the dukan diet

Many people desire rapid weight loss. Fast weight loss might be difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain. The Dukan Diet claims to help people lose weight quickly and permanently without hunger. This is a detailed guide on the Dukan Diet, with Menus, Phases, Food lists and everything you need to know.

What is The Dukan Diet

This diet was created by French physician Dr Pierre Dukan. It is a high protein weight loss diet and in the first stage, the attack phase, is protein only. Eating protein only can help to lose weight fast as protein produces ketonic cells which are a natural appetite suppressant. This is why this diet has a big focus on protein only stages to help reduce weight successfully.

The diet consists of four different phases that each play a part in helping to lose weight and then maintain that weight.

Attack Phase

The attack phase is strictly protein only and as such you lose weight fast during this phase.  This phase will last between one and ten days depending on how much weight you need to lose overall.

You will see immediate weight loss results during this phase which gives a great kick start to your weight loss journey.  However, because this is a protein only phase and you aren’t eating other necessary vitamins, it is very important that you don’t stay on this phase longer than the recommended time.

When you eat protein only, your tissues are purged of excess water, plus your appetite will be reduced, so your body will lose weight fast during this time.

Cruise Phase

The second phase is the Cruise Phase and now you can introduce vegetables into your diet and can eat as many as you like on alternate days.  During this phase you alternate days between one day of protein only and then one day of protein plus vegetables.  You can choose to alternate two days protein then two days protein plus vegetables if you prefer.

During this phase you should continue to lose around one kilogram or two pounds a week and you will continue with this phase until you reach your goal weight.

Consolidation Phase

The third phase is the Consolidation Phase and you can now add bread, fruit, cheese, potatoes and pasta into your diet but there are limits to how much of these you can eat.

You have reached your goal weight so this phase is not for losing anymore weight but rather to stabilize your weight so that you don’t put the weight back on.  This is a very important phase that most other diets don’t have, which is why too often many people just put their weight back on again fairly quickly.

With the consolidation phase you need to complete five days for every 0.5kg that you lost for your body to consolidate the weight loss.  At the end of the consolidation phase your body will have adjusted to your new diet and metabolism and you should be able to keep the weight off.

During the first half of the consolidation phrase you are encouraged to eat one meal a week of your choice and this can consist of absolutely anything.  Then during the second half of the consolidation phase you can eat two meals a week of your choice.

Stabilisation Phase

This is the final phase and once you have reached this phase you can eat whatever you want.  However, it is wise to stick to the basic rules of the consolidation phase (eat unlimited protein and vegetables, two slices of wholemeal bread a day, one piece of fruit a day, some cheese, two starchy foods (e.g. pasta, rice or potato) and two celebration meals a week).

Choose one day a week where you eat protein only for that full day.  This one day of protein only plays a big role in keeping your weight off so it is very important.

The 4 Phases of the Dukan Diet

Exercise During The Dukan Diet

It is recommended to walk briskly for 20 minutes a day which is increase to 30 minutes a day during the cruise phase.  If you already participate in any other exercise program then you could continue with that if it will burn as many calories as the walking.  Walking is just a suggestion, other exercise routines or sports will also be effective if done daily.  You could also vary your routine and have some days walking and other days doing something different.

You do need to continue with the exercise routine even when you reach the stabilisation phase.

Drinking Water

It is important to drink a lot of water with the Dukan diet, you should drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day.  When exercises then you should increase that amount.

Dukan Diet Menu

There’s no set Dukan Diet menu, instead there’s an allowed foods list which contains over 100 different foods which you must stick to but generally you can eat as much as you like. During the Attack phase you’re limited to 72 of the 100+ foods in order to kick-start your diet. The majority of the foods are lean and high in protein which means that you won’t feel hungry all the time like with other diets.

Attack Phase Allowed Foods

Here’s the list of 72 foods that are allowed during the Attack Phase. Additionally you eat 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day, Peirre Dukan recommends you have it as a galette (a pancake).

Meat and offal
Beef steakFillet of beefSirloin steak
Roast beefRump steakTongue
Bresaola, air-dried/wind-dried beefVeal escalopeVeal chop
KidneyCalf’s liverPre-cooked ham slices (without any fat or rind)
Pre-cooked chicken and turkey slices (without any fat or rind)Fat-reduced baconGame (venison, pheasant, partridge, hare, grouse)
BassCod (fresh)Crab/ocean sticks (surimi)
Dab/lemon soleDover soleGrey mullet
PlaicePollock/ColeyRainbow trout/salmon trout
Red mulletSalmonSmoked salmon
SardinesSea breamSkate
WhitingFish roe (cod, salmon, herring)
CrabCrawfish/crayfishDublin Bay prawns
LobsterMediterranean prawnsMussels
Guinea fowlOstrichPigeon
Hen’s eggsQuail’s eggs
Non-fat dairy products
Non-fat cottage cheeseNon-fat fromage fraisNon-fat Greek yoghurt
Non-fat yoghurt (plain or flavoured with aspartame)Skimmed milk
Vegetable Proteins

Cruise Phase Allowed Foods

In the Cruise Phase you can eat all the foods allowed in the Attack Phase plus the vegetables listed below on alternate days.

BeetrootBroccoliCabbage/Kale/Brussel sprouts
French beans/string beans/mangetoutLeekMushrooms
OnionPalm heartsPeppers (capsicum)
Salad leaves: all types of lettuce, rocket etcSoya beansSpinach
SwedeSwiss chardTomatoes

Consolidation Phase Allowed Foods

  • Same as Cruise Phase but you have vegetables every day
  • fruit
  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread with a scrape of low fat spread
  • 1 portion of carbs per week, in the second half this increases to 2
  • 1 celebration meal per week, in the second half this increases to 2
  • back to the Attack Phase for one day per week (same day every week)


  • oat bran pancake
  • turkey ham slices
  • green tea


  • steamed trout/salmon with herbs


  • roast chicken breast (without skin)

Dukan Diet and Constipation

Sadly, constipation is very probable on the Dukan Diet.  It’s caused by high protein and there isn’t much which can be done to avoid this possibility.  That said, there are several things you should make sure you are doing to help.

  • Drink LOTS of water (2.5L a day or more)
  • Eat your daily serving of Oat Bran, this helps digest the protein.
  • Have stool softeners ready.

This is its worst in the Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet and gets a bit better in the second Phase. If you do the steps above, you shouldn’t have much problems.

3 Reasons to Choose the Dukan Diet to Lose Weight

1. Fast Weight Loss Results

One of the main problems dieters often have is a lack of motivation when they don’t see results. When you lose weight quickly, you feel like what you are doing is working and you want to keep doing it. If you don’t feel like you are seeing results, it is hard to keep motivated and stay on course with your diet. The Dukan Diet offers results right away.

You follow it and you lose weight quickly – it’s as simple as that. The reason you lose weight so quickly on with the Dukan Method is that you start out eating only lean proteins in unlimited quantity. As you lose pounds quickly, you will stay motivated to continue the diet even though it may be difficult because you will know that it is working.

2. Maintenance Plan to Keep the Weight Off

A major factor that differentiates the Dukan Diet from other diet plans is the structured approach to maintaining weight loss. In his research and practice, Pierre Dukan found that people have the most trouble knowing what to do after they have lost the weight and need to transition into real life eating.

He developed a plan to help dieters through this transition. After you have lost the weight you want in the first two phases of the diet, the third phase is all about transitioning into normal eating. You stay in this phase a certain number of days based on exactly how many pounds you lost in the previous two phases. In the final phase, you can eat what you like six days a week. On the seventh day, you must follow the first phase of the diet meal plan eating only lean protein. You maintain your goal weight for life by continuing to do this once a week for as long as you want to maintain.

3. Real Food that is Delicious in Every Stage of the Diet

Maybe it’s because he is French but Dr. Dukan does not believe you need to eat fake processed foods, protein shakes and power bars to lose weight. He posits that you can lose weight eating delicious recipes that combine lean proteins with herbs and spices used liberally to create tasty, whole foods in each phase of your diet. In his book and online you can find loads of great Dukan Diet recipes so you can make flavorful dishes during each phase of the diet. No need to sacrifice flavor during your diet. He even offers some lovely dessert recipes for each phase of the diet for those who crave sweets.

Hopefully, these three reasons to choose the Dukan Diet have helped you decide if the method is right for you.


This is the first diet for me that has actually worked and that was reasonably easy to stick to.  There is such a variety of foods that you can eat and the Dukan Diet really teaches you how to eat healthier.  This is more of a lifestyle change and so you do need to have the right attitude going into this diet, but it certainly is a diet that can help anyone to reach their goal weight if they really want to.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have coffee on the Dukan Diet?

Yes!  You can have coffee and tea on the Dukan Diet Plan, however no cream or sugar is allowed.  You can use Splenda or similar to sweeten it and, if you need, a little non-fat milk.
Do not think “just a little cream won’t hurt”, it does.  It will be counteractive to your goal and slow down the weight loss progress.

Can I have splenda on the Dukan Diet?

Yes! You can use Splenda, Stevia or sweet in low during all phases of the Dukan Diet according to Dr. Dukan.
These can really help with sweetening your coffee, tea or anything else that you would normally use Sugar.

Can I used agave nectar on Dukan Diet?

Unfortunately not, while agave nectar is much more of a healthy option than sugar, with its lower G.I., it is still too high in sugar for the Dukan Diet to be effective.

Can you have hamburger on Dukan Diet?

The goal of the Dukan Diets protien day and all of the attack phase is high protein, low carbs and fat.
Hamburger can be had, BUT it must be 93/7 (7% fat or less).
It is critical that you check the fat content. Normal burger meat it 82/20 which is not allowed.

Is sausages allowed on the Dukan Diet Plan?

No, sausage of any form should be avoided while on the Dukan Diet. Sausage is higher in fat and often filled with foods that may not be on your list. Remember, this is not the Adkins diet which consists of higher fat. All foods on the Dukan diet should be low carb and low fat.

I never normally eat breakfast. Do I have to eat breakfast during the attack phase?

Yes, you must eat breakfast during the diet. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It provides you with energy to get through the morning and gives your digestive system a wake-up call. Start by eating something light for breakfast, for example, a non-fat yoghurt or, if you prefer something savoury, a light omelette.

The attack phase of the diet is very restrictive. Do I have to eat meat for every meal?

Whilst meats make up the majority of pure proteins that you are allowed during the attack phase, you can also eat fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products. You do not have to eat a plateful of meat for every meal. You can add sauces to your meat or fish to make them more tasty and interesting to eat. For example, if you like chicken, you can sauté it with chillies, or lemon and capers. How about spicy chicken kebabs or marinated Indian chicken? There are numerous possibilities of how to combine the proteins to make tasty meals to see you through to the cruise phase of the diet.

I work in an office with a canteen. What can I eat for lunch?

Lunch is always tricky when you are on a diet, particularly if you work. If you have a canteen onsite, ask for a meat only dish without sauces or ask if they will make an omelette for you. If this isn’t possible, you will have to prepare your own lunch in advance.

I have to cook for my family. How can I cook a meal that we will all enjoy?

Just because you are on a diet, does not mean you have to cook or eat separately from your family. Many of the recipes for the attack phase can be adapted so that you can enjoy them with your family. You can make Indian chicken and add rice for the family members not on the diet. How about meatballs with rosemary and mint with added spaghetti for your family?

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