After reading article after article about The Dukan Diet, I decided I’d give it a try, just to experiment with it. I wanted to see if its really all its cracked up to be, so I went out and purchased plenty of lean protein and prepped food for the week. Yes, its the French diet that the Middleton family made famous in the UK and the US from the time that Kate began prepping for the Royal Wedding. And yes, it is pretty restrictive. That’s why “diets” are not really a good answer to losing weight. Balance and moderation are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. That said, if you are struggling to lose some weight, the Dukan Diet could provide motivation to jumpstart the weight loss process.
The key to this plan is low-carb and low-fat, but LOTS of lean protein. For example, during the first phase, I ate things such as:
- Egg whites
- Fish, like Mahi, Salmon, and Tuna
- Grilled or baked chicken
- Nonfat greek yogurt
- Nonfat cottage cheese
- Lean ground turkey
|Mahi Mahi and Scrambled Egg Whites…definitely a new combination!
In the first phase, the “Attack” phase, you can only have lean protein. That means no veggies, no fruit, no carbs, etc. And according to the plan, you can eat as much lean protein as you’d like, plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day (in order to get necessary fiber). I tended to have breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner, although you can essentially eat whenever you’re hungry. With an all-protein diet, I found that I was often satiated and didn’t ever get hungry between meals. This can definitely be a plus to dieters who have tried other plans and failed because of always being hungry while dieting!
Since I was doing this Dukan plan just as an experiment, I decided to enter my daily food intake into Sparkpeople to check the stats, and I was shocked to see that I was taking in only 700-800 calories per day, but around 100+ grams of protein! Obviously, taking in such a low amount of calories is NOT good for your body, but I was pleasantly surprised at the protein intake. For someone like me, who could live off of vegetables and fruit, I know that I don’t eat enough protein every day. If I learned anything from eating on the Dukan plan, it would be that I’ve learned how to incorporate higher amounts of protein in my daily diet.
After 3 days on the “Attack” phase, I was technically able to move on to the next phase, the “Cruise” phase, which allows you to incorporate low-starch vegetables into your diet every other day, alternating with days of pure protein. At this point, my body craved vegetables, salads, and fruit so much that I gave in and ate a “balanced” meal. I came to the realization that I don’t think its good to truly deprive our body of healthy foods, and on the Dukan Diet, you are doing just that. I’ve always eaten a balanced, healthy diet, and with this diet plan, I was not getting any vegetables, fruit, complex carbs, or healthy fats that I should be consuming.
I chose not to restrict myself anymore with this experiment, but I have been more conscious about including more protein into my diet. I still consume some “pure protein” meals, like a cup of non-fat greek yogurt or a protein pancake for breakfast, or an egg white scramble for lunch. I do not, however, restrict myself from eating fruits and vegetables, because that is just not right.
As I mentioned, if you’re looking for a “quick fix” or a way to jumpstart and motivate you, this could work. I did lose about 5 pounds in 3 days, which is a lot for someone who already eats healthy and is very active. As the diet progresses, you would eventually be able to add in other “healthy” foods, like fruits and veggies and complex carbs, but during the actual weight-loss portion, you can only consume the “pure protein” and alternating days with the addition of vegetables. I say, restrictive diets are NOT the answer, and a balanced diet is the way to go!
Have you ever tried the Dukan Diet? What is your take on this or other diets?