Hazards of Dukan Diet

The diets industry is one of the most profitable areas of health today. Every year we are bombarded with many new "miracle diets" that promise significant weight loss with minimal effort. From time to time, some of these diets gain celebrities, usually models or famous actresses, and now have high visibility in the media.

Dr. Pierre Dukan
Dr. Pierre Dukan

The Dukan diet was created by French physician Pierre Dukan, has gained much notoriety in recent years, after celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Giselle Bundchen, Penelope Cruz and Kate Middleton, made public that were adept diet.

But just as fame earned millions of dollars to its author and has the Dukan diet one of the most famous in the world, there was also a barrage of criticism from various medical societies and nutrition, especially the British Dietetic Association , which since 2010 contraindicate their use and classifies the Dukan diet among the 5 worst "diets of the famous". The height of the attacks occurred in January 2014 when the Medical Society of France revoked the medical license of Dr. Pierre Dukan under the bankruptcy claim code of ethics, due to excessive commercial promotion of products without proper scientific evidence.

In this article we will explain what is the Dukan diet, what are the results in relation to weight loss and why it undergoes so many critical health entities.

What is Dukan diet

The Dukan diet, despite its modern guise, is actually a remake of the also famous Atkins diet, popular in the 1970s and 1980s.

Like the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet is based on a strict restriction of carbohydrate-rich foods and a great stimulus to the consumption of foods rich in animal protein. The difference between the two diets is the fact that the Dukan diet also be too restrictive in relation to fat.

Therefore, the Dukan diet, the patient can eat large quantities of animal or vegetable protein and almost no amount of carbohydrates and fat.

The diet of Dr. Pierre Dukan is divided into 4 phases:

1st phase of the Dukan diet: attack phase

This phase is very simple. The patient can only eat lean meat, the quantity you want throughout the day. The author provides a list of 72 sources of proteins, including beef, fish, skinless poultry, eggs, skim milk, low-fat cheese, tofu, and soy seitam. Only pork, lamb, duck and goose are not allowed.

Outside the consumption of proteins, this first phase is only indicated the consumption of 1 tablespoon oat bran and a half and about one and a half liters of water a day.

This phase lasts up to 10 days, and the goal is to lose at least 2 to 5 kilos.

2nd phase of the Dukan diet: cruise phase

In the cruise phase the patient can eat the same foods Phase 1, plus some vegetables low in carbohydrates every other day. So one day you only eat protein and another protein you eat and some vegetable without carbohydrate.

Examples of permitted vegetables: lettuce, watercress, arugula, endive, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, olives, pumpkin, mushroom, cucumber and celery.

This phase lasts as long as is necessary for the patient to achieve the desired weight. The weight loss rate in this phase is 1 to 2 Kg per week.

3rd phase of the Dukan diet: consolidation phase

Once the patient has reached the desired weight, it can move to the third phase of the diet. The consolidation phase lasts 10 days for kilo of weight lost. So if the patient so far lost 10 kilos, he should remain in phase 3 for 100 days; lost 15 kg in Phase 3 will last 150 days and so on.

At this stage the patient can eat proteins (including prohibited in 2/1 steps) and vegetables without carbohydrates at will, without having to switch days. From now on, the diet allows the gradual introduction of fruit, bread, pasta and fatty cheeses. 1 to 2 times a week the patient can escape from the diet, eating what you want.

4th phase of the Dukan diet: phase of stabilization

From this stage the patient is free to eat whatever they want, provided that you follow these three rules:
  • 1 day a week he should eat only protein as it did in Phase 1.
  • Eat 3 tablespoons of bran soup per day.
  • Walk 20 minutes a day.

Dukan diet works?

Yes, patients actually lose weight with this diet.

Any diet to be effective needs to make the patient eat less calories than it spends on a day-to-day. Weight loss or gain weight is a simple arithmetic account. If the patient spends 2000 calories a day and eat only 1500, it will slim down. If the patient spends 2000 calories pro day and eat 2500, it will gain weight. It's that simple.

As the Dukan diet very restricted calorie consumption, it actually causes significant weight loss in the early stages. Therefore, the main criticism of the diet are not in relation to its short-term effectiveness, but the lack of scientific studies, especially for safety and long term efficacy.

Criticism of Dukan diet

The Dukan diet does not teach the patient to eat better, do not change your eating habits and does not emphasize physical activity for the patient to lose calories by exercising and improving your cardiorespiratory fitness. The program even suggests daily walks, but the main focus is even the restriction of carbohydrates and fats. This means that its long-term effectiveness is not the best.

Another serious problem of diet is that there is complete in the early stages of some food restriction groups. It is not recommended subtract radically carbohydrates and dietary fats. This implies prevent the patient from consuming important nutrients for your health.

The amount of proteins ingested by the patient, which occurs almost exclusively during the first weeks of diet, is also of concern target. Proteins are important, but should not be the only source of food. In fact, no food source alone is recommended. What makes a healthy diet is the exact balance between the various sources of nutrients.

The main source of energy for our cells is glucose and its main source is carbohydrates. When the patient takes on a diet without carbohydrates, the body needs to release the hands of some mechanisms for the energy it needs so much. The simplest way is through the burning of fat stores, causing the body to produce ketone bodies, acidic substances originating from the breakdown of fat to fatty acid which are used as alternative energy source to glucose.

The Dukan diet is therefore a ketogenic diet, and most of the side effects come from this state of ketosis.

Side effects of Dukan diet

Ketogenic diets are old friends of medicine, as in the first decades of the twentieth century were the only way to treat patients with epilepsy. The own Atkins diet has been studied as an alternative to control epilepsy in children.

It is thanks to ketosis that the patient can lose weight quickly in the first few weeks. But contrary to what the patient imagines, relevant part of the weight lost is not fat but water. Acidosis generated by ketone bodies causes the kidney has to work harder to prevent blood becomes too acidic. This means eliminating the urine large amount of acid, which usually go with soda and water. Therefore, the patient dehydrates the first days of diet. Therefore indicates the consumption of at least 1.5 liters of water per day in the early stages.

Common side effects of the Dukan diet caused both by dehydration and by ketosis are nausea, malaise, bad breath (known as ketone breath), dry mouth, headache and weakness. The lack of fiber contributes to constipation, for which the oat bran intake is recommended.

Excessive consumption and almost exclusively of protein increases the risk of kidney disease, especially the formation of kidney stones. AKI by excess protein is also a concern in patients who may already have some prior kidney injury (often unknown to the patient). Increased levels of uric acid and increased risk of developing gout are also possible colateiras effects of ketogenic diets. Elevation of cholesterol levels and reduced bone mass are other potential problems of this diet.

Diets with high carbohydrate restrictions and excessive consumption of proteins have also been reported as a cause of ketoacidosis, a potentially serious side effect caused by increased production of blood acids.

During the various phases of the diet, the patient may experience the famous accordion effect, which is the loss and weight gain cyclically. Today we know that this is the worst way to lose weight because it is the one most associated with cardiovascular risks. It is less dangerous not slim down anything that switch quickly gains and fat mass loss.

Verdict on Dukan diet

For all that has been explained in this article, several medical and nutrition companies do not consider the Dukan diet an acceptable option to lose weight. The long term effect is poor, the patient may vary greatly in weight over diet (accordion effect), no major dietary restrictions and side effects can be severe.

A study in France with 5,000 people who underwent diet showed that about half of them had gained weight all over again in less than 1 year; and after 4 years, nearly 90% of the people had the same weight or even more than before the diet, which shows that the Dukan diet, in addition to being healthy, does not help the patient to lose weight persistently.

The Dukan diet has been around for several years, yields a lot of money and has hundreds of thousands of fans, many with good response in relation to short-term weight loss. There is no reason, therefore, that its apologists have not yet made a major scientific study on it. Just a large study, with good scientific Methodology and monitoring of patients for a few years, so that the scientific community pass to see the Dukan diet with fewer restrictions. While it does not, unfortunately, it is not possible to indicate this type of diet for the population.

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