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on June 13, 2015
Similar to Atkins, Dukan promotes a very-low-carb diet. And as with Atkins, there are four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance (though Dukan gives different names to these phases). And like Atkins, his diet is so popular, that it is impossible to ignore it, or consider it a mere “fad.” For the benefit of Amazon customers, I highlight what is new and different about Dukan. The following is quoted from my book Maimonides and Metabolism”
Phase 1: Induction (Attack). Average length is five days. Zero caloric carbs. Unlike Atkins, Dukan: (1) severely restricts fats and (2) includes 1.5 tablespoons of oat-bran fiber. Dr. Dukan also stresses the importance of drinking enough water (at least 1.5 liters/d).
Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss (Cruise). Average length two to six months. Oat-bran fiber is increased to 2 tablespoons daily. Nonstarchy vegetables are added, alternating between a day of unrestricted (nonstarchy) vegetables, and a day of only protein (like during the attack phase), with zero carbs (no veggies).
Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance (Consolidation). Length five days for every pound lost (a person who lost twenty pounds in the first two phases will do this phase for one hundred days). Oat-bran fiber remains at 2 tablespoons. The attack/pure-protein diet is reduced to only one day per week (Thursdays) instead of every other day. Two slices of whole wheat bread, one piece of fruit, and one portion of cheese are allowed each day. Two portions of starchy food (grains, legumes, or potatoes) are allowed per week. During the first half of the consolidation period (five days for every pound lost), one may have one unrestricted meal per week—eating any food one desires, without overeating. And during the second half, one may have two “celebratory” meals/week.
Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance (Stabilization). Length is continual. Oat-bran fiber is increased to 3 tablespoons. Six out of seven days are “unrestricted,” while keeping to the good habits you have acquired. One day per week of attack/pure-protein diet (Thursdays). Take the stairs (not the elevator). In all the phases, Dukan stresses the importance of daily exercise. During the first two phases keep the exercises light, such as walking, because the diet itself is very taxing. Afterward more intense exercise is appropriate.

Pros:
1. Fast! The Dukan Attack phase is the fastest way to lose fat while maintaining muscle! It is faster than Atkins because instead of burning ingested fats, the body is forced to burn body fat for energy.
2. Fiber. One of my biggest complaints with Atkins is the lack of fiber. Dukan solves that by stressing the importance of including a couple tablespoons of oat-bran fiber.
3. Balanced and Feasible. Unlike the Atkins maintenance phase that keeps carbs below 10 percent, with Dukan you are not so restrained for six days of the week. For many people this makes the difference between the impossible and the possible. The idea of permanently having one day per week of restricted carbs is genius (extreme restriction from fats on that day I think is unnecessary), because it reduces one’s glycogen reserves, insuring insulin sensitivity and keeping one from storing fat as long as those reserves don’t get filled up.

Cons:
1. For people who are capable of getting sufficient fiber in real food, that approach is preferred to supplementation because it allows consumption of the many micronutrients and bioactive compounds contained in high-fiber foods. Calories from vegetables slows down the short-term fat-loss, but their benefits pay off in the long run, as vitamins A and D (plus calcium) help reduce fat-cell numbers and improve leptin balance.
2. Phase 2 is quite difficult to adhere to. Many people might need a milder/slower approach.
3. Legumes are very healthy, and high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To totally abstain from them in phase 2, and restrict in phase 3 to two portions per week, is too restrictive, in my opinion.
4. As with all diets, Dukan fails to address the problem that fat-mass decrease leads to a decrease in leptin. Without a way to increase leptin and improve leptin sensitivity, fat loss is very limited for most people.

Notes:
A person who carefully follows the Dukan instructions in the first two phases can expect dramatic short-term results. Most people desire a fast solution to obesity, and as Dukan delivers on this better than any other diet, it is no wonder he sold 20 million copies, and his book quickly became the most popular diet book of all time.

Dr. Dukan is of the opinion that most people want (and succeed better with) detailed diet instructions and a rigid plan, as opposed to being taught principles of physiology enabling each person to make adjustments for their personal circumstances. Maimonides and Metabolism equips you with the knowledge of your opponent (your body). With the deeper understanding of your physiology and how your hormones work, you will know how to adapt your diet to any situation.

Dr. Dukan admits that many people who attempted his methods “manage to keep going for a while but then lose their way, and some of the weight they lost goes back on.”(pg. 268) He also recognizes that with many people “resistance sets in, weight loss slows down, and one day the body resists a little more than on other days and weight loss comes to a halt”(pg. 290) The Dukan solution: “I prescribe what I call a ‘blitz operation’…four days of the Attack diet’s pure proteins without any deviation, restricting salt, etc.…” (pg. 291) This solution reminds me of how we used to fix the TV when we were kids. We’d smack it. If that didn’t work, we’d smack it again. If necessary, we’d smack it harder. Heck, sometimes it worked!

It’s safer to go with a more conservative approach. Even though the idea of FAST weight-loss is appealing, too often it sets up a fast rebound. Like charging into a slingshot, the faster one hits it, the faster one bounces in the opposite direction. That’s another reason to include high-fiber vegetables in the first phases every day. Once the body is accustomed to Dukan’s pure-protein attack, adding in necessary foods, such as vegetables, may be used by the body to halt fat loss.

Criticisms:
1. Lipid-phobia. Dr. Dukan writes: “Lipids (fats) are the absolute enemy of anyone trying to be slim…Since Atkins appeared, opening the way for lipids by demonizing carbohydrates…cholesterol and triglyceride levels rise dangerously, some people paying for this with their lives.” (pg. 18)

Refer to the studies in Maimonides and Metabolism, and you will see that Dr. Dukan is wrong; cholesterol and triglyceride levels drop significantly on the Atkins very-low-carb diet, despite ingesting more lipids.

See also the meta-analyses in Maimonides and Metabolism. Very-low-carb diets that are fueled primarily by proteins and lipids help lower insulin and glucose levels, a very important benefit for diabetics and prediabetics.

Omega-3 is an essential fat required to include in the diet, and certain vitamins require dietary fats to be absorbed.

Reducing dietary fats to a minimum helps speed fat loss, but there’s no reason to go overboard by creating a fear of one of the three macronutrients.

2. Fat cell number blooper. Healthy adults have between 25 and 30 billion fat cells, which contain about twenty to twenty-five pounds of fat. When fat mass increases, the fat cells stretch like balloons to contain it. The average size (weight) of an adult fat cell is about 0.6 micrograms, but they can vary in size from 0.2 micrograms to 0.9 micrograms.

When a person puts on fat, at first that stretches the fat cells without changing the number, but as time goes by, if the added fat mass remains, the body adapts by gradually adding more fat cells. That explains why a typical person who has been overweight for years can have 50 to 75 billion fat cells, to accommodate their twenty to sixty excess pounds of fat (beyond the twenty to twenty-five pounds of healthy fat mass).

The way The Dukan Diet explains fat cell increase leads to a seriously mistaken perception: that a person can put on fat up to a 28 BMI without adding fat cells, and if they continue to put on more fat, somewhere between 28 and 29 BMI their 25 billion fat cells suddenly all simultaneously divide in two, yielding a total of 50 billion fat cells instantaneously! Dr. Dukan writes (pgs. 227-28):

“It is important to pinpoint simply and concretely the moment in their weight history when there is this risk of cell division….” “If the weight gain continues, the adipocytes hypertrophy, or enlarge, and reach the limit of their elasticity. At this critical moment, any additional weight gain triggers a new and exceptional event, completely changing the future and prognosis for weight problems. No longer able to contain any more fat the adipocyte cell DIVIDES into two daughter adipocyte cells. This simple division suddenly doubles the body’s capacity to make and store fat….” “I was able to work out statistics that enabled me to pinpoint this moment as being after BMI 28 has been reached and going toward BMI 29.”

3. Oversimplification of time needed to adapt to new lower body weight. Dr. Dukan writes (pg. 109): “The high-risk period for regaining weight lasts about five days for every pound lost, 30 days or a month for six to seven pounds, and 100 days for a loss of 18–20 pounds.”

There are more factors that influence the length of the high-risk period, such as how long the person was overweight. If a person recently put on twenty pounds, the risk period of regaining it once they’ve gotten rid of it is short compared to a person who has been living for many years with the extra twenty pounds, as his or her body has accustomed itself to the higher weight with a corresponding number of fat cells. The person who has been overweight for years has a higher homeostatic weight level, which their body is naturally set to.

Another influencing factor is the percentage of fat mass lost. For a 130-pound woman who dropped weight to 110, the loss of twenty pounds of fat (i.e., 50 percent of her total fat mass) will take much longer to acclimate to than a 600-pound obese man, whose twenty-pound loss constitutes less than a mere 5 percent of his total fat mass. This woman will have a dramatic reduction in circulating leptin, as her fat mass has been cut in half. This man won’t experience a significant reduction in leptin, because his fat mass only decreased by 5 percent.

4. Desperate and dangerous…Dr. Dukan recommends taking cold showers, sucking on ice cubes, and eating one’s food cold (pages 229-33). These methods will burn calories, but there is a risk of becoming ill. Losing fat reduces leptin, which weakens the immune system. Combining extreme dieting with cold showers may push people beyond their limits.
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on October 13, 2011
I will keep this review very simple. This diet worked for me.

I am only 5 feet tall and, since the age of 15, have always been a very careful, healthy eater and a regular exerciser. However, in the past ten years, my weight just continued to creep higher and higher. No matter how much I tried, I simply could not lose the weight. I had my hormones checked and my thyroid checked and just about everything else checked and the weight simply continued to pile on slowly and regularly.

Please don't say that a "better" diet and "more exercise" would have worked. It simply did NOT work for me, and my diet was about as balanced, low-fat, and healthy as a diet could be and I walked and exercised nearly every single day. Yet, I got fatter and more sluggish as time went on.

All those scientists and nutritionists and doctors out there who are telling people not to follow the Dukan Diet, please tell me why I gained so much weight if I ate only good foods, watched my calories carefully, never (and I do mean never) ate junk, and exercised regularly? Was I supposed to accept the theory that it was "menopause" or "aging" or something else that I couldn't control?

Out of sheer desperation,and thanks to a suggestion from my sister, I bought The Dukan Diet book and I started the diet. I have lost 22 pounds, and I now weigh about what I weighed when I was only 18!! I went from a size 8 to a size 4 (and sometimes 2), I have energy and muscle tone, and I feel great.

There are some carbohydrates in this diet (the oat bran and wheat bran) and there are also the natural sugars that occur in the dairy products that (thankfully) are "allowed" on the diet. In the third phase, one would add in fruits, pasta, bread, etc., once again.

I am now in the third phase of the diet, in which these foods are added back in.

While I would guess that this diet could be quite unhealthy if you stayed on it forever, this is really a short-term diet with a long-term plan for healthy eating and weight maintenance. Everything that Pierre Dukan says in the book makes a lot of sense to me. I am not a doctor, not a scientist, and not a nutritionist. However, I don't know a single person who went on a calorie-restricted diet and did not gain the weight back after reaching his/her weight goal and then eating like a normal person again.

It makes sense to me that if you go on a calorie-restricted diet for a period of time and simply resume eating regularly after you lose weight, you will most likely gain the weight back. If you use the Dukan Diet, follow the diet through its first two phases, and then begin to add foods back in slowly, it seems to make sense that you will most likely maintain your weight. Better yet, you will have accomplished something wonderful and focused on your health and well-being as well as on your eating styles.

What I liked best about this diet, besides the fact that it WORKED, is that non-fat dairy products are allowed (and there is a lot to choose from these days) and certain soy-based burgers are allowed. Additionally, the first phase, the attack phase, in which you eat only proteins, is really for only a short time. Then, you can add in vegetables once again.

I did not like many of the recipes in the book; however, by reading the ingredients, I was able to create recipes that worked and still fit within the parameters of the diet. For example, I could not stomach the thought of the Dukan Pizza with salmon; however, I took the portion of the recipe that made the "pizza crust" and made two pancake-sized crusts instead. I was able to use that like bread, and darned if it didn't satisfy any desire for bread!

I am proud of myself for accomplishing my weight loss goal, and I am thankful to Pierre Dukan for creating and sharing this very easy to follow diet.

By the way, I found the Dukan approach to be less boring than what I was doing every day before I started the diet. Want to know why? Because I IMMEDIATELY began to lose weight! Losing weight by eating every day and walking for only 20 or 30 minutes was surely a lot easier and more exciting than counting/restricting calories, taking an aerobics class, and wondering how much more I would weigh the next day despite watching what I ate and exercising.

Following a particular diet is a very personal choice, and many of my friends took one look at this book and said they couldn't possibly follow this diet. I found it easy to follow.

Because I am still in the third phase of the diet, I honestly cannot comment on the long-term result. However, I can, with all honesty, say that, if it weren't for the Dukan Diet, I would still be 22 pounds heavier!
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on December 29, 2015
This diet has changed my life. I never had a weight problem in my life until after menopause. Was always able to eat what I wanted without worry - bread, cheese, pasta, sweets, wine, etc. No more unfortunately. Tried every diet on earth. Only thing that worked was calorie counting but could never maintain it long term. In early 2011, I ran into a woman I knew for many years who a few months earlier had been about 40 lbs heavier, I asked how she lost the weight. She told me about the Dukan diet. I immediately downloaded the book. She has lost over 60 lbs to date. I lost 50 lbs over 1.5 years @ a slow 5 lbs/month because I was not following it religiously. We have both kept it off since 2013 (today is 12/29/2015). We both have had brief periods reverting to old habits around holiday times, putting on 10-15 lbs, but were quickly able to take it off again by returning to the diet. It's now a way of life, but not an unpleasant one. Another woman in our dog park group, also over 60, recently went on it and has so far lost 30+ lbs in three months and is thrilled. She also is finding it very easy to follow and expects it to be a lifetime change of habit. Highly recommend. It's basically eating the way you have always been told to. Lots of lean protein and veggies. I haven't eaten the oatmeal pancake in years. But I have given up bread, cheese, pasta and sweets. Difference is I don't mind anymore..
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on October 8, 2015
I have to say I had my doubts about this diet, but I saw such results with my sister that I thought I'd try it. I am so impressed! Weight came off FAST, and the diet seems healthy and makes sense to me. I am about two days away from the transition phase, which will last 170 days for me, and I can't wait! I am hopeful this weight will stay off for good because the diet prepares you for lifelong weight management. What I love about it is that I don't have to count calories, carbs, points, etc. Also, I truly haven't been hungry. I highly recommend for people who are ready to change the way they eat.
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on September 12, 2016
I really had lost hope on any diet helping me. Being right at that age. I have done low carb before, but even that wasn't working, and I really needed to shed some weight as now I was getting swollen ankles and was getting worried that if I didn't do something I would be in for major health issues.

Enter the Dukan Diet. I did 10 days on the Attack stage and lost 6 pounds. Not bad, but the true test would be if I continued to lose weight or if I would plateau for months, like I've done before.

I have to say, I think the key is watching the fat intake along with eating lower carb, as Dr. Dukan suggests.

I have lost 2 to 3 pounds a week since and it's been 5 weeks now and I'm down 19 pounds. I am doing a combination of belly dance and Kettlebells for exercise.

Typical Day -
Breakfast -
either 2 boiled eggs and 3 slices of turkey bacon
or egg scramble with egg whites and 1 whole egg, 3 slices of canadian bacon

Lunch -
Protein - left over steak, chicken, salmon or a lean hamburger patty
On Protein / veggie days I add a big salad, or some steamed broccoli / brussels sprouts, or a bell pepper

Snack -
Fat Free Greek yogurt with my oat bran and I do mix a bit of peanut butter powder in for taste, and a little splenda. The peanut butter powder is very low in fat and calories and has been a good addition, imo.

Dinner -
Smoked Salmon, Steak, chicken, Tilapia, lean center cut chop (some protein)
On veggie days adding in a generous helping of salad, or veggies. I have done an antipasta salad with lean ham, turkey pepperoni.

I use Bolthouse dressings, as they are yogurt based, and far less fat and the ranch and blue cheese ones are low in sugar.

I'm so stoked over this way of eating, and I can't wait to come back and continue updating my progress on this review.
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on October 12, 2016
I want to give a longer-term perspective on this diet. I am writing this in October, 2016. I first started the diet on December 16, 2012. I weighed 218 pounds (I’m a 5’10” male). I followed the diet very strictly with no cheating. Although I craved some foods (like pizza), I found that if I ate a lot of the foods allowed in the diet, my cravings were under control. I was never hungry. I started during the holiday season so before I went to Christmas parties at work or with friends, I would stuff myself as full as I possibly could with the recommended foods. This helped me to get through the party without cheating, and I still lost weight the next day. There were some periods where my weight would bounce up a little for a couple of days and I would get concerned and frustrated, but I stuck with it and it would drop again and keep falling.

I finished phase 2 on March 10, 2013. I had lost, on average, a little over 2 pounds per week. On March 11, 2013, I weighed 188 pounds and was feeling fantastic. I was nervous to move to phase 3 because I thought I might gain back some weight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I did not. I loved phase 3! Having two slices of whole-wheat bread, fruit and vegetables every day was heavenly. I could eat legumes (like chili) or whole-wheat pasta a couple of times a week and a celebration meal (anything I want, normal portions) once a week. After a couple of months on phase 3, I was so certain that I could live like this forever, that I gave away all of my fat clothes.

I kept track of my weight for much (but not all) of my time since then. Here are some examples:
- 9/10/2013 (six months on phase 3), I weighed 189.4 pounds
- 1/2/2014 (after the holidays), I weighed 198.6 pounds
- 3/10/2014 (a year after ending phase 2), I weighed 200.8 pounds
- 9/14/2014 (about a year-and-a-half after ending phase 2), I weighed 211.6

Over time, it was harder for me to stick to the diet and I have obviously been eating more of the junk I love. I stayed roughly between 208 and 212 pounds for much of the time since then. Sometimes I go higher. On Jan 1, 2015 (after the holidays), I weighed 219.6 pounds. I went on the diet again and got down to 210 and again stayed between 208 and 212 for a while. Recently, on Oct 2, 2016, I weighed in at 222.2 pounds and have started the diet again.

Although I haven’t kept the weight off like I had hoped, I am still very glad that I know how to follow this diet. When I follow it for brief periods, the weight comes off again and I feel much better after a few days on it. My advice is to never leave phase 3. There is a lot that can be eaten on that phase and I think it could be sustainable. Phase 4 is not sustainable for me.

Many comments say that the diet seems unhealthy. I have had multiple medical check-ups while living the diet. I had one for life insurance after I lost weight (I got a cheaper rate). I usually stick to the diet for a few weeks before my annual physical. When I’m on the diet, my blood pressure and cholesterol are lower than they have been in years. My cholesterol is at the bottom of the range they call healthy. My pulse is so low (near the bottom of the healthy range) that the nurse once said I must be a runner, but I’m not. All of my vitals come in great.

The one measurement that is slightly outside of normal levels is Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN). This is a reading for how well your kidneys are doing. It is known that high-protein diets raise BUN levels. Mine have been slightly higher than the recommended range, but my doctor has not brought it up as something to be concerned about. Doing online research (like any other health topic) brings up results on both sides. Some say it's bad for you, others say it isn’t a problem.

I have lost 6 pounds in the last 10 days on the diet and this time I am going to stick with it. I also plan to read “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health”. It seems to support a low-carb diet as long-term solution (I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my wish list). I have come to believe that this is the only option for me to not weigh 400 pounds in the future. The diet works for me.
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on December 10, 2015
For the first time I am losing weight and I am full! Why I did not try this diet before, it truly works. When doing my juice fasts which were also effective at losing weight but not for keeping any of the weight off, I was sure I was losing muscle, now if everything is true I am losing fat. Thank-you! Thank-you doctor!
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on February 8, 2015
GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE ENGLISH ROYAL FAMILY - SO I TRIED IT - THE ATTACK VERSION (first part) IS SO INCREDIBLE - GREAT IF YOU ONLY HAVE TO LOSE A LITTLE WEIGHT! which is very hard!! I HAVE REFERRED THIS BOOK TO A TRILLION FOLKS. I ATE FILET MIGNON FOR THE ATTACK PART - LOST MORE WEIGHT THAN I SHOULD HAVE -- GET THIS BOOK - IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT - AND STAY HEALTHY - I LOVE THIS AUTHOR.
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on October 2, 2012
I was totally against going on another diet, but my husband read about this on the internet and pitched it because our son wanted all three to lose some weight together as a new year's resolution. We started by listening to the book on audible.com then ordered the printed version here on Amazon. You really need the lists of allowed foods and such in the written version. We began the diet on January 15th of 2012 and I have now lost 102 lbs and I'm still losing. My husband has lost nearly 70 lbs while my son has dropped 50 lbs.

I had been on all of the diets, you name it and I had tried it. I have lost and gained countless lbs. but each time I gained back the weight with interest, so when I tell you this is different please believe me. I say that with a vast amount of experience not only do the pounds come off quickly but you aren't hungry. The difference is in your body is noticeable right away so you are constantly motivated by your own results. It makes the daily food decisions so much easier because you are rewarded for good choices right away instead of the small weekly losses in other diets.

I was actually considering weight loss surgery before trying the Dukan Diet. I'm losing weight through diet and exercise just as fast as I was expected to lose with the surgery. I'm not sure this guy is the best writer I've read but he did succeed in convincing me this could be done and also taught me/us how to do it. We simply read the book and when we had questions we looked on the internet, there are so many others who are doing this and sharing their stories on the web. I was greatly encouraged to find so many women in my age range losing large amounts of weight sharing their stories on blogs and other sites. I don't know if you can ask any more of a diet or a diet book.

There have been countless changes in my body and my health with losing this much weight. My doctor has taken me off most of the medications I was on and my husband has seen the same kind of positive results. I look forward to getting to the next step in the diet but not because of adding in foods that will be allowed but because of this new lease on life as the smaller healthier me. This really works don't let anyone who hasn't given it a real try tell you different!
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on May 19, 2014
My husband and I purchased this book and went on the diet immediately. He has lost 30 lbs and I have lost 20 lbs. It was the easiest diet I have ever been on. We can eat so much food and still lose weight. No special foods to buy, just follow the diet. The first few weeks are protein based and this is the phase you lose the most weight. you eventually get to add veggies and then carbs once you are at your desired weight. we have both reached our goal weight but we maintain and still have our cheat nights as we call them. If we gain a few pounds we eat protein for the next couple days. try it you won't be sorry!
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