Could this be the real reason the French aren’t fat?
“My diet is no fad, it’s a way of life,” explains Dr. Pierre Dukan on his four-phase program that vows to strip your body of excess fat.
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Based on the fact that our size depends on the number of fat cells (adipocytes) stored in our bodies, the more you have the more prone to weight gain you will be.
On Dukan, you will be shrinking these cells, allowing your weight to stabilize.
Dukan sets out 100 foods for you to choose from, 72 of which are lean proteins such as fish, chicken, fat free yogurt and tofu, and the remaining 28 are vegetables including green beans, celery or courgettes (that can be eaten without restriction).
In the first two stages, fruit is forbidden along with sugar and all fats, which is where the difference with Atkins is established. Atkins actually allowed fats — this is not the case with Dukan. All meats are lean and any dairy product must be 100 per cent fat free.
During this phase you will be eating nothing but protein (steak, veal, crab, salmon, non-fat dairy and eggs) for up to 10 days. At this point, eating fruit or vegetables is forbidden.
The lowdown: You may experience bad breath and a dry mouth so drink plenty of water. The plan allows up to three tablespoons of oats a day, for digestion. You are also allowed to drink tea, coffee (sweetener is allowed) and diet drinks.
In this phase you will be alternating two diets. If one day you eat nothing but protein, on the next you will be able to eat unlimited amounts of vegetables (check those you choose have the Dukan seal of approval) to complement. Remain in this phase until you reach your desired weight.
The lowdown: At this stage, rules are the same as for the attack phase although your diet becomes more flexible and therefore easier to follow.
“At this point, you will need to commit to radical and permanent changes in your diet if you want to keep the weight off,” says Dukan.
The highlights: You are allowed to eat fruit (one piece a day), carbs (two slices of bread) and 40g of hard cheese a day and twice a week, you can enjoy a “gala” dinner that includes a meal of your choice (you can tuck into a cheesy risotto or pizza).
You’ve lost those love handles, so now what? You can go back to eating what you want but (there had to be a but) introduce protein Thursday’s for more or less the rest of your life.
It’s all about developing a structured meal plan.
“Of course, many people slip back to their old ways and I would say a good 50 per cent stop following the rules bought on by stress, heartbreak or commitment issues,” says Dukan.