There isn’t much quality research available on the Dukan Diet. However, one study in Polish women who followed the Dukan Diet revealed that they ate about 1,000 calories and 100 grams of protein per day while losing 33 pounds (15 kg) in 8–10 weeks.
Additionally, many studies show that other high-protein, low-carb diets have major benefits for weight loss.
There are several factors that contribute to protein’s beneficial effects on weight. One is the increase in calories burned during gluconeogenesis, a process where protein and fat are converted into glucose when carbs are restricted and protein intake is high.
Your body’s metabolic rate also increases significantly more after you eat protein than after you eat carbs or fat, and also makes you feel full and satisfied.
Protein also decreases the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases the satiety hormones GLP-1, PYY and CCK, so you end up eating less.
However, the Dukan Diet is different from many related high-protein diets in that it restricts both carbs and fat. It is a high-protein, low-carb and low-fat diet. The rationale for restricting fat on a low-carb, high-protein diet for weight loss and health really isn’t based in science.
In one study, people who consumed fat with a high-protein, low-carb meal burned an average of 69 more calories than those who avoided fat as well.
The initial stages of the Dukan Diet are also low in fiber, despite the fact that a daily serving of oat bran is mandatory. The servings of 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of oat bran contain less than 5 grams of fiber, which is a very small amount that doesn’t provide the many health benefits of a high-fiber diet.
What’s more, several healthy sources of fiber, such as avocados and nuts, aren’t included in the diet because they’re considered too high in fat.
Although no quality studies have been done on the Dukan diet itself, a lot of evidence does support the high-protein, low-carb approach.
The safety of the Dukan Diet hasn’t been studied. However, concerns about the high protein intakes havebeen raised, especially their impact on kidneys and bone health.
In the past, it was believed that a high protein intake could lead to kidney damage. But newer research has shown that high-protein diets aren’t harmful for people with healthy kidneys .
However, people who tend to form kidney stones could potentially see a worsening of their condition with a very high protein intake.
Bone health won’t suffer on a high-protein diet either, as long as high-potassium vegetables and fruits are also included. In fact, recent research suggests that high-protein diets actually have a beneficial effect on bone health.
People with kidney problems, gout, liver disease or other serious diseases should speak with a doctor before beginning a high-protein diet.
As far as the diet’s sustainability goes, the complicated rules and restrictive nature of the diet may make it hard to follow.
Although most people will lose weight in the first 2 phases, overall the diet is quite restrictive, particularly on the “pure protein” days that consist only of lean protein.
The maintenance phases include high-carb foods like bread and starches, but discourage many healthy foods that are high in fat, which may be a bad idea. Including fats found naturally in animals and plants makes a low-carb diet healthier, more enjoyable and easier to stick to in the long-term.
The Dukan Diet is probably safe for most people, but people with certain medical conditions may have problems.
The Dukan Diet Can Work, But It Does Have Issues
True to its claims, the high-protein Dukan Diet can produce fast weight loss. However, it also has several features that may make it difficult to sustain long-term.
Overall, it’s a quick weight loss diet that can work, but forces you to avoid many healthy foods unnecessarily.