We American women tend to get obsessed with how French women stay so thin, marveling at their portion control in the face of full wheels of brie, and mimicking their habit of digestifs in hopes of whittling down our portly American waists. But those skinny French bitches are busted! Their secret — the Dukan Diet — is out, thanks to English translations arriving stateside next month. It appears that not all French women are endowed with a magical metabolism that permits two croissants a day; they’re going on diets, too! Apparently, the French are all on the Dukan Diet, looking to lose weight through France’s answer to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets that have been popular in the U.S. since Dr. Atkins.
The Dukan Diet, which has sold 3.5 million copies in French, and has already been translated into 14 other languages, was developed by a 69-year-old doctor who collected a $1.3 million advance for the North American rights to his book. The pitch is much like everything we’ve heard before (“the real reason the French stay so thin,” says the cover of the U.S. edition). And the diet isn’t all that new, either. According to the New York Times:
The diet’s high-protein, low-fat approach is organized into four phases, the first of which encourages dieters to eat as much as they want of non-fatty, protein-rich foods, including oat bran — a key component — washed down with oceans of water. The second stage introduces vegetables, but no fruit; the third brings with it two slices of bread, a serving of cheese and fruit and two servings of carbohydrates a day, with two weekly “celebration” meals with wine and dessert (the diet is French, after all); and the final stage — six days a week of “anything goes” and one day of reversion to strict stage one.
If it sounds like the Atkins diet to you, you’re not the only one; skeptics have been dismissing it as a barely-altered version of the famous American diet for years. But we doubt that will stop it from being popular. If the allure of the French weren’t enough, Carole Middleton, mother of England’s best-known bride-to-be, is said to be using the Dukan diet to slim down before her daughter’s wedding, too.
But one skeptic interviewed by the times doesn’t believe the diet will hold outside of France: “In France we are very spoiled: we have great fish and meat,” said a Parisian Dukan-dieter. “We have 20 different varieties of no-fat fromage blanc and yogurt in every supermarket. We French have a greater competency in cooking. And more Americans are vegetarians. Ah, no, this diet, it would never work for them.”