The Dukan Diet by author Pierre Dukan

I Tried The Dukan Diet And Here’s My Brutally Honest Review

DISCLAIMER: Please note this is the review of Dukan’s book and my personal experience. None of this review has to be considered as medical advice. For any health issue, please always ask your Doctor!


The Dukan Diet has been making waves since hitting bookstores in 2000. But does this high-protein, low-carb weight loss plan live up to the hype? I gave it a shot to find out.

What Even Is The Dukan Diet?

If you haven’t heard of the Dukan Diet, here’s a quick overview:

Created by French doctor Pierre Dukan, it’s a 4-phase low-carb, high-protein system that promises fast weight loss results.

The 4 phases are:

Attack Phase

You eat nothing but lean protein like egg whites, fish, chicken breast, nonfat dairy and some vegetables.

Cruise Phase

You continue eating protein-focused meals but slowly add certain veggies like leafy greens and limited carb foods.

Consolidation Phase

Carbs are added back in but you have to follow specific rules around which ones. Fruit, bread, cheese and starchy foods are on the menu with moderation.

Stabilization Phase

You’re meant to maintain your goal weight by sticking to the diet’s guidelines around high protein, low fat and low carb eating. Some restrictions, however, will be still in place.

The idea is that the high protein fuels fat burning while lowering cravings and appetite. And cutting carbs kickstarts quick water weight loss too.

So in theory – it sounds great! But does it actually work? Let’s get into it…

The Dukan Diet by author Pierre Dukan

You can find The Dukan Diet by author Pierre Dukan on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About author Pierre Dukan

Author Pierre Dukan

Pierre Dukan is a French medical doctor who has become an internationally renowned authority on weight loss and nutrition. He pioneered the popular Dukan Diet, a high-protein, low-carb weight loss plan that has helped millions of people successfully lose weight and keep it off.

Dr. Dukan’s interest in nutrition and weight management began early in his medical career. As a general practitioner in Paris seeing patients from all walks of life, he noticed that many were struggling with being overweight. This spurred his research into effective dieting techniques, and he began developing an approach centered on eating ample protein while restricting fats and carbs. His early patients had great success losing weight this way without struggling with hunger.

Over time, he refined his method into a structured four-phase plan: Attack, Cruise, Consolidation, and Stabilization. The Attack phase jumpstarts weight loss by focusing almost entirely on high protein foods. Cruise continues the process but brings some foods back in. Consolidation and Stabilization teach people how to maintain their goal weight by slowly reintroducing previously restricted foods. This phased approach helps people see rapid initial results which motivates them to continue. It then eases them into developing lifetime diet habits.

In 2000 he published the first Dukan Diet book in France, “The Dukan Diet.” Spurred by its great success, he went on to launch the French coaching site which offers motivation and resources around his plan. His books and method became a national sensation, with over 8 million French people using the Dukan Diet.

Given this success, the Dukan diet began attracting international attention as well. Dr. Dukan launched the English language website in 2010. In 2011 he published the best selling book “The Dukan Diet” internationally. Since then he has written several other books explaining the diet, its origins, and studies demonstrating its effectiveness. His work is now published in over 30 countries with 14 million copies sold globally.

The hallmarks of Dr. Dukan’s approach that underpin this worldwide success come from his medical background. He stresses eating high quality, nutritious whole foods that provide lasting energy rather than short-lived satisfaction from junk food. Customizing plans to each person helps them feel understood and makes success feel achievable. His phased strategy sets people up to lose weight quickly then transition into their “true weight” and remain there. And his non-judgmental style encourages people until good habits become second nature.

For over 40 years Pierre Dukan has devoted himself to sharing his nutritional system. His best selling books and blockbuster diet coaching websites have made his name synonymous with weight loss done right. He focuses on developing personal plans tailored for long term weight management success. This wisdom benefiting millions of people cements Dr. Pierre Dukan’s legacy as an internationally preeminent expert transforming lives through healthy sustainable weight loss.

Phase 1: The Attack Phase Was No Joke

The Attack phase came out swinging hard.

For 5-10 days straight I ate nothing but unlimited lean protein plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day. Non-starchy veggies like spinach, lettuce, cucumbers were allowed too but had to be drizzled in vinegar or lemon juice only – no oil!

Could I survive on chicken, fish, egg whites and the saddest salads ever for over a week?

Well, just barely…

The hunger was intense. I don’t think I’ve ever felt hunger like those first few days. It seems my body was wondering where the heck all the carbs and fat went!

Without those bready, starchy, sweet and greasy foods I love normally filling me up, I felt the hunger pangs in full force. It was not fun at all.

But that clean protein is very lean and low-calorie for the amount I could eat. So even gorging on fish and chicken, I was still in a calorie deficit.

And with no carbs to retain water weight, the scale dropped fast. I lost 8 pounds in just 7 days!

While the rapid weight loss was super motivating, the hunger made me totally miserable. I don’t think I could stomach doing the Attack phase long-term.

Phase 2: The Cruise Phase Didn’t “Cruise” Right By…

After losing 8 pounds in a week, I was excited to transition into the Cruise phase!

This meant I could finally add some exciting foods back in. We’re talking veggies loaded with flavor like mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and more! I could also have 2 celebration meals per week too.

Time for a pizza party right? Well, not so fast. Those celebration meals still had strict rules:

  • Protein with each meal
  • Only carbs labeled by Dukan as “authorized”
  • Portion sizes were limited

So no loading up on unlimited pizza, pasta or fries. But a small, reasonable serving was allowed.

Even with the promised freedom though, this phase still felt restrictive with the peppery protein, veggie-based meals and tiny splurges.

But I stuck with it and the scale continued tipping down. After 2 1⁄2 weeks I’d lost 12 pounds total! However, weight loss slowed the longer I did the Cruise phase.

And while the hunger wasn’t as savage as the Attack phase, it still reared its ugly head. My body never quite adjusted to the lower carb way of eating long-term.

Was I willing to eat like this forever? Probably not.

Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase Was Confusing

Next up was the Consolidation phase – which is whenPREVIOUSfaster weight loss is supposed to kick off again.

This time starchy carbs like whole grains, some fruit, cheese and legumes are added to your menu.

But don’t get too trigger happy filling up on bread and fruit! Each comes with strict rules in order to prevent regaining the lost weight. Here are some of them:

  • Fruit only allowed in the afternoon with exception of 1 apple for breakfast
  • Bread restricted to 2 slices whole grain per day
  • Starchy carbs limited to twice per week only
  • Mandatory 3 tablespoons oat bran daily
  • Protein continued with each meal

With so many specifications to remember, I found myself struggling to construct appropriate meals and often second-guessing if what I made aligned with the rules.

It was frustrating because I worked hard to lose over 12 pounds at this point. And I feared mindlessly eating the “wrong” carb choice would set back my weight loss.

There were times I almost felt scared to bite into an apple or dig into a bowl of beans in case it wasn’t permitted!

But the Consolidation phase worked. Over the next 5 weeks I dropped another 3 pounds for a total of 15 pounds lost. Water weight came off quickly thanks to the lower carb eating.

However, feeling restricted around fruits, whole grains and starchy vegetables that I once considered healthy was confusing and upsetting for me. I also hated the scale stalling sometimes too.

Could I really eat like this forever and sustain the weight loss?

Phase 4: Time To Maintain! But For How Long?

When you reach your goal weight on Dukan, it transitions into a maintenance only phase for life. Yes that does mean forever!

So while some limitation around carb foods remain along with mandatory oat bran every day, the strict rules ease up. There is no counting celebration meals and you have more flexibility too.

As for me though, after losing 15 pounds I felt ready to leave Dukan behind. Restricting foods I once considered healthy long-term didn’t align with my view of balanced eating.

While the protein did help suppress my hunger, I eventually grew bored of chicken breasts and egg whites day after day. And frankly, I flat out just missed carbs!

Did I regain some weight initially after quitting Dukan cold turkey and gorging on cookie dough ice cream to celebrate? You bet.

But I implemented more mindful eating with plenty of protein to help me feel satisfied, less restricted around whole grains and fruit and way more veggie variety to find my balance again.

And so far, I’m still down 10 pounds from my starting weight before Dukan. So while the diet did work temporarily, it wasn’t a lifestyle I could adopt forever personally.

The Bottom Line – My Brutally Honest Take On The Controversial Dukan Diet

What I Liked

  • Fast initial weight loss is motivating
  • Protein keeps hunger somewhat at bay
  • Cutting some carbs can spur quick water weight reduction

What I Didn’t Like

  • Intense hunger especially early phases
  • Removing healthy carb foods feels too limiting long-term for me
  • High protein gets boring fast
  • Confusing rules around added carb foods

I think whether or not Dukan is right for you comes down to a few key questions:

  • Are you willing to significantly reduce carbs long-term?
  • Can you sustain motivation cooking just protein and non-starchy veggie meals?
  • Are you ok potentially feeling hungry when cutting out carb and fat calories?

If you answered mostly yes, the Dukan Diet provides an effective program for fast weight loss results.

However if you’re like me and enjoy carbs as part of balanced eating, count on experiencing difficulty denying yourself these foods forever.

While I don’t recommend Dukan as a lifelong approach, I think it works well for short term weight loss boosting supplemented into a more moderate eating plan you can maintain long-term.

Just don’t expect the fast weight loss results to stick if you return to poor habits later!

If you did resonate with some aspects of Dukan but want to explore other very low-carb/high protein programs first, here are a few to check out:

The Keto Diet

Keto is wildly popular but still controversial for its extreme carb restriction. However it allows more flexibility and customization around food choices compared to rigid Dukan.


Atkins is a classic go-to for low-carb devotees. Phase 1 definitely mimics Dukan’s Attack phase limiting carbs to just 20g daily!


Think of Whole30 like a stricter paleo diet eliminating sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol and additives completely with no slip ups allowed.

The Carnivore Diet

If you felt Dukan’s protein focus was up your alley but still left you hungry, carnivore cranks it up to all protein all the time – no veggies or carbs in sight!

Intermittent Fasting

Rather than limiting food groups, this approach restricts when you eat through short fasts helping decrease overall calories for weight loss.

The Mediterranean Diet

Sun-kissed vegetables, olive oil drizzled over fresh fish, and a glass of red wine shared with loved ones – these are the hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet, a way of eating inspired by the traditional cuisines of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. More than just a diet, it’s a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients, healthy fats, and mindful eating, promoting both physical and mental well-being.

I hope my brutally honest Dukan Diet review gave you some helpful info to determine if it seems like the right fit! While it did work quickly for me, it wasn’t a match long-term due to some limitations.

But whether you give Dukan a shot or opt for a different nutrition plan, I wish you all the best on your weight loss journey ahead! Stay motivated and be well.


What is the core concept behind the Dukan Diet?

The Dukan Diet is centered around eating plenty of protein in the earlier phases while restricting carbs and fats to promote rapid weight loss. As the diet progresses, more foods are added back while keeping portion sizes modest. The end goal is developing long-term healthy eating habits to maintain your new weight.

What are the 4 phases of the Dukan Diet?

The diet has 4 phases – Attack, Cruise, Consolidation, and Stabilization. The Attack phase restricts you to eat just protein plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day. Cruise adds some veggies, Cruise lets you add carbs and fats back in moderation. Stabilization is about maintaining your new habits long-term.

What foods are allowed and not allowed on the Dukan Diet?

Allowed foods – Lean protein like skinless chicken and turkey, fish, shellfish, eggs and fat-free dairy. Some veggies, fruits and whole grains are added later. Not allowed – Fatty meats, whole milk dairy, added sugars, condiments, most fats until later phases.

Is the Dukan Diet safe and healthy for long-term use?

The initial phases are very restrictive so should not be followed long-term without medical guidance. However, the later phases introduce more balance. If you transition properly as the book outlines, the diet can promote developing healthier long-term eating habits.

It promotes rapid weight loss in the beginning, which people find motivating. It’s also simple to understand with clear diet rules and phases. The focus on protein keeps you feeling fuller compared to very low-calorie diets. It allows foods like meat which people enjoy eating.

What are common criticisms and drawbacks of the Dukan Diet?

It’s extremely restrictive upfront, risking vitamin/mineral deficiencies and side effects if done too long without medical oversight. Critics argue the rapid weight loss is more water/glycogen loss than fat. Weight regain is common if you don’t stick with the later phases. The high protein intake may strain certain organs long-term.

Does scientific evidence support the effectiveness of the Dukan Diet?

There is little peer-reviewed clinical research specifically on this diet’s effectiveness. However, studies show high protein and low carb diets in general promote more fat loss than low fat diets – as long as calorie intake is reduced sufficiently to create a deficit. More research is still needed.

Who is the Dukan Diet best suited for?

People who enjoy high protein foods like meat and eggs may find this diet easier to stick to than plans centered on vegetables or carbs. Those seeking rapid but temporary weight loss for an event may benefit but should transition properly afterwards under medical guidance.

How can you modify or personalize the Dukan Diet to meet your needs?

Work with your doctor, especially if you have medical conditions affected by nutrition. Plan proper vitamin supplementation if needed. Adjust portion sizes or pace of adding new foods back based on your weight loss goals and health status. Incorporate exercise you enjoy to promote sustainable fat loss versus just water weight.

What tips does author Pierre Dukan suggest for diet success?

Tips include avoiding unrealistic goals, tracking your progress and measurements (not just weight), planning for challenging situations like parties, learning to understand true vs false hunger signals, incorporating oat bran daily, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and exercise, and developing a motivation strategy that works for you personally.

Leave a Reply