IT began in France to re-educate people about how to eat healthily, and now has an army of A-list fans, including Kate Middleton and Jennifer Lopez.
The Dukan diet fad is a high-protein, low-carb eating plan which started in France under the name ‘Je ne sais pas maigrir,’ which translates as ‘I don’t know how to lose weight.’
But is it safe and does it work? Here is everything you need to know.
What is the Dukan diet?
Created by nutritionist Dr Pierre Dukan over a decade ago, the Dukan diet quickly became a firm favourite of the 1.5 million French women who followed its plan.
It claims to help dieters lose up to 10lbs within a week by the dieter focusing on protein-high foods and cutting out carbohydrates completely.
The restrictive diet includes four phases, attack, cruising, consolidation and stabilisation, with dieters eating just protein and vegetables and avoiding high-carb foods.
During the attack phase, dieters must stick to meat, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products, which are designed to promote rapid weight loss.
Dr Dukan lets dieters consume a daily tablespoon of oat bran which swells in the stomach to promote fullness and also helps ease constipation.
The cruising phase focuses on the user alternating pure protein and vegetable days, and is designed to promote a weight loss of 2lbs a week.
On the vegetable days, Dukan dieters can consume an unrestricted amount of vegetables, along with meat, fish and non-fat dairy products.
Consolidation phase revolves around preventing weight gain that can occur in a rebound effect to rapid weight loss.
During this period, pasta, cheese, fruit and bread are slowly reintroduced back into the diet.
The final stage, stabilisation, lets diets consume whatever they please, apart from one day a week which must be strictly protein-only.
How does the Dukan diet work?
The Dukan Diet cuts out carbs, which are the body’s preferred energy source, and forces the body to use a different fuel – fat stored in the body.
Apart from keeping to low-fat, low-salt and high-protein foods, there’s no restriction on how much you can eat during your first two weeks.
The aim is gradual weight loss of up to 2 pounds a week and to promote long-term weight management.
Is the Dukan Diet safe?
The Dukan diet isn’t nutritionally balanced, which is acknowledged by the fact you need a vitamin supplement and a fibre top-up in the form of oat bran.
There’s a danger this type of diet could increase your risk of long-term health problems if you don’t stick to the rules.
The British Dietetic Association said that it is not advisable to cut out entire food groups and even Dr Dukan has said that there are some side effects.
The start of the diet can come with a range of side effects including bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia and nausea from cutting out carbs.
The lack of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables at the start of the diet can also cause constipation.