons of Oatbran and to drink a minimum of 1 ½ liters of water each day whilst on the Attack Phase.

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

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

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  • J-Lan on January 15, 2016

    Hi Amber! The Dukan website recommended that I remain in the attack phase for 3 Days. Since I read online you can stay in the Phase up to 10 days, I am shooting for 10. I am on Day 7 of the Attack Phase. Unfortunately, I lost my appetite and the only food I enjoy eating is eggs and the oat bran. I have started Bikram’s Yoga and also do High Intensity Interval Training sometime in the same day. I have lost 5 pounds (although it seems that I gained a pound accordong to my scale this morning and that’s ok because I understand weight fluctuates.)
    My question: Is there any negative health effects if I stick to the Attack phase up to the 10th day (1/17/16)?

    • Amber on February 6, 2016

      Hi J-Lan

      The 10 day Attack Period should only be followed by those with a lot of weight to lose and under the recommendation of their doctor. Following a very low calorie diet for too long can reduce your metabolism and you are going to find the level of exercise extremely difficult on such a low carb diet.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Rasha on January 15, 2016

    Hi Amber,

    I have been on the attack phase for 4 days now, I have not cheated on any of those days, I am eating as much protein as possible, and I am sticking to the fat free dairy and 1.5 tbs oat bran, I have not lost weight, nothing at all. Should I continue and be patient? will I see results in the coming days?

    Thank you very much!

    • Amber on February 6, 2016

      Hi Rasha

      It is unusual not to lose weight on the Attack Phase. It is the protein which makes the Dukan Diet work but you can have too much. You shouldn’t eat as much protein as possible only what you need not to be hungry.

      Best wishes

      Amber:)

  • Daniela on December 28, 2015

    Hi Amber, I’ve been in the attack phase for 5 days now.
    During the first 3 days I’ve lost 1 kilo. But during the past 2 days, I gained them all over again.

    I’m using the same scale, first thing in the morning.
    I’ve been exercising and drinking lots of water.
    Any ideas? Am I doing something wrong?

    • Amber on January 3, 2016

      Hi Daniela

      We rarely lose weight in a straight line as there are too many variables. Just stick with it.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Sajit on October 21, 2015

    Hi Amber,
    I have 27 kgs to lose so I did 10days attack. Today is my last day of attack and already lost 5.2Kgs as of today morning. By tomorrow morning weight I hope to be close to 6kg loss which is very good result. I’m staring cruise tomorrow and planning 5/5. Starting with 5days of veg+protein tomorrow and followed by 5days of pure protein running into the next week. Everything going fine and I’m in control but my company needs me to travel mid next week out of station for 4days at short notice. I will not have any cooking option and also have to spend 2 days in travel (onward + return). I’m really worried how to manage diet in those days when I can’t cook. What options are there? Should I take protein powder, if so which kind/brand. How do I do my oat bran without cooking. It was really working for me but totally unexpected challenge I wish to overcome with your advice.

    • Amber on November 8, 2015

      Hi Sajit

      Where it is difficult to follow the Dukan Diet due to being away from home the best thing is to follow it as closely as you can. Don’t beat yourself up over any non Dukan adjustments you have to make. THen when you are back start your Cruise Phase again with a PP day first.

      Best wishes

      Amber:)

  • Diane on July 21, 2015

    I have done the attack phase several times. Each time I have less success. This time, 2 days of the attack phase has resulted in no weight loss whatsoever. Is it possible to do this too many times?

    • Amber on July 26, 2015

      Hi Diane

      The Attack phase was never intended to be repeated. It usually has the most impact the first time as your body experiences eating high levels of protein and low levels of carbs. The Attack phase is not a healthy way of dieting which is why it should not be repeated. Also if you follow a very low calorie diet for too long your metabolic rate may reduce decreasing the rate at which you burn calories.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

      • Krysta Albert on September 15, 2015

        Amber,
        It has been a year since I was on Dukan and just over a year since I was on Attack Phase.

        I have 80pounds to loose. I did the test on Dukan and it says to do all 10 days based on my body. Do I do the Attack again (of which I never lost a pound) but lost 36 pounds in 6 weeks on the plan.

        Kind advise on doing Attach Phase again? Thanks!

        • Amber on September 25, 2015

          Hi Krysta

          Due to the length of time since you last followed the Dukan Diet you can repeat the Attack Phase but I’d recommend a maximum of 5 days and I’d also recommend having a daily vitamin and mineral supplement for as long as you are following the Dukan as you will be following a restrictive diet for some time to lose 80 pounds.

          Good luck

          Amber:)

  • Maria on July 6, 2015

    I have been on Dukan phase 1 for 4 days and have not lost anything at all, is there any reason why, as this is meant to be the phase that loses the most weight?

    • Amber on July 11, 2015

      Hi Maria

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve not lost any weight. There are many factors that could be causing this, you could be using different scales, or inaccurate scales, you could be weighing yourself at different times in the day or you could have been on another diet not long before. Having said that the most common reason for not losing weight on the Dukan are water retention and/or constipation and both of these are usually only suffered for a few days.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Rashmi on June 21, 2015

    I m on cruise phase. I feel I have lost on inches but weighing scale does not show any change. Same is with my husband.

    • Amber on June 28, 2015

      Hi Rashmi

      The tape measure doesn’t lie – the weight loss will follow be patient.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Msukumom on June 19, 2015

    Why are protein shakes made with water not allowed to replace a meal?

    • Amber on June 19, 2015

      Hi Msukumom

      Dr Dukan doesn’t approve of using protein shakes because it does teach you to change your eating habits and learn how to eat real food.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Sara on June 17, 2015

    Hi Amber,

    I have been on the attack phase for 3 days as I only need to lose 8kg, however on day four of attack phase I have gained half a kilo with no weight loss experienced at all. I have stuck to recommended foods for attack phase. Am I better to continue onto the next phase and see if I experience any weight loss as I am thinking my body isn’t coping with just pure protein 🙁

    • Amber on June 18, 2015

      Hi Sara

      Weight gain is usually due to constipation and/or water retention. If you are suffering with constipation the additional vegetables may help speed things along, so to speak.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Egle on June 16, 2015

    Hello, I’m on attack phase it’s my third. Day. My weight always higher in the evening then morning, is this is normal? Thanks

    • Amber on June 17, 2015

      Hi Egle

      Yes it is – that why it is usually better to weigh yourself once a day. First thing in the morning after having visited the bathroom is best.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • aimee on June 4, 2015

    Hi there I have an under active thyroid so I’m on medication from gp which is why I have put on weight… do you think I can still loose weight on the attack phase?? It’s my first day today. ..

    • Amber on June 6, 2015

      Hi Aimee

      Yes you can still lose weight but your rate of weight loss may be slower.

      Good luck

      Amber:)

    • franky on June 17, 2015

      Yes I have one too,I started attack on Sunday and have lost 4 pounds in 4 days already. Make sure you get 0 fat yoghurt the farge greek one, add a tiny bit of vanilla essence if you can’t stand the plainness of it, also get sugar free jellys, you will find they help when you can’t stand thought of a dry egg or meat, and get sprite zero, it makes a change as a drink, particualry as it’s so hot and humid right now. don’t cheat it’s worth doing the attack for at least 5 days I plan to go the full 7 as am intrigued to see if I continue to lose at rate of 1 pound a day.

      • Amber on June 18, 2015

        Hi Franky

        Thanks for the encouragement for Aimee and the useful tips.

        Best wishes

        Amber:)

  • Dee on May 15, 2015

    Hi Amber.
    Thanks for your reply. I am on bisoprolol which is a beta blocker. May be I can ask my GP to change it to something else. I hope that helps. It had been very frustrating.

    Regards
    Dee

  • Dee on May 9, 2015

    Hi Amber.
    I will go and see my GP. However , does a non-hormonal coil affect weight loss? I have one inserted. Besides , I am on medication for high blood pressure. Could this medicine affect my weight loss ?

    • Amber on May 14, 2015

      Hi Dee

      Non hormonal coils are not linked to weight gain but some blood pressure tablets are. The snippit below comes from this link.
      http://www.rxlist.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension_medications-page9/drugs-condition.htm#does_high_blood_pressure_lead_to_weight_gain
      Does high blood pressure lead to weight gain?
      Some high blood pressure medications can, in fact, lead to weight gain. Common offenders include older beta blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin). There could be several reasons for this — including the fact that the medications can make patients feel tired and thus less likely to exercise. Minoxidil tablets (Loniten) — used only when other antihypertensive medications have failed — can also cause weight gain. Weight gain is also listed as a common side effect of doxazosin (Cardura). Diuretics are more likely to cause weight loss

      Best wishes

      Amber:)

  • Yvonne mcginley on May 6, 2015

    Hi, I have been on the diet for 10 days , 5 days attack and now doing protein, then protein and veg alternate days .I ve lost 10lbs but suffering badly with explosive diarrhoea .should I stop the diet ?

    • Amber on May 6, 2015

      Hi Yvonne

      You certainly can’t continue unless you can bring this under control. I’d suggest speaking to your doctor or pharmacist as they may be able to help as it would be a shame to have to stop when the Dukan is working so well for you.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

  • Dee on April 26, 2015

    Hi. Went through your website and it is probably the best I have come across. Well done.
    I started Dikan diet 8 days back. I need to lose 12 kilos and was supposed to do Attack for 3 days but I did for 6 days and then Cruise but unfortunately haven’t lost a single kilo. This is very disheartening. I gave two twin daughters to take care and so the whole process requires a lot of commitment from me which I am putting. Not seeing any results is de motivating me. Should I stop it or hang on. I am unable to do 20 minute brisk walk but walk quite a bit due to travel to work.
    Please help. What change should I make?

    • Amber on May 4, 2015

      Hi Dee

      Can you let me know approximately how many calories you are eating on an average PV day?

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

      • Dee on May 5, 2015

        Hi Amber
        My log book of yesterday PP day goes like this.
        Breakfast : 2 boiled eggs with 0% fat vanilla yogurt and 2 tbsp oat bran with one cup of tea with skimmed milk and sugar free
        Lunch :One and half roasted chicken breast marinated in 0% fat yogurt and spices and few drops of olive oil.
        Tea: 1 cup tea as in morning and 1 small bowl of fat free yogurt
        Dinner: 1 1/2 chicken breast grilled with spices and few oil drops n lemon juice.
        Today PV day
        Breakfast:2 boiled eggs and 2 tbsp oat bran with fat free yogurt
        Tea as above
        Lunch : a large bowl full of salad leaves, beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber with one roasted chicken breast n low fat vinaigrette dressing
        Tea as above in afternoon
        Dinner: two pieces of grilled salmon with soy sauce , pepper, green chillies, lemon juice n salt with half bell peppers n roasted onions.
        Fat free yogurt

        • Amber on May 6, 2015

          Hi Dee

          I can’t see anything wrong with what your eating – are you constipated or suffering from any water retention?

          Best wishes

          Amber:)

          • Dee on May 7, 2015

            No. No constipation and water retention. Please help. Could it be because I am not exercising.

          • Amber on May 9, 2015

            Hi Dee

            Exercising would help but I’d still have expected you to be losing weight especially with 2 young children to run around after. I’d suggest calorie counting for a few days and if you are still not losing weight I’d have a word with your doctor just to rule out any underlying medical conditons, such as an under active thyroid , that could be the cause.

            Best wishes

            Amber:)

  • Jenny on February 24, 2015

    Hi,
    I have been on Attack phase for 5 days but I don’t think I am losing any weight. I was probably on water retention menstruation cycle because I just started my period. But could that be the reason? if so should I stay on Attack phase for longer in order to loose weight?

    • Amber on February 24, 2015

      Hi Jenny

      No you don’t need to extend the Attack Phase. The weight you’ve lost should reveal itself when the water retention has passed.

      Best wishes

      Amber:)

  • eve on December 13, 2014

    Hi, Amber!!!
    Please give me advice.
    I started Dukan diet on 10th december my weight was 75kg. I never cheated and do everything how plan suggests but today (after 3 days) mu weight is 77.6 kg ( i am on attack)…. i want cry…. dont know should i stop this diet ? maybe its not suitable for me? 2.6kg is too much gain within 3 days…. i eat only chiken fillets and smoked salmon with natural yogurt , oat bran porradge for dinner and seafood sticks when i got munchees. Help

    • Amber on December 14, 2014

      Hi Eve

      As you are gaining weight I’d recommend stopping the diet as it should not be having this result.

      A:(

  • Helen on November 19, 2014

    Hello
    I have 7 pounds to lose. I have been following the attack phase to the letter but I have not lost any weight, but gained. I am on day three and I’ve gained a pound and have more of s tummy than before. I am drinking 3 litres of water (I usually drink a lot anyway) and I am not in the water retention phase of my menstrual cycle.
    Why is this? Not feeling very confident in achieving any success.
    Thanks

    • Amber on December 11, 2014

      Hi Helen

      3 litres of fluid is a very high intake so I’d suggest reducing this and one of the common side effects of the Dukan is constipation and this can mask weight loss.

      A:)

  • Dawn on August 26, 2014

    Hi Amber
    I need to loose 24 Kg
    I have now been on the Dukan diet for 5 wks
    I have not “cheated ” at all.
    I did 10 days Attack following all the rules and lost only 1.75 Kg .
    I have still continued with the diet and still following all rules no cheating and l have lost only 4.5 kg Total since l started 5 wks ago
    I feel great but weight loss is so slow.

    • Amber on August 29, 2014

      Hi Dawn

      Some people do find it more difficult to lose weight, age, sex, metabolism and underlying medical conditions can all make a different. For example you would expect a middle aged woman suffering with an underactive thyroid to lose weight more slowly than a healthy 30 something male.

      The great thing is that the Dukan is working for you and you will get to your target weight.

      Best wishes

      Amber:)

  • Jessie on August 11, 2014

    Hi Amber,

    I’ve been on the Attack phase for the last 5 days, and weight has be going a bit yoyo. On day 2, I lost 2kg, then day 3 I put on 0.5kg, then day 4 I lost 0.5kg which means I was back to day 2 weight, then day 5, I put on 0.5kg again. So , in total, i’ve only lost 1.5kg for 5 days attack phase.

    Is this normal? Does this mean I’m may not be suitable for Dukan? and last question, shall i continue another 2 days of attack phase or move onto cruise phase?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Amber on August 13, 2014

      Hi Jessie

      Weight fluctuation is normal and although at the lower end the weight loss is also OK. It certainly doesn’t mean that Dukan won’t work for you. Just continue as planned.

      Kind regards

      Amber:)

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