What Is The Dukan Diet And Does It Work?

According to the JFND (Journal of Food Science and Natural Disorders), the Dukan Diet does work better than other low-carb diets that it tested. But at what cost? And were these results attained by those taking the prescribed diet pills at the same time? The diet is broken down into 4 phases, with the first 2 being incredibly restrictive, allowing virtually no carbs during their phases.

This begs the question that we will discuss below, is this diet healthy? Can you stay on this diet for the long term? And just exactly how much weight can you lose on this type of diet? How does the diet actually work?

The Dukan Diet

But first, we need to get the disclaimer out of the way.

Disclaimer: The following is for educational purposes only. We are not advocating a change in dietary, health, or exercise protocols. Please seek the advice or council of your nutritionally educated health care practitioner before engaging in any dietary or exercise changes.

What Is The Difference Between The Dukan Diet And Keto Diet?

The keto diet focuses on getting you into ketosis, a state where you’re producing ketone bodies to be metabolized as fuel by breaking down fat for their manufacture. Dukan relies on the near absence of carbohydrates to supposedly draw out as much fat to use as fuel as possible.

Dukan also goes into effect over 4 phases: stage 1 Attack, stage 2 Cruise, stage 3 Consolidation, and stage 4 Stabilization. Keto does not go in phases like that and in our mind, Dukan has to do the phases because it’s so restrictive that people need to constantly be looking forward to the next phase of the diet or they will quit the phase they are on.

In our opinion, both Dukan and Keto are not diets that we would put clients on. They are too restrictive, cannot be maintained for the long term without health consequences, and are even damaging in the short term.

You’re a human, any diet that tells you to stop eating copious amounts of fruits and vegetables is not healthy, nor can it be adhered to for the long haul. These types of diets are just ridiculous at best and quite harmful, or even life-threatening at worst.

Is The Dukan Diet Healthy?

There are many examples of people dying from keto and possibly Dukan, here is just one: “Indian actress Mishti Mukherjee died of kidney failure at the age of 27, due to complications related to her keto diet” https://thebeet.com/indian-actress-mishti-mukherjee-27-dies-of-kidney-failure-related-to-keto-diet/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

It’s reported that many have died on the Dukan as well, but at the time of writing the only one we could find for sure is this guy who nearly died:


The creator, a Frenchman the name of Pierre Dukan, has been charged with money laundering and fraud in French courts after selling 11 million copies of the diet book and countless numbers of pills that the dieters are prompted to take.

It is thought by experts that the pills, and not the diet, are responsible for the weight loss people experience. Even though people did lose weight, it was short-lived. Over 80% of the people had gained all the weight back and more by the end of just 4 years.

So, is this diet healthy?

No. There are many articles in prominent magazines touting this as one of the top 5 worst celebrity diets of the year and, many even say, of all time.

The number of people who experienced constipation on the diet number in the millions, according to one researcher who did not want to be named for fear of retribution.

Severe constipation causes quite a bit of inflammation in the body, which is horrific enough on its own. But then, when you start to think about how toxic that was making people, it’s insane.

In our opinion, there is just no way we could ever give this diet a clean bill of health, and in our opinion, anyone who does has not thought it through.

How Effective Is The Dukan Diet At Weight Loss Really?

This is one of the main controversies about this diet. Several experts believe that the diet didn’t really do too much to help you lose weight, and instead, it was the stimulant-based diet pills that he sold along with it.

In our assessment, we feel that the theory of the pills doing all the heavy lifting (all the work) and getting the results is quite likely accurate.

The reason is that he advocates that you can eat as much as you want as long as you are only eating meat and oat bran. The oat bran, of course, is to move the food through you, or you might suffer from an impacted colon. It’s not something you want to have to live through.

Any diet that tells you that you can eat as much meat as you’d like and that you’ll lose weight is generally erroneous.

You have to remember one thing. There is a law of weight loss that really cannot be broken. If you take in more calories than you burn off, you will gain weight. If you take in less calories than you burn off (metabolize), then you should lose weight.

We say should because there are a few factors that control these situations, mostly on the weight loss side. Yeah, bummer, we know.

One of these factors is that if you take in too few calories, your metabolism will slow down to compensate for the calorie reduction.

This can end up putting you on a plateau where you don’t see any weight loss until you fix that problem.

Once you do, you should be good to go and weight loss should resume.

Is The Dukan Diet Low Carb?

Yes, it is an extremely low-carbohydrate diet that advocates eating meats such as beef, pork, chicken, and fish while only consuming the fiber from oat bran to push it all through you.

We consider this to be a foolish way to diet that could have short and long-term consequences on your health. If you choose to do this diet, please consult your nutritionally educated healthcare practitioner before engaging in it. If they have any common sense, they should tell you to steer clear of it.

What’s The Deal With Oat Bran And The Dukan Diet?

The premise of this diet, for at least the first two of four phases, is that you consume protein from animal sources such as pigs, cows, chickens, and fish, along with taking enough oat bran fiber to push it through your digestive tract.

They espouse that the absence of carbohydrates will stimulate the biochemical pathways to instruct the body to burn more fat for fuel.

This is true. This does happen.

The challenge is that they tell people to eat as much meat as they want. It’s very easy to overeat meat. By overeating, we mean too many calories.

As an example, if you trim a ribeye steak really well, an 8oz steak has about 622 calories. If you have just 3 meals a day, you’re at 1,866 calories just for the steak, and then you snack on some broiled salmon and chicken drumsticks, and you could find yourself at 2,800 calories pretty darn fast and still be hungry.

Because you need to remember, that’s all you get to eat, nothing else to fill you up.

One real problem is that this is a lot of animal fat.

There are many studies that would have researchers having fits if they studied your arteries after a few weeks of this, let alone a few months.

Plus, even with the oat bran, you’re going to feel like you’re sailing on the Titanic every time you need to poop.

You have literally nothing to add water volume to your stools to help soften them up. You’ve heard the old expression “pooping a brick.” Well, that will be you all right.

This, by the way, was one of the top complaints of the diet’s participants.

The Dukan Diet

Is The Dukan Diet Sustainable Long Term?

Not only no, but heck no.

You’ll be lucky if you make it two weeks on this thing before you think you just split your bum in two.

You see, as we discussed above the diet has you eating only protein from cow, pig, chicken or fish and taking oat bran to force it through your digestive tract.

In truth, if you don’t get an impacted colon, you’ll be doing great.

Sure, you’ll lose weight if you weigh your foods and consume say 300 to 500 calories under your basal metabolic rate.

However, if you do as they prescribe and eat as much meat as you want you could find yourself gaining weight, hardening your arteries and having to say a prayer every time you head to the toilet.

Does that sound sustainable to you?

We didn’t think so.

But it’s the truth. It’s why people have had medical emergencies and near death experiences on this diet.

We are not joking, here is just one of those cases. You can click the link and when you close it, you’ll be right back here, no worries, you won’t lose your place, it opens in a new window.


Is The Dukan Diet Just For 4 Weeks?

No, it’s for four phases each of which can last a few weeks with the final phase being meant to be longer term. Most of the diet’s participants say on forums that they found it too restrictive and constipating to stay on for more than a week or two at best.

Be sure to read the rest of this article if you just landed here after searching this one question so that you can get an overall idea of what the diet is all about.

Is The Dukan Diet Good For Bodybuilding?

No, not at all. It’s not even good for your cutting phase. There are no plant nutrients in this diet for at least the first two phases of it. You need a lot more than just protein to build muscle, you have to have all sorts of enzymatic reactions that need vitamin C, B vitamins and mineral that you’re not getting on this type of diet. Without them, muscle building will come to a scratching halt.

Then, if you’re looking for a distended abdomen and belly bloat, diet down on this diet. You’ll have such a hard time bringing your waist in to have that small waist appeal that it’s not even funny.

Bodybuilders, just stay way. Plus, this diet will more than likely cause some pretty severe joint pain from the inflammation it will have to cause if you were on it for any length of time.

Not good for heavy lifting, that’s for sure.

Can You Drink Coffee On The Dukan Diet?

Yes, you can, you just can’t put in any creamers or sweeteners of any type, even the artificial ones, because they stimulate your tastebuds, and you will secrete insulin to some degree as a result.

This diet relies on keeping insulin very low. So, sweeteners are out of the question.

Can You Have Sugar On The Dukan Diet?

No, not. This diet is founded on the principle that low insulin leads to fat loss. There is one challenge, though. The incredibly high meat content of the diet does actually secrete insulin.

It’s well documented that a vegan diet increases insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering total insulin levels as less is needed to do the same job, and meat-centric diets actually raise it, as shown here: “Another mechanism through which a vegan diet may influence IGFBP-1 levels is via enhanced insulin sensitivity. A diet low in saturated fat and high in dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates may reduce insulin secretion, both directly by reducing the postprandial glycemic response and indirectly by reducing adiposity, causing a large increase in the production of IGFBP-1 within the liver.” Taken from number 8 in the sources below.

In conclusion: It is our opinion that you should not engage in the Dukan diet. It is not effective without taking diet pills, and it has been indicated to have many adverse reactions and health challenges.


1. https://bibliotekanauki.pl/articles/871844

2. https://www.jem-journal.com/article/S0736-4679(14)00714-8/fulltext


4. https://www.realfooddietitians.co.za/category/popular-diets/

5. https://dspace.nuph.edu.ua/bitstream/123456789/14967/1/358.pdf

6. https://www.sciforce.org/index.php/JFND/article/view/73

7. https://forums.digitalspy.com/discussion/1508149/im-starting-the-dukan-diet-today-anyone-had-any-success-with-this

8. https://aacrjournals.org/cebp/article/11/11/1441/166662/The-Associations-of-Diet-with-Serum-Insulin-like