I stumbled upon an informative post that covers the pros and cons of the dukan Diet. Encouraged by its versatile approach to describing pros and cons I decided to put in my two cents’ worth.
The post can be found here (hubpages). The author of that post, Amber Allen, has listed some of the most common charges against the Dukan Diet. I believe she was being objective and garnered the widespread opinions (that I find baseless). Don’t get me wrong, I do not claim that the Dukan Diet is a flawless weight loss program. The thing is I just want my readers to get the both sides of the story.
Problem #1: Health
From a health point of view following a high protein diet like the Dukan Diet can produce a number of different side effects
- High Cholesterol – although losing weight usually helps lower your cholesterol levels in the long-term if you chose your protein sources predominately from high cholesterol foods such as red meat and eggs your cholesterol levels may increase.
- Gout – a high protein diet is just one of many factors that can lead to you suffering from gout. Other things such as your family history, age, gender and level of alcohol consumption also influence whether you are likely to suffer.
- Constipation – On the days you eat only protein the likelihood of being constipated is increased. Dr Dukan recognised this problem and to combat it you are required to drink a lot of water and to eat oat bran. If you do suffer with constipation you may find it helpful to miss out the initial Attack Phase where you eat only protein and go straight to the steady weight loss Cruise Phase where you also eat some vegetables.
Let’s take a closer look at those problems.
High level of cholesterol is not directly connected with foods that contain cholesterol (and not with eggs n particular; see the quote below). Besides, there’s no rule that says one must eat eggs or red meat on Dukan Diet. There’s a variety of other choices. Many overweight and obese people are having problems with cholesterol while not on any diet. On the contrary, their ‘non-diet’, junk food does much more to increasing the level of cholesterol than high-protein food in Dukan Diet.
Researchers reviewed the results of several different studies on eggs and nutrition, concluding that eggs did not contribute significantly to the body’s cholesterol levels. Although eggs are in fact a high-cholesterol food, the researchers note that only one-third of the body’s cholesterol comes from dietary sources; the rest is produced by the body from saturated fats. As a consequence, saturated fat intake plays a far more significant role. Source: www.naturalnews.com
Dukan’s method restricts the saturated fat intake. Moreover, a stable decrease in cholesterol level seems to be the long-term result of losing weight.
I agree, there might be some weak connection between eating meat / seafood and gout. According to Wikipedia:
Dietary causes account for about 12% of gout, and include a strong association with the consumption of alcohol, fructose-sweetened drinks, meat, and seafood.
But in the same time:
Recent studies have found dietary factors once believed to be associated are in fact not, including the intake of purine-rich vegetables and total protein.
The consumption of coffee, vitamin C and dairy products as well as physical fitness appear to decrease the risk.
So basically, if you really believe you’re in a group of high risk, choose diary over meat. There’s not enough evidence to support the hypothesis of the connection between gout and Dukan Diet. If you’re afraid of gout I’d worry about alcohol, sweets and sedentary lifestyle rather than a weight loss program.
I agree that, the Dukan’s menu is poor in dietary fiber but, providing that one follows the instructions closely, the oat bran supplementation should be enough to prevent the constipation problems. Besides, if the oat bran is not enough, after the Phase I, you can have a number of fiber rich vegetables.
Problem #2: Induction Flu
Induction Flu isn’t a type of flu at all it is a colloquialism used to describe the withdrawal symptoms your body experiences as you switch from carbohydrates to protein and your own body fat to fuel your body. Apart from not having a chill or fever the symptoms are very similar to flu. In addition to having a bad headache you can also feel nauseous, lethargic and irritable and be unable to concentrate. The good news(?) is that it should last only 2 to 3 days and if you plan for it to happen it should not divert you from your objective.
There’s not much to argue with here except that the withdrawal symptoms are not caused by the body switching from carbs to fat. A sudden cut in simple sugars supply is more likely to be a reason. Sugar can be addictive as drugs or alcohol. Heavy sugar users can experience a ‘withdrawal syndrome’. The induction flu only proves the extent to what we are addicted to sugar. I agree that this state of transition can be harsh but that is the price one must pay to get clean.
Problem #3: Ketosis
Burning body fat instead of carbohydrate for fuel is known as ketosis and whilst it produces the obvious benefits of weight loss it puts additional burden on your kidneys and liver and in extreme cases causes serious damage. Milder side effects of ketosis are bad breath, a metallic taste in your mouth and strong urine odour.
This is true. Precisely speaking, first there is ketogenesis (the process by which the ketone bodies are produced; completely normal) and then, if certain circumstances occur, ketosis (a state of an elevated level of ketone bodies; still safe if not prolonged). It is worth mentioning that ketosis is nothing to be afraid of unless you are having some serious problems with your kidneys or liver.
If not sure, always consult your doctor before approaching the diet. Not every dieter will accept the mild side effects in form of bad breath or odd taste in his / her mouth. If you can’t live with it for a couple of days the diet is not for you. But when you experience one of the them, you know at least what is going on (the message is: “fat is being burned!“). More on ketogenesis, ketosis and ketoacidosis here.
Problem #4: Nutritional Deficiency
The Attack and Cruise phases of the Diet are very restrictive and if you have a lot of weight to lose you would be on this restrictive diet for some time. You can of course counteract deficiencies by the use of nutritional supplements (…)
If you are overweight or obese it is very likely that you are experiencing nutritional deficiencies right now (not even being aware of that fact). Truth be told, all the foods on a 100 Dukan Diet safe list are very nourishing and healthy. There’s an example of a few foods that are diet compliant and rich in minerals here.
Problem #5: Not suitable for everyone
There are a number of groups of people who would find it difficult or who would not be able to follow this plan. For example it is not suitable for Vegans or Vegetarians and the use of oat bran means than Celiacs (Coelaics) can’t follow this plan. It would also not be suitable for anyone who is pregnant or who has liver or kidney problems.
Abstracting from vegans and vegetarians who, in my opinion, shouldn’t have any problems with their weight (as their way of living is supposed to be nature-friendly)… Sure this diet is not everyone but which one is?
Why would a pregnant woman think of dropping any weight? Is there a weight loss program that is suitable for pregnant women?
As far as the presence of gluten in oat bran is concerned, Celiacs can substitute oat bran with rice bran which is gluten-free.
No one says that dukan Diet is for everyone. It is not. There is not a single diet that would satisfy everybody’s needs. ‘Not suitable for everyone’ is not a problem, it’s a factor that makes me believe that the Dukan Diet is a working method. In my view dukan Diet is not an impractical fad diet but it is a real, healthy diet plan for people who seriously think about losing weight.
Problem #6: Additional costs
I completely disagree with this:
Eating a diet high in protein but low in carbohydrates is more expensive. You can keep costs down by concentrating on eating eggs, poultry and milk products as your forms of protein but if you are going to be on the diet for any length of time you will need the variety that eating meat, fish and seafood will provide. There is also the cost of nutritional supplements to take into consideration.
Starchy food like potatoes, bread, corn, pasta is cheap indeed. On the other hand, after some time on the dukan diet the body adapts to more nourishing food and the fact is the overall amount of food you eat per meal is decreasing. Every dieter should keep in mind that it was most likely too much food that caused his or her overweight problems in the first place. ‘Quality over quantity’ is the key.
There are no supplements (in means of pills and such) recommended on the dukan diet. The diet’s 100 safe foods list consists of natural, easily available foods + oat bran. Everything else (i.e. vitamin tablets or diet coke) is voluntary and, most likely, won’t improve your results anyway.
The restrictive nature of the Attack and Cruise phases are likely to mean that you will need to make considerable changes to your social life.
Can’t argue with that. On the other hand, consider the impact your new, slim, and perfect body will have on your social life. Health and social problems are the two most common reasons to diet. I believe, that people who decide to go on with the Dukan Diet are counting on it to have an impact on their social life! They want to be slimmer, lighter, healthier and so on…
I know that some people would like to party, drink alcohol, eat sweets etc. and still lose weight, be healthy and feel great. You know what? This is not going to happen. You will not lose even a grain by just reading this text…