Interest in the Dukan Diet rose significantly when it was linked to Kate Middleton's preparations for her royal wedding. Focusing on lean protein and eschewing fat and oils, the diet is divided into four stages. In the first stage, which lasts two to five days, the dieter eats only lean protein and oat bran. The second stage reintroduces vegetables (except starches and avocados), the third stage adds one serving of fruit and two slices of whole-wheat bread per day, and in the fourth stage dieters can eat anything they want, except for one day a week of only lean protein.
The diet's creator, Dr. Pierre Dukan, warns of side effects such as low energy, constipation and bad breath; user reviews confirm these repercussions, and some complain that the weight came back once they finished the diet. The scant expert comments we found on this plan express concern about completely cutting out food groups; one dietitian observes that the Dukan diet is "even stricter than Atkins," and worries that long-term use may lead to nutritional deficiencies (the second and third stages can last for months, depending on how much weight you have to lose). Critics say there's no scientific evidence for this diet's efficacy, and warn about its potential health risks. This diet plan is based on a book, but you can also purchase an online "coaching" plan. Its cost is unclear, however, and users report being disappointed by the service.
A number of media sources (including CBS and ABC News) address the Dukan Diet, but most simply recap its main features, using the same two or three quotes from the same experts. The best source we found was a very brief review from the British Dietetic Association, followed by nearly 500 user reviews on Amazon.com and a review from a registered dietitian at WeightLossResources.co.uk.
1. The British Dietetic Association
The British Dietetic Association calls the Dukan Diet "Offal! There is absolutely no solid science behind this at all." Experts warn against completely eliminating food groups, and Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and BDA spokesperson, says some of the celebrity images depicting weight loss aren't necessarily realistic.
Review: The BDA Announces the Results of Its Annual Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets to Avoid in the New Year, Sian Porter, Nov. 16, 2011
This dietitian reviews the Dukan Diet's basic elements, along with its pros and cons. She also comments that it's "even stricter than Atkins," and expresses concern that using the diet long term may cause nutritional deficiencies.
Review: The Dukan Diet, Juliette Kellow, BSC, RD, Not dated
"The Dukan Diet" receives more than twice as many reviews on the U.K. version of Amazon.com than on the U.S. site. Nearly 500 readers give it 4 stars out of 5, and more than half rave about the diet. Others complain about "coaching" that isn't worth the money, weight loss that's only temporary and undesirable side effects including severe constipation.
Review: "The Dukan Diet ", Contributors to Amazon.com
4. CBS News "The Early Show"
This report recaps the Dukan Diet's basic elements, with brief input from a registered dietitian and a professor of cardiovascular disease. The experts aren't impressed; one says the diet is "not something to do for lifelong weight loss, and especially for lifelong health."
Review: Dukan Diet: Bad Breath, Constipation and Sex Appeal?, Neil Katz, April 19, 2011
The editors of DietSpotlight.com give the Dukan Diet a 3.5-star rating out of 5. They say if you've struggled with using diets and exercise to lose weight, there's not much to set this plan apart from others.
Review: Dukan Diet Review, Editors of DietSpotlight
6. ABC News
This article addresses the supposed connection between the Dukan Diet and the Middletons. It briefly reviews the diet's main components and names a few U.S. stars who have reportedly used it, but includes no expert analysis. A video version of the report contains the same information along with sound bites from the diet's creator, Dr. Pierre Dukan.
Review: 'The Dukan Diet': Meat Lovers' Delight? Eat Meat, Don't Go Hungry and Lose Weight Fast, Plan Claims, Juju Chang and Cathy Becker, April 19, 2011