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The Dukan Diet

Touted as the French Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet boasts a celebrity following and promises quick weight loss without counting calories or keeping track of portion sizes. But is it healthy or right for you?
By Leslie Pepper Published in France 10 years ago, the latest fad diet, The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever by French physician Pierre Dukan, MD, hits American store shelves on April 19 and is already garnering a lot of buzz. The diet is all the rage in Europe, with such reported celebrity fans as Kate Middleton and her mother, who are rumored to be following the diet to slim down for the royal wedding, and Jennifer Lopez, who reportedly followed the Dukan Diet to shed her baby weight. We asked Everyday Health nutritionist Kelly MacDonald, RD, to review the Dukan Diet. Heres what you should know before you try it: The Dukan Diet: What Is It? Often described as the French version of the Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet emphasizes meals that are high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat. The diet is designed so that you wont feel hungry you can choose from 100 different foods and you're allowed to eat as much of them as you want and you dont have to count calories. Its biggest draw is its pronto weight-loss promise: that you can lose up to seven to 10 pounds in the first five days and keep them off. The Dukan Diet: How Does It Work? The Dukan Diet has four phases: The first two promise a speedy slim down; the last two focus on maintenance so you dont regain the weight youve lost.

Phase 1: Attack is all about protein, protein, and more protein. You can eat unlimited lean meat, poultry, lean ham, organ meats, fish and seafood, eggs, and nonfat dairy (except no cheese). This phase, as well as the next three phases, also requires drinking six cups of water. You also take a 20-minute walk every day. In this phase and the next two phases, you eat one and a half tablespoons of oat bran daily (Dukan says it helps people feel full). You can

stay in this phase for one to 10 days, depending on how much weight you want to lose. According to Dukan, most people stay in the Attack phase for five days and lose four to seven pounds. Phase 2: Cruise adds in vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, eggplant, and spinach, to your diet. The diet forbids starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, peas, beans, and lentils. In this phase, you alternate protein and non-starchy vegetables with a protein-only day. So you eat meals that combine veggies and protein one day, then meals that are protein-only the next, and so on. In the Cruise phase, you walk for 30 minutes a day. This phase lasts until you reach your goal weight. Phase 3: Consolidation welcomes more variety to your meals: one serving of fresh fruit daily (except for bananas, grapes, cherries, and dried fruits), along with two slices of whole grain bread, and one and a half ounces of cheese per day, plus two servings of starchy foods, like pasta and potatoes, each week. You can also enjoy two celebration meals each week, in which you can eat whatever you want, as long as you keep up with one day each week of eating protein-only meals. In the Consolidation phase, you walk for 25 minutes a day. This phase is designed to prevent rebound weight gain; the length youre on it depends on how much weight youve lost. For every pound you shed in the first phases of the Dukan Diet, you stay in the Consolidation phase for five days. So if you lost 24 pounds, this phase should last four months. Phase 4: Stabilization, which lasts indefinitely, allows you to eat whatever you want for six days, as long as the seventh day is protein-only. You also up your oat bran intake to three tablespoons and walk for 20 minutes a day. This phase is designed to help you maintain the weight youve lost.

The Dukan Diet: Sample Menu From Attack phase Breakfast: 8 oz nonfat yogurt Dukan oat bran galette Coffee or tea with artificial sweetener Snack: 1 slice turkey Lunch: 1 slice smoked salmon, roast chicken with tarragon and lemon Snack: Hard-boiled egg Dinner: 8 oz grilled swordfish 8 oz nonfat ricotta The Dukan Diet: Pros

Rapid initial weight loss can motivate you to stick with the plan. Theres an emphasis on drinking a lot of water.

The diet stresses consuming lean protein, which is healthier than high-fat protein. After the first phase, vegetables are prominent. Exercising for 20 minutes a day is required

The Dukan Diet: Cons

Not watching portion sizes can backfire. Having an all-you-can-eat mentality is not the best for keeping weight off," says MacDonald. I dont see how six days of all-you-can-eat and one day of pure protein would even out for maintaining weight loss long-term. The first phase shortchanges the body of heart-healthy fiber, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals. Rapid weight loss will be mostly water and muscle mass, which can lead to dehydration and may be dangerous, according to MacDonald. Eating all meat all the time can be expensive. Theres a lack of variety, especially in the protein-only first phase, which can get monotonous and cause people to stop following the diet, notes MacDonald.

The Dukan Diet: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects Though you may see rapid initial weight loss, it will mostly be from water and, later, from muscle mass. Youll also likely experience fatigue, moodiness, and other symptoms because the diet is so severely lacking in carbohydrates. Nutrient deficiencies can happen in the first phases when youre consuming few vegetables and fruits and complex carbohydrates. The first two phases also sorely lack fiber, which can cause constipation. If you follow the high-protein, low-carb diet of the first two phases for too long, a condition called ketosis can set in. Here, a lack of carbs forces the body to break down fat for energy, which can cause fatigue, bad breath, and dry mouth; over time, it can damage the kidneys and liver. My opinion is that you should feel healthier, not fatigued or sick, while youre trying to lose weight, says MacDonald. Because the diet doesnt offer enough fiber, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables, she would not recommend it as a healthy weight loss tool. Last Updated: 04/15/2011

9 Ways to Burn Fat


Easy steps you can take
By Robyn Moreno

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Everyone's metabolism naturally slows down with age. At 40, you could be burning 100 to 300 fewer calories a day than you did at 30, says Pamela M. Peeke, M.D., author of Body for Life for Women and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. That can translate into a 10-25-pound weight gain in a year. But you can counteract that slowdown and boost your body's fat-burning capabilities by making just a few tweaks to your daily routine. The following strategies will help you bust out of a weight-loss plateau and burn even more fat. Take five Do five minutes of exercise each morning. We all have a metabolic thermostat, called the metastat, that can be turned up or down, and morning is the best time to activate it. Each day, your metastat is waiting for signals to rev up, so the more signals you can send it, the better. Your best bet is a light, full-body activity like walking or push-ups. Fuel up in the morning Numerous studies have found that regular breakfast eaters are often leaner than breakfast skippers. "Your metabolism naturally slows at night, but you can jump-start it in the morning by eating breakfast," says Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D., C.D.N., co-author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. And because both your activity level and metabolism decrease later in the day, it's a good idea to make breakfast or lunch your largest meal. Fill up on good grains Whole grains such as brown rice, wheat germ, dark bread, whole-grain cereal, oatmeal and bran leave you feeling full because they take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates. In a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School evaluated the dietary intake of more than 74,000 women for 12 years. Overall, women who regularly ate the most whole-grain foods about 1.5 servings a day gained less weight than women who ate the least. Pump yourself up Muscle burns more calories than fat does, and decreased muscle mass can be one of the main reasons metabolism slows. Disuse can cause women to drop as much as 10 pounds of muscle between the ages of 30 and 50. Losing that much muscle means you'll burn 350 to 500 fewer calories a day. To build and maintain muscle mass, aim for two to three strength-training workouts a week. If you don't belong to a gym, try push-ups, squats, abdominal crunches and tricep dips off a chair. Power on with protein Add a little high-quality, lowfat protein, such as chicken, fish and egg whites, to your meals, and

you'll help your body burn fat faster. "Because protein requires more energy to digest, it speeds up your metabolism, and protein is necessary to ensure against loss of muscle tissue," says Michael Thurmond, author of 6 Day Body Makeover.

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Get your vitamin "I" That's "I" for intensity. You love to walk, but if that usually means strolling along at a snail's pace, your waistline will pay little attention. Instead, put intensity, or "vitamin I," into your stride. Pick up your pace so you're walking at 4 mph, or one mile per 15 minutes. Once you build up your cardiovascular fitness level, you can even alternate between walking and jogging. The key is toget your heart rate up and keep your workouts challenging. Say yes to yogurt In a recent study from the International Journal of Obesity, women who ate three daily servings of lowfat yogurt lost 60 percent more fat than women who didn't. In another study, participants who ate three daily servings of dairy lost more than twice as much fat as those who ate less than that. "Calcium-rich diets reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase enzymes that break down fat," says Michael B. Zemel, Ph.D., lead author of both studies and director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Eat three servings of lowfat dairy a day, like milk, yogurt and hard cheeses (Gouda, Cheddar and Monterey Jack). Get active after eating Your body's metabolic rate increases 10 percent after eating, and just a few minutes of activity could double that boost for up to three hours. Within 15 to 30 minutes of eating a snack or meal, do five or 10 minutes of light activity. Take the dog for a walk, climb stairs in your house or do some basic strength exercises. Sip green tea You might love your lattes, but if you switch to green tea, not only will you get a healthy dose of disease-fighting compounds, you'll also cut body fat. In a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who drank a bottle of tea fortified with green tea extract every day for three months lost more body fat than people who drank black tea. Researchers at a health care lab in Tokyo believe disease-fighting antioxidants called catechins in green tea may help decrease body fat.

25 Ways to Lose Weight


Everyday ways you haven't heard of and they work!
By Lambeth Hochwald

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When it comes to losing weight, a little inspiration can go a long, long way. So we looked into the latest studies, combed the most intriguing research and interviewed real women on how they shed extra pounds to come up with 25 winning weight-loss tips that are well worth trying. Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program. 1. Put the kettle on. Drinking green tea (which is also known for its powerful cancer-fighting compounds) may help you burn more calories by inducing slight changes in metabolism, according to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. 2. Choose cereal. Eating cold cereal with skim milk for breakfast and as a replacement for lunch or dinner can help jump-start your diet, according to a Purdue University study released last fall. The men and women in the study, who all ate Special K, lost an average of six pounds in two weeks. 3. Consider peanut butter. Foods rich in monounsaturated fats (including nuts, peanut butter, olive and canola oils andavocados) can help you lose weight, according to a study conducted at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Researchers studied 101 overweight people who were divided into two groups. One group was put on a lowfat diet that got about 20 percent of its calories from fat; the other followed a diet that got 35 percent of its calories from fat, mostly the monounsaturated kind. While both groups of women lost an average of 11 pounds in the first year, only those on the so-called "peanut butter" diet were able to keep the weight off for 18 months or longer. 4. Keep sipping. Experts say you should drink enough water to equal half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 pounds, aim to drink 80 ounces a day. One way to keep tabs: Drink fluids with each meal and keep a water bottle with you at other times so you remember to drink, suggests Kimberly Glenn, M.S., R.D., L.D., a registered dietitian at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Drinking adequate water will help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger, which is a common pitfall.

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5. Prioritize your workouts. "Once I put my workouts in my datebook, I found myself getting to the gym and enjoying my time there," says Pam Silvestri, 37, a public affairs manager in Dallas, who lost 15 pounds last year. "I consider my workouts just as important as any other business meeting."

6. Pump up the volume. Foods with high water or fiber content tend to fill you up faster, according to researchers at Penn State University. The idea here is that you'll eat less of (and it'll take longer to eat) a spinach omelet versus a plate of scrambled eggs. 7. Reach for dairy. Lowfat dairy products can be among the best weight-loss staples, according to researchers at Purdue University who studied a group of women for two years. Those who met the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for calcium (1,000 mg) and ate less than 1,900 calories a day lost an average of six pounds, while women who consumed the same amount of calories but less calcium actually ended up gaining weight. Researchers speculate that calcium may help promote the breakdown of the body's fat stores.