Dukan Diet: What You Need to Know

How It Works

Dukan's diet is broken into four distinct phases: attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilization. The initial "attack" phase is designed to jump-start your diet via a restrictive, protein-rich diet that ignites rapid weight loss. The diet lists more than 70 low-fat or lean meats (others, such as pork, are prohibited), as well as chicken, soy products, non-fat dairy, fish and eggs. This phase typically lasts less than two weeks, during which dieters can expect to drop at least a pound a day.

During the "cruise" phase, dieters continue with a protein rich menu, but can add almost 30 non-starch vegetables (others, such as carrots, corn, and potatoes, are still excluded) with no limits, but only every other day, and two heaping tablespoons of oat bran. Fruit is still off limits. There is no strict timetable on the "cruise" phase, since it's based on how much weight you ultimately want to lose.

Stage three, or the "consolidation" phase, is designed to get participants ready for a life of more responsible eating. It allows unlimited protein, including pork chops and vegetables every day, along with a single serving of low-sugar fruit, a portion of cheese, and some whole-grain breads. Dieters can also have a few servings of starchy foods and two "celebration" meals -- yes, anything is fair game, including wine and dessert -- each week.

Finally, the "stabilization" phase is Dukan's "maintenance" stage. Here, dieters are permitted to eat anything they want six days a week, provided they also include oat bran and adhere to the super-strict, protein-only Phase One diet on the seventh day.

To get started, dieters need a Dukan Diet roadmap.