The Dukan Diet – 4 Steps to Weight Loss and Keeping it off Forever

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

Forget calorie counting and low-calorie diets with the mind-blowing Dukan Diet, which is a comprehensive 4 step diet to promote weight loss and keep it off forever, usually not possible with the short term GM diet meal plan. This is a well-balanced four-phase diet plan that not only helps in losing weight, but also acts as a guideline for healthy eating for the rest of the life. This diet was formulated by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French physician while he was assisting an obese patient to lose weight without excluding meat from his diet. This is the exciting story of the birth of the Dukan Diet. The patient was ready to give up all other food except meat. So Dr. Dukan suggested him to have only meat for five days and to the doctor’s and patient’s surprise, the patient lost 10 pounds in five days. And this is how the Dukan Diet came into existence. The Dukan Diet is exceptionally popular in France and other parts of the world, and Pierre Dukan is one of the most-read authors in France and abroad.

General Structure of the Dukan Diet Plan

Before getting on with the diet, it is important to know what is the Dukan Diet. The Dukan Diet is separated into four phases. The first two phases are the actual weight loss stages and the second two stages help in ensuring that the weight lost while the first 2 phases is maintained and stabilized permanently.

Phase 1 – The Attack Phase – The Dukan Diet attack phase includes only pure proteins that help in kick starting the diet. There are 68 high-protein foods you can choose from and eat as much of these foods as you like. This stage produces immediate and noticeable weight loss.

proteins and vegetable foodPhase 2 – The Cruise Phase – In the cruise phase you can select your foods from 100 natural foods that consist of the 68 high protein foods + 32 vegetables. This phase helps you to achieve your true weight. In this phase, you will lose weight slowly and steadily by alternating between pure protein days and protein and vegetable days.

Phase 3 – The Consolidation Phase – This is one of the most important Dukan Diet phases which are important for maintaining the weight which is lost during the first 2 phases. At this stage, the body is extremely vulnerable and has a tendency to gain weight quickly. The consolidation phase has been specially designed to prevent the rebound effect that is experienced in most weight loss diets. In this phase, you can start eating the previously forbidden foods in small quantities along with 2 “celebration meals” per week.

lose weight

Phase 4 – The Stabilization Phase – The stabilization phase is the ultimate phase that can be followed for the rest of your life. This phase will completely renovate the pattern of foods you eat and guide you to eat healthier foods and maintain your newly achieved slim body.

Dukan Diet Food List

So, now that you have a generalized idea about the 4 phases of the Dukan Diet, let us take a look at the Dukan Diet food list. You can include the foods from this list into the different Dukan Diet recipes. 100 foods are allowed on the Dukan Diet, these foods are rich in essential nutrients and proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats. The 100 foods are divided into 68 pure protein foods and 32 vegetables.

68 Pure Protein Foods of Dukan Diet


  • Lean Meats – Beef, extra lean ham, extra-lean kosher beef, lean cut pork chops, lean slices of roasted beef, pork tenderloin, pork loin, low-fat bacon, etc.
  • Poultry – Chicken, Cornish hen, Turkey, Chicken Sausages, Low-fat deli slices, Ostrich steak, Quail, Wild Duck
  • Fish – All types of fish such as Sole, Mahi Mahi, Tilapia, Arctic char, Catfish, Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Herring, Mackerel, Monkfish, Perch, Red Snapper, Salmon, Sardine, Seabass, Swordfish, Tuna, etc.
  • Shellfish – Crabs, Clams, Lobster, Oyster, Octopus, Shrimps, Squid, Scallops
  • Vegetarian Protein – Soy foods, Tempeh, tofu
  • Fat-Free Dairy – Cottage Cheese, Cheese, Cream Cheese, Milk, Greek yogurt, ricotta, sour cream
  • Eggs – Chicken Eggs, Duck-Quail Eggs

32 Vegetables of Dukan Diet


  • Artichoke, Asparagus, Bean sprouts, Beet, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
  • Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber,
  • Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Green beans, Kale, Lettuce, Arugula,
  • Radicchio, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Leeks, shallots,
  • Palm Hearts, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radishes,
  • Rhubarb, Spaghetti squash, Squash, Spinach,
  • Tomato, Turnip, Watercress, Zucchini

4 Phases of the Dukan Diet

So now we have a more or less detailed idea what foods we can include in the four phases of the Dukan Diet. Let us look into each phase in detail.

Attack Phase – Quick and Successful Weight Loss

As mentioned earlier, Dukan Diet phase 1 is the attack phase, and is also known as the Pure Protein (PP) phase. The sudden change in the diet pattern creates a jolt or shock in the body that kick starts fast weight loss and keeps you motivated for the rest of the diet. The span of the attack phase depends on your age, the weight you want to lose and the number of diets you have tried in the past.

Helps reduce weight

The attack phase usually lasts from 2 to 7 days

  • It should last 1 or 2 days if you want to lose less than 10 pounds
  • It should last 3 to 5 days in you want to lose 15 to 30 pounds
  • It should last 7 days if you want to lose around 40 pounds
  • It is also important to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day during the attack phase
  • Average weight loss during this phase is 2 to 8 pounds
  • You must consume 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran every day during the Dukan Diet
  • 20 minutes of walking is also prescribed on all days of the attack phase

Foods to Eat in the Attack Phase

In the attack phase, you can choose your foods from the list of natural protein sources. There is no compulsion of eating foods from all the categories; you can choose foods from 2 to 3 categories and eat only when you feel hungry.

  • Lean Meats – You can have grilled or roasted beef, veal, and venison. Lean cuts of pork are allowed, but lamb is not allowed in this phase.
  • Do not use oil, butter or cream to prepare the meat. You can have them oven cooked, oven roasted or boiled.
  • Organ Meat – Only liver and kidney of beef, veal and poultry is allowed
  • Fish – All types of fish are allowed -lean, oily, fresh, frozen, smoked, dried or canned.


  • Shellfish – Shrimps, crab, lobster, scallops, oysters, clams, squids and octopus are allowed
  • Poultry – Chicken, Turkey, Cornish Hen and Quail are allowed. Ducks are not allowed during this phase. Avoid chicken wings as they are high in fat.
  • Eggs – Eggs can be eaten in all forms – hard boiled, soft boiled, omelet, poached, but without oil or butter.
  • Vegetable Proteins – Vegetable proteins such as Tofu, Seitan or “vegetable meat”, Tempeh, soy burgers, Textured Soy Protein, Soy milk, Soy yogurt can be consumed.
  • Nonfat Dairy Products – Non-fat dairy products like natural and flavored yogurts, nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat cream cheese, nonfat cottage cheese can be consumed
  • Water and other Beverages – You must not fail to drink 8 glasses of water per day. You can also drink herbal tea, black tea, coffee and other hot drinks without sugar. Aspartame can be used.

Drink tea

  • Oat Barn – You need to consume 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran every day along with the rest of the foods.
  • Spices – Vinegar, spices like cinnamon, curry powder, mustard and cloves, herbs like garlic, thyme, parsley, and onions can be used to add flavour to the meats.
  • Salt – It is always better to have a low salt diet. Salt should be used in moderation.

Result of the Attack Phase

  • A 5 days attack phase is ideal for those looking to lose 15 to 20 pounds of weight.
  • You might feel a bit tired during the first 2 days of the attack phase
  • Avoid challenging physical activities and sports and opt for light exercise
  • 20 minutes of walking every day during the attack phase is a must
  • You might experience bad breath and dry mouth during the attack phase of the diet. It is common to any weight loss diet. They are signs that of weight loss and these symptoms can be eased by drinking more water.
  • You can expect light constipation after the fourth day because of the reduction in the amount of waste due to a low-fiber
  • Your hunger will disappear after the 3rd day because of the release of ketones that work as a powerful hunger suppressants.
  • You can take vitamin supplements if you want, but it is not really necessary a short period of 3 to 5 days.

Cruise Phase – Alternating Protein Diet

The 3 to 5 days attack phase is followed by the cruise phase. This is also known as the alternating protein diet which will take you to your desired weight. In this phase, you will need to follow two alternating diets – one day of protein+vegetables and the next day a pure protein diet and it will continue till you reach your target weight.

high protein food

  • This phase will continue till you reach your target weight and weight loss at this stage is approximately 2 pounds per week.
  • So this diet has to be continued for 5 months or 20 weeks if you want to lose 40 pounds.
  • If you are significantly overweight by 40 pounds, then you can lose 3 to 4 pounds per week during the first 2 months.
  • The average weight loss will decrease to 2 pounds per week during the next 2 months of the diet.
  • Beyond the 4th-month, weight loss will decrease further, and when it becomes stagnant, you must realize that you have achieved your target weight, and it is time to move on to the 3rd phase.
  • In the cruise phase, the quantity of food you eat is not limited. But it is wise to never binge and overeat just because you are allowed.
  • During the cruise phase, you have to increase the amount of oat bran to 2 tablespoons per day. The benefits of oatmeal for weight loss are well known and oats are a healthy inclusion to this diet.
  • During the cruise phase, the time of your walks has to increase from 20 minutes to 30 minutes per day.
  • If you hit a stagnation plateau where you don’t see any more weight loss, increase the time of the walk to 60 minutes for 4 days.
  • You must continue to drink 8 glasses of water every day during the cruise phase as well.

Foods to Eat in the Cruise Phase

The Dukan Diet meal plan for the cruise phase will consist of both proteins and vegetables; one day of pure proteins like you ate in the attack phase and one day of protein+vegetables. The vegetables can be consumed cooked or raw, but very less or no oil should be used. (No more than 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil).

  • You can consume all the vegetables mentioned in the list of the 32 vegetables chart. Starchy vegetables should be avoided. The foods to be avoided in the cruise phase are potatoes, corn, peas, beans and lentils, avocados, rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet and other grains.
  • The vegetables should not be cooked with more than 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • No dressing of oil or sauces should be used in the salads
  • You can use nonfat yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, a pinch of salt and herbs to spice up your salads, soups, and boiled vegetables.vegetable salad

Results of the Cruise Phase

By the end of the cruise phase, you must be able to reach your target weight. The next two phases are intended to maintain the weight that you have lost in the attack and cruise phase.

  • During the cruise phase, you will lose weight, but at a slower pace compared to the attack phase, so don’t lose your enthusiasm.
  • Some weeks, you might see that you are not losing weight at all, or the scale is showing a slight increase in pounds. No need to worry, you are not gaining back weight. This is caused due to water retention in the body due to consumption of vegetables.
  • The real weight loss continues to happen, and it can be seen on the pure protein days.
  • This is the phase where your body will become shapely, supple and lean, and you will see a change.
  • It is also the phase where most people slip into temptation. So, stay strong, focused and motivated and don’t get deviated.

Consolidation Phase -The Transition Diet

The consolidation phase is the third phase of the Dukan Diet where you achieve your true weight, and this phase helps you maintain this new weight which you have achieved through a lot of efforts. It works just like the balanced 1200 cal meal plan but in a more effective manner. You should not go back to your old eating habits at this stage because then you are going to gain back your lost weight within no time. This is the stage when you have to be extremely careful because the body is most vulnerable at this phase. At this phase you consolidate the weight lost which finally leads to permanent weight stabilization.

  • The duration of the consolidation phase depends on how much weight you have lost.
  • The formula is 5 days of the transition diet for every 1 pound lost. So if you have lost 40 pounds, you need to follow the transition diet for 40X5 =200 days. If you have lost 20 pounds, you need to follow this diet for 20X5 =100 days.
  • At this stage, there is no need to alternate between pure protein days and protein and vegetables days.
  • You can have both proteins and vegetables together on all days of the diet.
  • At this stage, you can have 1 serving of fruit per day
  • You can also have 2 slices of 100% whole grain bread per day
  • You can have 1 serving of cheese per day
  • You can have 2 servings of starchy foods per week
  • You can have 2 celebration meals per week.
  • You must have 1 day of pure proteins per week
  • You must have 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day
  • You must devote 25 minutes to walking every day

Foods to Eat in the Consolidation Phase

You have to follow the transition diet as faithfully as possible during the consolidation phase, but you can eat as much of the foods as you want from the foods mentioned below. We all know the benefits of the fruit and vegetable detox diet plan and in this phase both the food groups are included in the daily diet.Protein in Food Items

  • Proteins and Vegetables – You can consume all the protein foods from the attack phase along with the vegetables from the cruise phase. Proteins and vegetables as the foundation of the consolidation phase.
  • Protein foods and vegetables that you can eat are – Lean meats, organ meats, fish and seafood, poultry, chicken, turkey, low-fat ham, eggs, nonfat dairy products, raw and cooked vegetables, 8 to 10 glasses of water.
  • One serving of fruit per day – 1 serving of fruits means 1 medium sized apple, pear, orange or peach or a cup of strawberries, raspberries, half of a medium cantaloupe, an inch thick slice of watermelon, 2 kiwifruits and 2 apricots. You can also have smoothies with kiwi, strawberries and raspberries if you want.

Cucumber and Kiwi Smoothie

  • Fruits to be avoided – It is best to high fructose fruits such as bananas, grapes, mangoes, cherries, dried fruits, and nuts.
  • Bread – At this phase you can consume 2 slices of whole grain bread every day. Whole grain bread not only tastes good, but also has a high concentration of bran.
  • Cheese – You can consume 1 serving of cheese per day at this stage. 1 serving means 40 grams You can choose from cheddar, Swiss cheese, Gouda, etc. Avoid fermented cheese and goat cheese. You can have it with other foods or the bread.
  • 2 Servings of starchy food per week- Until now, you have not been allowed to eat starchy foods, but this food group is reintroduced in the third phase of the diet. But starchy foods have to be introduced gradually. Divide the whole consolidation phase in the 2 equal parts, in the first half you can have 1 serving of starchy food per week and in the second half, you are allowed to have 2 servings of starchy foods per week.
  • Starchy foods that you can eat are whole grain or wheat pasta (2 ounces uncooked). Quinoa, bulgur flour and finger millet flour are also healthy options. 8 ounce serving of cooked bulgur/quinoa/millet/polenta.
  • Lentils or Legumes – You can also eat 8 ounce serving of cooked kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans, chickpeas, etc.


  • Rice and Potatoes – You can consume 225 grams of brown rice or 175 grams of basmati or wild rice. You can have baked or boiled potatoes, but no French fries or chips.
  • New Meats – At this stage you can introduce other meats like lamb and cooked ham.
  • 2 celebration meals per week – During the first half of the consolidation phase you are allowed 1 celebration meal per week and during the second half 2 per week. You must remember that it is just 1 meal and not all day long. You can have a celebration meal either for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At a celebration meal, you can eat whatever food you want. But never have second helpings of the same dish and do not eat two celebration meals back to back. A celebration meal will consist of 1 starter, 1 main dish, 1 dessert and 1 glass of wine. This is the meal where you can enjoy fried chicken, ice cream, and chocolate cakes. So, now you can say yes to the dinner invitations.
  • One day of Pure Protein per week – At this phase you will have to stick to one day of pure protein foods every week that will include lean meats, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs and nonfat dairy products along with 8 to 10 glasses of water.

dukan diet food

  • Oat Bran – At this phase you need to consume 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day.

Results of the Consolidation Phase

The consolidation phase is one of the most crucial phases of the Dukan Diet and neglecting this phase will put back all the weight lost during the previous 2 phases.

  • This is the stage when you can finally see your true weight.
  • The consolidation phase helps you to maintain the weight loss you have achieved and prevents any rebound effect.

Stabilization Phase – Stabilizing your weight permanently

This is the last and final phase of the Dukan Diet where your body is no longer vulnerable to the rebound effect. Incorporating a few healthy habits in your lifestyle is important to keep the risk of weight gain away. At this stage, you don’t need to follow any strict diet, but just a few rules, but these are rules for life.

4 Rules to be followed for the Rest of your Life

  • Continue with Protein Thursdays – You can eat proteins, starch, and vegetables on 6 days of a week, but assign 1 day to pure proteins. Although the Dukan Diet suggests choosing Thursdays as the pure protein day, you can go for any other day of the week which is convenient for you.
  • Be Physically Active – Workouts to lose fat are as important as dieting itself. Being physically active does not mean you have to become a workout fanatic, but try to remain active by taking the stairs instead of the lift, get off of the bus a few stops earlier and walk your way to office or home, walk to your grocery store, etc.


  • Walking – Continue to walk for 20 minutes every day
  • Eat Oat Bran – Continue to eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day because it helps in reducing the amount of calories absorbed from foods. It aids in digestion, helps in staying satiated and prevents unhealthy snacking and late night food cravings.

Foods to Eat in the Stabilization Phase

This is the phase that you will have to follow for the rest of your life, if you are not planning to give up the diet. In this stage, you can eat the basic foods from the consolidation phase without any worries.

  • Protein Foods – Eat as much of the protein foods as you want.
  • Vegetables – Eat as much of the vegetables mentioned in the list as you want.
  • Fruits – Have 1 serving of fruit per day
  • Bread – Have 2 slices of whole grain bread per day

whole grain bread

  • Cheese – Have 1.5 ounce of cheese per day
  • Starchy foods – Have 2 portions of starchy foods per day
  • Celebration meals – Have 2 celebration meals per week

Results of the Stabilization Phase

The following are a few simple rules of the stabilization phase which can help prevent weight gain for the rest of your life. Because the Dukan Diet menu of the stabilization phase consists of a wide variety of foods, it is flexible and easy to follow for almost all dieters.

Dukan Diet Side-Effects

As with every other weight loss diet the Dukan Diet also has its share of side-effects. Anyone following the Dukan Diet should prepare themselves for facing these health issues.

Constipation – It has already been mentioned before, that restriction of carbohydrates in the attack phase of the diet also limits the amount of fiber intake, and this affects regular bowel movement. In order to prevent constipation, one must consume the recommended amount of oat bran daily and also drink plenty of water.

Relieves Constipation and clears the Digestive Tract

Bad Breath and Tiredness – Both this issues are caused by the formation of ketones in the body. But it is also an indicator that the diet is working for you. Nor everyone gets bad breath, and the intensity of the problem differs from person to person. It also enhances the build-up of plaque and tartar in the mouth, so it is important to brush your teeth properly and use mouthwash.

Kidney Damage – People opposing the Dukan Diet have raised this serious issue, but most people won’t experience kidney damage if they don’t have an existing kidney related condition along with high level of uric acid.

Induction Flu – This is the name given to a number of carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms. It makes a person feel weak, irritable and lacking in energy. But, these symptoms last for only a few days till your body gets used to the low amount of carbohydrates in the diet.

Fatigue – One of the most common side effects of the Dukan Diet is a feeling of tiredness and fatigue. But these issues can be effectively managed by drinking enough water throughout the day.


Vitamin Deficiency – Some people might experience a deficiency in vitamins if they do not bring variation to the meals and keep on eating the same foods over and over. In such cases, one can opt for vitamin supplements.

Cautionary Note and Disclaimer about the Dukan Diet

The Fit Indian is a health and fitness blog that provides information and support about healthy and reasonable diet programs, and the information are solely intended for educational support. All the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and any decision on the reader’s part to use this information is their personal choice. We are not a medical organization authorized to provide medical advice or diagnosis. Please seek the advice of a qualified physician before deciding to opt for any weight loss program of any kind and also if you feel any discomfort while following a diet.

The Dukan Diet Plan – 4 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss – PDF

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