dukan diet review scam weight lose

Dukan Diet Review – Will You Lose Weight Or Is It Another Scam?

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The Dukan Diet was created by Pierre Dukan, a French physician, over ten years ago. His book claims that over 5 million French people have lost weight with this diet plan. It’s gained some popularity recently with endorsements from the likes of and Jennifer Lopez who claims to have used the Dukan Diet to lose their pregnancy weight. Basically, the Dukan Diet consists of a four phase plan…

[UPDATE] I had originally said that Giselle Bundchen also used the Dukan diet, but it turns to not be true. While researching for this article I had seen the claim on many reputable sites (including webmd), but after posting it we were contacted by Giselle’s assistant who said that Giselle Bundchen has never done the Dukan diet.

Dukan Diet Phases

  • Phase one (Attack) will bring back memories of the Atkins Diet with its focus on high protein intake. No calorie counting, just eat as much as you want as long as it is from the approved lean protein sources. You’re also required to eat 1 1/2 tablespoons of oat bran and 1 1/2 liters of water each day.
  • Phase two (Weight Loss) adds in some non-starchy vegetables and continues with mostly low-fat protein. Both are allowed in unlimited portions.
  • Phase three (Stabilization) still allows unlimited amounts of protein and vegetables but with more variety, plus you get a little fruit and grains.
  • Phase four (Cruise) promises that you can eat whatever you want without yo-yoing as long as you eat three tablespoons of oat bran, follow this high protein diet, walk 20 minutes per day and always take the stairs.

Okay so that’s how the Dukan Diet works. Sounds reasonable and well thought out. I guess I can see why so many people would find the this diet appealing. Unlimited portions, no weight regain, 20 minutes of easy exercise all sound so simple and easy to do, but you can check it out for yourself if you like.

I had originally posted a pretty negative review of the diet posted and still stand by the statements that I made, but I decided to remove most of it for two reasons.

dukan diet review

$15.60 on Amazon if you want to check it out for yourself.

First and foremost, the whole page was taking on a negative tone that I didn’t like. Some commentors where rational and explained why I wrong in a calm clear manner and I will leave those comments up. Others though were rants and diatribes that had no useful purpose. Those were removed. It’s my own fault of course, my strong words attracted too much negativity and that’s not the tone we want for this site.

The other reason is that so many people came to the defense of the Dukan Diet and nobody agreed with my opinion that I must be wrong and should give it a second look. We would love to continue to hear from those who have tried it and can offer an opinion as to it’s effectiveness.

The comments here have been all positive, but click the book and check out the reviews on Amazon. Most of them agree that the Dukan Diet is pretty good, but there are a number of people who agree with my original opinion that it is not. No one single diet is for everyone though so check it out for yourself for now. I will try to update my review soon. Maybe a second read will fill in some of the inconsistencies and issues I saw the first time round. Or maybe I’ll come up with the same opinion and reword it in a less offensive way… we’ll see.

Randy “Humble Pie” Lee

24 Responses to “Dukan Diet Review – Will You Lose Weight Or Is It Another Scam?”

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  1. Hannah B says:

    I just ordered the Dukan Diet book and was a little skeptical at first but after hearing so much positive responses about it. I’m gonna start it. I got 20-30 pounds to lose so hopefully I can do this. Honestly, I really DISLIKE counting calories. It takes a lot outta me. Idk that’s the way I feel. Hopefully it will work for me. My husband thinks its a quack but I’m willing to prove him wrong. :-)

  2. clea says:

    I’ve just been recommended the Dukan diet by someone my husband thinks is a quack! The practitioner says it’s the right one for me, and that it will help with my bad back (muscular pain, nothing mechanical), as well as the obvious weight loss benefits – I need to lose about 35lbs. I must say the whole idea of the Attack phase fills me with horror (I’m now on day 3) – the thought of eating so much meat is really gross to me. I am a HUGE fan of carbs, but there is a little bit of me that thinks this is probably the reason I’m fat! So we’ll see … I am going to follow it for 5 days in total on the attack phase, then will try one day protein/one day protein and veg for a while. The main thing that worries me is all the toxins in all that meat, and the cancer risk. Of course I am putting myself hugely more at risk of cancer (not to mention diabetes) by being so overweight … Since reading up more on various diets, I am more drawn to a low GI diet, which actually is not so dissimilar to the Dukan. BTW, I’ve lost 2.5 lbs so far.

  3. jer says:

    Ive been on thee diet for 8 days, with an eleven lb loss. Id say for me thats a success. Quite an easy one.

  4. Phil says:

    Hey Randy,
    I have been actively following many diet reviewers for some time now as I have been more or less following the Dukan Diet since Canadian Thanksgiving, Oct 11, 2011 and enjoy the balanced position you bring: raving neither one way nor the other. This is my first diet, I am nervous about side effects, and so I keep looking for them in myself. So far nothing serious except weight loss!
    I started at 307 lbs and tipped the scales under 250 this morning for the first time since 1996. My personal goal is 240lbs so I am still in the cruise phase. I can’t say I never deviate from the diet as I refused to lose my quality of life… For instance… I like a drink or three pretty much every w/e and, while I no longer drink beer, I have found that a rye and diet ginger is a fine replacement.
    My wife does not follow the diet and I am the cook of the house adding further to the challenge (in addition my university age son is still at home and needs to eat well). Some creativity and flexibility on all of our parts has let me mostly stay the course… I skip the rice or potato and stick with the salads and veggies (on veggie days) or make low chol omelets etc on protein days… everyone is on their own for breaky and lunch. I haven’t had any dessert other than sugar/fat free yogurt but not that big a hardship…
    I believe a big part of the success for me has been my wife’s diabolical plan… two years ago in an effort to get me off my duff he brought a puppy into the home… The plan worked from day 1 as I walked at least a bit but weight loss eluded me until “The Dukan”. I am up to about 45 minutes a day walking and I have no sore knees or back, also the 200 various crunches I am now able to do can’t hurt.
    Similar to a previous commenter I was borderline sleep apnea… gone. I had other sillier issues i.e. trouble clipping my toenails due to big ole pot belly…gross but true. I now have manicured nails. Have lost bt 4 and 5 inches around my waist causing some clothing challenges but being a pack rat I have a bunch of older pairs of pants around and I am no longer bulging out of my XXL shirts anymore (note I am 6’5″)…
    I totally beleive in the diet… for me.
    I will reach my goal, continue to exercise, have modified and continue to modify what I eat. The diet does work and for me the wieght loss is needed… but so is balance… so my advice (AND IT IS WORTH WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT) is… eyes open, be critical, be smart…don’t be fanatically prescriptive unless that is the ONLY way for you to succed (and even then only for as long as you have to be)… learn how your body reacts to foods, exertion and stress.
    I DO have to think those nutritionists know something… at least the slim and fit ones…

    • randy says:

      Great work Phil! I remember how awesome it felt getting back below 300 lbs and then 250 and then 200. No more sore knees on the stairs, much less back pain, easier breathing (I had full blown apnea), etc… and you’re not alone with the toenail thing. You’ve got a great story there and a some good food for thought for anyone considering the Dukan Diet. Thanks Phil!

  5. Sonia says:

    I tried it and lost 10 lbs in the first week, but it was supper hard. The side effects are terrible… bad breath, constipation and crankiness… I gave up on it after 3 weeks and I slowly gained all the weight back. I decided to try the Tracy Anderson Method… It’s an exerciser and diet (eating healthy) program. You work out an hour a day (30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes workout), 6 days a week and every 10 days you switch your work out. It’s a 90 day program. It sounds really hard, but seriously it is not. I have been doing it for 2 weeks and I’m a teacher; married with 2 kids. It’s so much fun. The cardio is like dancing. My kids and husband sometimes join in. I dropped 3 lbs in 5 days and a dress size. After trying so many fad diets I decided that working out and eating healthy is going to be a life style for me. I had severe insomnia for 3 years and since I started working out, I have been sleeping through the night. I can’t wait to finish the 90 day program, but I will never stop working out.

  6. Heather says:

    I can tell you that I was very excited to try the Dukan Diet and found it to be a huge success!
    Let me begin by stating that before children I weighed 98 lbs. at a height of 5’2″. Not very healthy actually… After three pregnanices I found myself weighing 140-145 lbs. I tried various ways of losing the extra weight, all of them worked for the moment, long term…not so much. I was miserable! The yo-yoing truly affected my life.
    Enter the Dukan diet! I can tell you that the book, along with using the website (which I never paid for, I simply used their free “True Weight Calculator” I am happier and healthier than I hvae ever been in my life!)
    My true weight is actually 123 lbs., which is much healthier looking than my pre or post pregnancy weight. But for me, it isn’t even really about the scale, rather how I feel. I am no longer wearing size 8 or 10, but a very consistent size 3/4. I have been in the final phase since last April and have maintained this with such ease!
    On top of all of this, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus at the age of 12. I am now 35. Since completing the Dukan Diet and being in the final phase, for the first time in my whole life, all of my tests have come back showing major improvement! My body is finally functioning properly!

  7. George says:

    All these diet choices today!! How do you know which is best for you?
    This article mentions that the Dukan Diet is advertised as a long term solution. While I don’t know if many people can stick to strict diet plans for life, I do know that it takes a life change to lose weight. Staying with a diet for the long term may be tough, but this is the answer to losing weight. Healthy eating and exercise for life is a huge commitment but it can be done. My site offers some other info about this diet and many others.

  8. vm says:

    My uncle died at age 41 and was as healthy as they come. He died from complications to pneumonia and went into cardiac arrest. He never smoked, drinked alcohol, and always, and I do mean always, ate healthy. He used to get after us for eating greasy food, smoking cigarretes, and drinking at family gathers. That was so annoying sometimes!! However, I can not tell you how much I miss him and how he would encourage me to loose weight. I have read the book and enjoy the MEAT. I have already seen some changes in me. And its only been two days!!! I have tried the south beach diet, atkins, and weight watchers without success. I suggest to read the entire book and re-read parts that you might now understand. I plan to stick with this diet for a goo while until I get down to my desired weight. I needed to make a life change and this was the way to go for me. Everyperson is different. Some people think they have to work out constantly, some do lap bands/gastric bipasses, and others choose these diets. To each their own. Don’t knock it till you try it. I have to give two thumbs up to Dr. Dukan.

  9. randy says:

    Nice rant, very passionate. The funniest part is that you call me naturally thin. LOL!!!

    You could lose a lot more weight by getting that chip off your shoulder…

  10. Robin says:

    I love this diet- it is the first where I feel good! I don’t feel deprived, did the Attack Phase for the first 5 days and found it so easy I continued with it for 5 more as I have more weight to lose. I am now in the second phase and am eating more vegetables than ever before. There are some great recipes including pizza made from cauliflauer – too good to be true! I drink lots of water, get more exercise, and have dropped 20 lbs in less than 2 months. My niece has lost about 30 lbs and has kept it off for over a year. I have tried all the other diets, and this is the one for me.

  11. Marc says:

    I agree with Rebecca, not to sound rude but did you read the whole book? Because it does not look like it with the comments you have made. I believe I understand my body more now than I ever did. I read the book (twice) on my 41st birthday when I weighed 118.5 kgs today I weigh 94kgs I have not been this light in 11 years. I feel great have tons of energy, did my first triathlon 2 weeks ago, I could not even have contemplated this 3 months ago.

    I put this to you, fat people already have an unhealthy relationship with their food, hence that’s why they are fat. The last 50 years we have been told to eat a balanced diet and guess what it has not worked. There is more obese people than ever.
    Over eating is no different than alcoholism. We know that you just can’t tell an alcoholic to stop drinking, it just does not work. You have to hold their hand and guide them to the right path and get them to make a choice. This is what Dukan is trying to do. Yes the first phase is “lean” protein only but for a very limited time. The second phase the veggies kick in and it’s very easy to follow no counting and weighing. After three weeks you have no cravings for food due to your blood sugar levels being stable, probably for the first time in many years. Secondly you simply cannot eat as much as you used too. I found that to start with i ate a lot however as time went past I found that I could only eat much smaller portions.
    Then after the 3rd phase you are eating as you suggested healthy balanced diet. However you had to be shown how to get there and set up your body to both physically and mentally except this as normal eating habits. So whats worse being over weight for the rest of your life or giving Dukan ago because really you have nothing to loose other than the weight.
    So for me Dukan is a journey that will last forever. I been given the skills to obtain weight loss and I know there is no going back.


    • randy says:

      Wow Marc, that’s really awesome. The weight loss is great, but a triathlon… that’s pretty sweet, congratulations! I hope you continue to have success with it.

      As for your question, yes I read the book and I strongly disagree with it. However, I’m glad to see people come and defend it as long as they (as you have) emphasize following with all four phases. I stand by my opinion, but hopefully if someone who is interested the Dukan Diet sees our conversation, they will be motivated to see it through.

      Thanks for the input Marc. Take a look around the rest of the site and you’ll see how much I agree with you about why people are overweight and alcoholism for that matter.

      – Randy

    • DELIA says:

      Hi Mark,
      When I started Dukan Diet I had sleep apnea, diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure. I was very careful with the water for fear of kidney.I had tests every 3 mo for progress and I amazed my physician,
      my cardiologist , my sleep specialist since ALL tests became NORMAL.
      I am very surprised that I could not find double blind reliable tests to explain this.Only confusion with Atkins Diet. SO WRONG!

  12. Blessed Mahogany says:

    Wow…your review is clearly your opinion and everyone is entitled to one. But I just want to add that I’ve been on the Dukan Diet and that the 2 phases are no longer technically a “diet”. Those are the staging where you’re learning to keep the weight off. The first phase which you say bothers you most about being unhealthy really isn’t that bad. The longest it is, is 10 days. For people like me who had a smaller weight loss goal, I was only supposed to be in phase 1 for 2 days. So it really wasn’t that serious. I had grilled chicken, tuna w/o mayo, sardines, egg whites, greek yogurt, etc. and had no problems with it. At no time did I feel hungry and my health is just fine. My goal was to lose 10 pounds, and I lost 14. I’ve kept it off and learned so much from the Dukan Diet. It’s a very simple “diet” to follow. And again…the last 2 phases aren’t really even a “diet” anymore. I struggled my whole life trying to follow something consistent and find results and found that the Dukan Diet worked for me. People just have to do what works for them, and this works for me.

  13. Rebecca says:

    As a follower of the Dukan diet the past three months, I find your review severely short-sided. I don’t think you should criticize the method without taking time to read the book, which you clearly haven’t.

    You said that Dukan promises “that you can eat whatever you want without yo-yoing”. This is exactly opposite of what is said in the book. In the stabilization phase of the diet, which lasts indefinitely, it is not just a free for all. You use the concepts learned in the previous phases of the diet as a foundation to maintain your weight for the rest of your life. Many restrictions are lifted, but that doesn’t mean you can go out and eat cheeseburgers all day and expect not to regain the weight. The chapter of the book on stabilization clearly discusses this.

    Next, you said this diet puts nutrition as an afterthought. I totally disagree. By reading the book, I learned more about nutrition than I did in my college level nutrition class, not to mention all the Weight Watcher’s meetings I have attended. I have followed Dukan diet for almost 3 months now. I can tell you, I have never eaten more vegetables in my entire life. Vegetables are a HUGE part of the cruise phase (where you lose the bulk of the weight) and an even bigger part of the Consolidation phase. The phase of the diet without vegetables lasts only days. I had more than 80 pounds to lose, and my attack phase length was suggested at 5 days. It is shorter for people who have less to lose.

    You discuss a high protein diet as causing cancer. I have never heard of this. Do you have a citation? Please don’t confuse a high protein/low fat diet, with a high fat diet/high fat diet (for example Atkin’s). Dukan diet focuses on lean protein sources. Don’t forget the good carbs either, which come from the oat bran, veggies, and dairy. For the record, I just had my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels checked after being on Dukan for 2.5 months. Everything came out perfect. I’m sure if I was at that big of a risk of heart attack like you suggest, then surely my tests would be off.

    For me, this diet does seem like a miracle. This way of eating has freed me from the constant cravings I had when doing other diets. I have tried and struggled with Weight Watchers numerous times and also tried counting calories while focusing on eating whole, natural foods. Neither method worked for me for any length of time. I would lose weight, but quickly fall of the band wagon and gain it back. Every day was a struggle. This diet is EASY for me and I can see myself using the concepts to change the way I eat forever. Time will tell on the true success of this diet as I am only beginning the journey. There is much work ahead to finish losing the weight, then consolidate it, and finally reach stabilization. This may not be a plan for everyone, but this diet has provided me with hope and is definitely not the monster you portray it as.

    • randy says:

      Thanks for the great comment Rebecca! I strongly encourage anybody coming to this page to read it very closely and pay attention to what you have to say. I’m very happy for you that the Dukan Diet is working. You’re setting a good example for others who are considering try it in that they need to follow through with the whole thing if they want to succeed. However, therein lies the problem…

      If you read my post carefully you’ll see that it’s the first phase that I have a problem with. I do point out that it gets more balanced as the phase progress, but that is NOT what most people will focus on and the creators of these diets know it. Most people will come away from the Dukan diet thinking that all they have to do is eat a lot of low fat meat and they’ll lose weight. If you don’t believe me, ask 100 people what the Atkins diet was about that they’ll give you the same answer even though it progressed to a more balanced diet just like Dukan. You have to preach good balanced nutrition from page one because human nature is to focus on the things that give results. If the high protein/low carb diet moves the scale that’s what sticks in our heads and all the other information about nutrition and maintenance gets pushed to the back burner.

      I actually did read the book and tracked down quite a few people who have tried it (I don’t have time to try them all myself). I don’t come by my opinions lightly. I could have written a long boring blah blah blah post filled with facts and stats (which is actually my nature), but that is not what people respond to. Instead I wrote a strong opinion that might get people to actually think about what they are doing before they do it. That’s why I’m glad to see your well thought out comment to provide some balance and a good second opinion.

      As for the correlation between meat and cancer you can watch a number of documentaries on it. If you have Netflix you can check out Food Matters or Forks over Knives. Or if if prefer a good read you can pick up a copy of The China Study which makes some pretty convincing arguments. There are plenty of other studies out there too if you just Google “cancer and meat correlation”. You’ll find some different opinions in the results, but most agree that the correlation is there.

      I sincerely hope that you come back and update us on your progress as time goes by. Among the dozens of people I spoke with who have done the Dukan Diet not one of them was able to claim long term success, but there accounts are anecdotal at best. I have no way of knowing how well they actually followed the diet. If you continue to have success by following it, I would love to have it up here for others to see!

      Thanks again and wishing you further success,

      • Rebecca says:

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I agree with you that most people are out for that quick fix and won’t follow through. No diet plan will work for those types. Weight loss, and weight loss maintenance are not easy. I think one of the challenges for weight loss is finding a plan that works for you. I have tried many diets/eating plans and finally landed on Dukan and feel this is what I can stick with for life. I will be sure to come back and update you all as my journey continues. I can only hope that my enthusiasm for this way of eating continues!

        I appreciate the citations on high protein causing cancer and am interested to learn more on that aspect.

  14. Larry says:

    A diet, is a diet, is a diet and none of them provide for permanent weight loss.

    The ONLY WAY to lose weight and keep it off is by changing your eating habits. Nothing else works for the long term and that is proven by the fact that up to 96% of dieters fail to keep the weight off for 5 years or more.

    When you ask your brain to make substantial changes to your habits, it rebels and won’t let you do it.

    If you don’t change your habits, your habit will make sure you never change.

  15. Larry Khan says:

    Today is October 17th 2011. Since June 2010 I have lost 40 lbs. and have kept it off. How but removing empty calories and most flour products and by eating lean meats and lots of veggies, whole grains and fruits. I have since reintroduced flour but honestly I dislike the bloated feeling and hardly ever eat it. Over the past six months or so I found that I can eat anything (in moderation) and have not put back on any weight. I take a vigorous walk on hilly terrain usually 2, sometime 3 evenings per week. My blood sugar, BP and cholesterol is normal. I’m almost 50 years old and I feel great! I’m not bragging, I am agreeing with RANDY LEE, these fad diet do not work and they do more damage than good. They’re designed for “posers” who want to shed a few quick pound for the camera. Making healthy lifestyle changes for the rest of your life will serve you better than these fads. BEWARE!

    • randy says:

      Right on Larry, I love hearing from people doing it the right way. Sometimes I feel like all I do it bag on these fad diets, but if people could just see how effective it is to just do it the right way these gimmicks would never see the light of day. Thanks for backing me up!

      • Larry Khan says:

        Randy, thanks for your reply. I live in the southern Caribbean twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. While we have the usual fast food fare – KFC, BK, Wendy’s etc. the cost is high due to an exchange rate of 6.3 of our currency to the US dollar. It is cheaper to prepare one’s own meals than eating out so fortunately we do not have the obesity epidemic affecting America BUT this still does not mean eating at home = healthy eating! Over the years I’ve seen slow but ever expanding waistlines and I make it my business to share my experiences with my friends. We’re also luck that we have no winters so we can enjoy the outdoors all year round. Randy, you may not get much feedback from other countries, so I took these few minutes to give you this little feedback.

        • Amy says:

          Hi Larry,
          I just read your comments and I wanted to send you a thank you and much appreciation for your input. We really cherish the comments we get from those living outside the US. It makes us feel more apart of the world and enriches our perspective and knowledge.
          Have a wonderful day :)

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