What is the Dukan Diet? Who is Pierre Dukan?

August 11, 2011

in Introduction

When you look into Dukan’s books, you will see, that what he is presenting there is not just another menu that you need to stick to in order to lose weight. In his works, Dukan looks at the problem of obesity from the perspective of his 30 years of research and practice*. At some point Dukan came to a conclusion that dieting and losing weight is not just about starving.

The Dukan Diet, a smart method

In Dukan’s opinion, the way people think and feel about food is as crucial as the kind, quality and quantity of what they eat. (That being so, like I said in the footnote,  dr Dukan specializes, apart from nutrition, in eating behavior habits). So, there’s a proper food selection on one hand and eating behavior patterns on the other.

According to Dukan, to lose weight (and keep it off) one needs to apply a holistic method that uses both approaches. In addition, during the course of time as more and more people were using his system, Dukan realized that, even with his smart line of attack, dieters tend to go off the course.

So, after some time, he added more to his method.

The Book of My Weight

Knowing that there’s a need for customizing diet plans for every single patient dr Dukan brought ‘The Book of my Weight’ into existence.

In collaboration with other distinguished physicians, doctors and nutritionists, Dukan created a questionnaire to determine so-called “weight personality” and discover the very reasons of one’s obesity or weight gaining.

With this knowledge at hand a book, that once had been the same for everybody, could then be personalized to meet every dieter’s personal needs. Indeed, ‘The Book of my Weight’ project brought a unique copy of a diet handbook for every single dieter.

After the success of his first works, Dukan took his crusade against obesity a step further.

According to www.pierredukan.com, the beginning of the project dates back to 2002 and had been considered a huge innovation back then. In fact, “My Weight Book” is still available on the net, although the mentioned site looks somehow ”abandoned’.

In 2002, 32 doctors from all fields specializing in weight problems and a team of artificial intelligence engineers met on a Mediterranean island to work on a (…) a book written for a single person that would take all their personal features into account…
(Source: www.pierredukan.com/en/the-personalized-book.html)

To receive a copy of personal diet handbook, customer is asked to fill in an elaborate survey. The questionnaire consists of 154 questions grouped together in 12 chapters. The questions are detailed and they address various issues including:

  • your motivation,
  • weight history,
  • menu and eating patterns
  • taste and preferences
  • social and family life and much, much more.

Pretty impressive.After one got past all the questions, human experts and AI system analyze and assess the answers. 8 to 10 days later a brand new, personalized copy of a book is ready. The cost: $69 for printed version or $35 USD for PDF.

Even though the freshness of the approach to personalized dieting, printing (or e-mailing as a pdf document) a single copy of the book for every single customer seems a bit old-fashioned today.

It seems like the newest approach, namely the coaching service, now being heavily promoted by Dukan, is gaining more publicity and dieters attention.

This way or another, if you would like to see all the 150+ questions from the original list click below to download it in PDF:

The Book of My Weight (Questionaire) (1574)

Coaching Services: It’s about healthy life, it’s about money

After the launch of the English version of ‘The Dukan Diet Book’, the official site introduced a new and less complex survey that assesses a dieter immediately and is a selling tool that sells coaching services an introduction to starting the diet.

A quote from the official site:

Being coached means being understood, guided and steered from one phase of the diet to the next, primarily it means you stand the best chance of losing weight but most importantly you continue to be monitored during the consolidation and stabilization phases which are crucial.
(Source: http://www.pierredukan.com/en/index.html)

Sweet-talk but true. The coaching service promises as follows:

  • an initial analysis with just 11 questions to answer,
  • daily monitoring via e-mail (a plan for the day in the morning and a progress report in the evening),
  • a direct chat with Pierre Dukan himself
  • and more including a special diet feng-shui for your bathroom or kitchen (such as tips on how to make enough room in your fridge to stuff it with ‘100 dukan diet compliant’ foodstuffs which is funny but still… very practical).

Personally, I value Dukan and his people for being able to enter the competitive diet market with such an impact the work they’ve done to popularize their weight loss method. If truth be told, sure… it’s about money after all. I am not really surprised that the Dukan Diet comes in for harsh criticism.

Quote:

Go to the Dukan web page. Use the calculator and try putting in various weights [within reason] as your target. And lo and behold the calculations will come out to within a pound of what you aim for!!! It’s not a calculator at all, it is a selling tool.
(Janie, Hampshire, 20/4/2010 06:58, Source: dailymail.co.uk / comments)

What is the Dukan Diet?

As you can see above, dr Pierre Dukan is a busy man. Many books, many projects and he even manage to chat with his customers.

The Dukan Diet is the diet I like. In my opinion it is a healthy eating plan that has evolved from ‘a menu to follow’ into a smart system that takes peoples’ most common eating & dieting behavior patterns into consideration. And don’t be tempted to just ignore the latter.

4 Phases of The Dukan Diet

In a few words, Dukan Diet is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet divided into four stages: the first 2 to lose weight, 2 to keep it off.

The diet is simple, the menu is diversified and the promise is that you can stay slim for good. Sounds really cool, but first you need to go through the four aforementioned stages (called phases) which are:

Phase I – Attack – Short (max. 10 days), bringing immediate and spectacular weight loss to drive your motivation. Limited menu, mostly protein rich products.

Phase II – Cruise – The actual slimming process. You stick to the phase 1 menu but enrich it with some (but not all) vegetables.

Phase III – Consolidation – After achieving your ideal weight you need to stay in this buffer zone for some time to let you body and mind get accustomed to this new situation.

Phase IV – Life-long Stabilization – This phase is not really a dieting process itself (in terms of what people usually mean by dieting, i.e. slimming). This phase is more like a contract with yourself. For the rest of your life you promise yourself to eat protein rich foods on every Thursday, supplement your meals with oat bran and walk for as long as 30 minutes everyday. For that dr Dukan promises you that your lost pounds will never come back. Do you want to see?

Is Dukan Diet good or bad?

There are many voices for and against the Dukan’s method. I wrote a report gathering all the opinions for and against the diet in more detail.

Are wondering if this diet is for you? There’s nothing easier than just to give it a try. Here’s why:

  1. In it’s basic form, following the dukan’s system require no considerable financial outlays.
  2. The food you eat is nothing fancy and there are no pills, powders or medicines you need to be equipped with.
  3. You don’t even need to buy any books. Begin with what is presented at this site, browse for more detailed info, leave a comment, ask if anything is not clear.
  4. Read about the Phase I and simply start losing weight with Dukan Diet.

(*) ‘Food Behavior’ Controversy

According to his official bio note:

Pierre Dukan, nutritionist for over 30 years, is a specialist in food behaviour.
(Source: Official Bio Note)

I’ve seen people laughing at the latter epithet since it’s a bit vague and imprecise. Despite my efforts to research some information on ‘food behavior’ in combination with nutrition I didn’t find anything that makes sense. I’d say he is a specialist in ‘eating behavior patterns’. But that’s just a minor detail.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sadhna March 1, 2012 at 12:21 PM

1)can a Vegetarian follow up that Diet?
2)If I follow the Diet only during the day and eat rice supper time,Do I loose little bit of weight?

Reply

2 Margie November 24, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Thank you for all the information. I’ve been on Dukan for 5 days. I really like it and don’t see a problem sticking to it. I only had to loose about 6 pounds. The only problem is I haven’t lost any weight. The first couple of days I was eating dairy that had more than 6% carb without realizing. But I cut that out and after that I’ve been doing it perfectly. I want to continue because i like it but am a bit frustrated. Ideas? Thank you

Reply

3 dieta dukan November 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Very useful information, thanks. I think the motivation is the most important thing.

Reply

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