If you’ve tried the Dukan Diet you’ll know that it’s tough to stick to. And if you’ve spent time with someone on it you’ll think it sounds really quite horrible.
But many of its followers (those who do manage to stick it out) will wax lyrical about how well it works – regardless of the unpleasant side effects some experience early on. And with J-Lo, Carole Middleton and Gisele crediting Dukan for their bods, it seems he's been doing something right.
So to widen the diet’s appeal Pierre Dukan has created a version two. Less extreme than the original and easier to stick to, it’s based on the same principles but is condensed and allows much more veg – something the original diet was severely criticised for.
“The philosophy is exactly the same but the formation is different,” Dukan says. “The first diet I created in 1970 was for people who needed to lose a lot of weight.
“And they needed to do it fast because these were seriously obese people and they needed to keep the motivation going with results.”
He explains that over the years he’s spent time talking to people and realised that though dieting principles were similar for everyone, people need different approaches for successful weight loss and weight maintenance.
Dukan Diet 2
There are still the original four stages – two to lose weight and two to maintain.
But where in the old diet you would have done a week or more for each stage, this changes every day.
“The first part is the attack phase, which is still only protein, but that’s now only one day,” Dukan tells us. “Then on day two you eat protein and add vegetables, then next day there’s an addition of two fruits, and after that you can add a small portion of cheese and wholmeal bread.”
You get one ‘celebration meal’ and then you start at the beginning again. The whole process takes a week.
“You will lose a bit less,” admits Dukan. “But it’s easier and you have the weekend to yourself so you can do things with friends and family more easily.”
Dukan doesn’t seem too worried about he criticism his first diet received. (It’s been voted the worst diet by the British Dietic Association for several years running.) The criticisms centre around how complicated it is (the different phases, the many rules, the French foods) and dieticians’ concerns about cutting out whole food groups for long periods of time.
Dukan says: “If you are obese and you don’t diet you are at risk of so many health problems. That is the worst diet. Just carrying on and not making any changes to lose weight.”
“There is nothing unhealthy about protein and vegetables. It’s not unbalanced. What did humans eat 400,000 years ago, before we had grain-based carbohydrates? We ate what we could hunt and gather – proteins and vegetables and that’s it.
“My diet is not unhealthy. It’s healthy, healthy, healthy because it’s efficient and when you lose weight you make yourself more healthy.”
When he’s asked about the side effects – the bad breath, the constipation and the lack of energy – you can hear that he just sees these as par for the course and doesn’t have a magic solution.
“They don’t last very long, you just have to deal with them for a few days.”
The Real Reason We’re Fat
Dukan clearly has plenty of zeal about beating the obesity crisis. And he agrees 100 per cent with the current wave of advice that demonises sugar and refined carbs, rather than fat.
“In the past the lobbies have tried to make us forget the danger of quick carbs and sugar. We need to publicise it more and give better information to GPs so they can advise patients better
“We need to let the scientists speak out about the problems with white flour and sugar, because all the research is pointing towards them and not to fat now. “
Of course, exercise – or lack of it – is the other major component to the obesity crisis.
“Walking is the best, most natural exercise you can do. It doesn’t make you hungry so it doesn’t neutralise your hard work and it’s vital for health.”
Dukan Diet 2, RRP £14.99, is available nationwide. For more information about Dukan Diet 2 visit www.dukandiet.co.uk.