The protein-heavy Dukan Diet, allegedly followed by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and her mother Carole Middleton, is ineffective and has no scientific basis, British dietitians say.
The British Dietetic Association (the professional association for registered dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland) called the Dukan Diet ‘confusing, rigid and ineffective’ with ‘absolutely no solid science behind it at all.” The group even branded the diet—which is also said to be followed by Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen—the worst celebrity weight loss plan.
That seems a little hyperbolic to me, considering how much bad celebrity diet advice there is out there! The Dukan Diet is relatively tame in comparison to some of the other diets on the BDA’s worst diet list, including the blood type diet, the baby food diet and the apocryphal-sounding ‘alcorexia diet,’ which involves saving up your calories for alcohol binges.
Followers of the Dukan Diet, a French diet plan created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, are told to shun carbohydrates and fill up on protein, much like those on the Atkins diet plan. This plays out in four phases: An initial mostly-protein ‘attack phase;’ a second phase where vegetables are also allowed; a third where more foods, such as fruit, cheese and wine, are introduced back in; and the final stage, where dieters eat only protein one day per week and ‘anything goes’ the other six days. A review of the Dukan Diet by the American Dietetic Association concluded:
Although The Dukan Diet is likely to help readers shed unwanted weight, the highly restrictive nature of the Attack and Cruise phases raise health concerns that make it difficult to recommend this diet.
On the upside, the diet does recommend several healthful practices such as choosing leaner cuts of protein, encouraging daily exercise, moderating salt intake and striving for lifelong weight management. Because it is highly regimented, The Dukan Diet can be a good fit for people who require a highly structured plan.
But BDA spokespeople say eating only one food group for days at a time is too difficult for most dieters to stick with. It also cautions that consuming so much protein puts strain on the kidneys; followers don’t get enough fiber (which can lead to constipation); and weight loss is difficult to maintain once the rigid phase of the diet is over.
“It may be obvious, but if you want to lose weight you need to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions and burn off more calories than you consume,” said BDA spokesperson Sian Porter.