Dec 19th, 2012
Dr Dukan famed for his Dukan diet used by celebrities, such as the Middletons, Jennifer Lopez and Gisele etc, is suing Dr Cohen for saying that his high protein diet is a health hazard.
I’m not a follower of the diet but what the Dukan diet does right is that it recommends that you should eat real food, banning calorie counting from his diet eating only his “safe” foods.
Dr Cohen’s diet recommends eating 900kcals to 1600kcals a day for Men. This seems pretty low in our eyes and isn’t recommended without the supervision of a physician/qualified nutritionist.
Science seems to back up what Dr Dukan is recommending, when we consume protein roughly 25-30% of it is burned already due to the thermic effect of food, carbohydrates on the other hand seems to burn 5-15% and fats seem to be under debate. (click here to read study)
Insulin is the hormone that regulates the blood sugar by transporting glucose out of the blood stream and into cells around the body to be used as energy. The efficacy of any fat loss programme lies on whether insulin has been taken into account. In most cases it’s impossible to lose fat if insulin levels are constantly elevated, unless you happen to have a lot of muscle or have really good genes!!
During the initial attack phase of the diet it says you should consume only protein for 7 days. This puts a lot of people off because there are no vegetables, no fruits, no carbohydrates, no dairy. Various fat loss programmes call for this type of detox phase.
While researching the Dukan diet, I came across the Cosmopolitan message board and women were having a debate about whether the diet was effective, one contributer stuck out in my mind, as she was convinced the diet was bad because it gave her headaches and left her fatigued.
It’s true to say that food can be an addiction and the above just shows what could happen if we assumed that her diet was sugar laden or full of processed foods to begin with. Even then we don’t know how long she stayed on the diet and what kind of foods she really ate. For some people giving up caffeine can cause headaches, fatigue and impair congnitive function, however so does lack of sleep so it’s difficult to say why the diet didn’t work for her without asking more questions.
The attack phase of the Dukan diet calls for lean protein only and I believe this is continued for as long as you need to get to your desired weight. You are allowed 2 pots of fat free yoghurt throughout the day, and 1 and half tbsp oat bran with this being your only carb intake totalling 35g of carbs which in many fitness circles to be a very low carb diet.
Ketosis is a state in which the body produces ketone bodies during fat metabolism, which means that your body is burning it’s own fat stores as energy. This happens as a result when blood glucose levels are at a minimum.
A study by Kuwait university researching the long term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients concluded that during the 24 week long study a ketogenic diet was more beneficial in reducing body mass, body weight, as well as decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol), there was also a significant decrease in triglycerides, which is a great thing as high triglycerides are linked to a heart disease. (click here to read the study)
They also stated that there were no side effects and using the diet over 24 weeks was perfectly fine.
In conclusion –
The diet seems to tick most of the boxes but falls short on some.
For people that are very active during the week and training intensely are going to need their carbohydrates and this diet may not be for them.
The lack of vegetables is a little unnecessary as you still need fibre in a high protein diet, especially as glucose content in non-starchy vegetables are non-existent. i.e. kale, broccoli, spinach etc
Once you’ve got to a certain stage in the diet, you’re allowed to consume pasta but avoid rice and potatoes.
I recommend searching for gluten and autoimmune diseases and ask yourselves whether avoiding these are a good idea.
(Gluten has been said to cause intestinal villus atrophy, meaning your gut loses the ability to absorb the nutrients you’re getting from food. Calcium not being absorbed can cause osteoperosis in some people.)
I hope this helped understand the diet a little better.