Q&A with the Dukan diet's creator

Zoe Zahra
Friday, July 1, 2011
Dukan diet
We talk to diet guru Pierre Dukan about why his formula for weight loss has helped the likes of Penélope Cruz and Pippa Middleton.

So what made you start the Dukan diet?
I was practicing general medicine and neurology and had no information about nutrition. But an adult patient asked how to lose weight and still be able to eat meat. So i suggested he just eat lean meat for 4 days and then come and see me again, and when he did he had lost 5 kilos! This mad me change direction but I didn't like counting calories so thought starting with protein first and then add vegetables was the best way as you can eat as much as you like.

How does it work?

Phase 1: A brief Attack Phase of between two and seven days kick starts the diet and gives immediate results. There are 72 protein foods you can eat as much as you want, to choose from at this stage, so no need for the dreaded "what have I let myself in for" feeling, common in other diets.

Phase 2: Cruise Phase where you add 28 vegetables, again you can eat as much as you want, which averages a sustainable 0.5kg loss until the desired target weight is reached.

Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase is designed to prevent any re-bound effect as the dieter seeks to keep to the new weight and avoid putting on pounds while eating in a more relaxed fashion. You can add cheese, complete whole bread, fruits, starchy food and "Celebration" meals.

Phase 4: Finally a Stabilisation Phase ensures... the successful dieter retains communication with the Dukan diet website which offers a series of measures to counter-act any mild weight gain.

What is it that makes Dukan so great?
The diet has a strong structure and lots of variety. I think it's easy to understand and efficient and you can eat if you're hungry so no starving. I have tried other diets but they don't have stablisation. The Dukan is learning what is necessary in your life and is easy to maintain.

Why do you think your diet has become so popular?
The coaching we have on the website is very good. You get personal instruction as everybody is different. We communicate with people so we know what they're doing and it's good to help if they have been naughty. They get a three page email in the morning. On page one it tells you what to eat for that day with menus for lunch and dinner. The second one gives physical excercies and the third is advice on motivation. In the evening when you should visit the website and it has seven clicks

What do you suggest if someone is stagnating in their weightloss?
It happens sometimes. We help with suggestions of what it might be. Maybe you have your period, too much salt or have not done enough exercise. Your body is try to resist but be patient and it'll will get back to losing weight. But if it does last too long you should see a doctor.

Do you think that exercise is essential to losing weight along with a healthy diet?
Of course yes! Fitness helps burn calories but it is also important as it releases dopamine and it gives you energy to live.

Have you had any celebs follow your diet?
Yes Jennifer Lopez, Penélope Cruz have followed the diet and Carole and Pippa Middleton are also fans.

Is there anything exciting coming up for Dukan?
Oh yes! We are making a virtual buddy on the website. You enter in your measurements for your bum, hips and thighs onto your website profile and it makes a picture of your figure. And each time you come back you re-enter the same measurements and you can see how your figure is changing and slimming down. We also have a mobile app coming soon. It works like the website. When you sign up you fill in your details and it calculates your true weight and each day you can fill in what you weigh in the morning and select what lapses you've had. You can also enter if you have done any excercise and what your emotions were like that day and it will track your weight loss in a chart.

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