New diets and diet crazes are everywhere these days. Few of them are healthy and are based on science, while others are money-making schemes. And some are just downright dangerous. The Dukan diet is one of those dangerous ones that can wreak havoc on your body and should be avoided.
The Dukan diet recently gained popularity due to celebrity endorsements. It was developed in 2000 by a French doctor, Pierre Dukan, but there’s no science-based evidence that it supports optimal health or long term weight loss. This strict diet limits many foods and severely lacks a balance of nutrients. It’s high in protein but low in healthy fats, cholesterol, and carbohydrates that our bodies actually need. The Dukan diet is broken up into four phases: the Attack Phase, the Cruise Phase, the Consolidation Phase, and the Stabilization Phase.
A menu for a day during the Attack Phase would look like the following:
Rapid weight loss, combined with nutrient deficiencies, does the body significantly more harm than good. Side effects of the Dukan diet may include bad breath, constipation, dry mouth and fatigue. It doesn’t meet basic human nutritional requirements, especially because it greatly cuts down on essential food groups like fruits and vegetables. The diet lacks vitamins A, B2, C and D, as well as folates, potassium and fiber. Due to the unhealthy rate of weight loss, dieters also reported loss of muscle mass. On top of all that, there are high risks of developing gallstones and regaining the weight lost during this diet.
It’s no surprise that the Dukan diet earned its label as one of the five worst diets in the world in 2011. Dangerous diets that promise quick and easy fixes to lose weight are devoid of essential nutrients and will wreak havoc on our health. By equipping people with science-based knowledge, we can avoid these unhealthy and dangerous diets and focus on maintaining a balanced whole food diet that’s paired with regular exercise to help us safely lose weight and keep it off in the long term.