Marathon Monday: Pierre Dukan

Trusted and loved by celebrities, royalty and politicians, one thing you can’t deny, the Dukan Diet is pretty popular. It’s the one the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother used to slim down before the royal wedding (and rumoured to be the same used by the Duchess herself and her sister).

Jennifer Lopez swears by it, as does Katharine Jenkins and even French President Francois Hollande. Divided into phases, those seeking to lose weight begin on a protein heavy diet, devoid of fruit, vegetables and low in fat for 5-10 days, dependent on the level of weight loss needed, alongside the introduction 20 minutes of exercise (brisk walking) every day.

The second phase is cruise, with a steady weight loss of 1-2lbs per week. Dieters alternate days of pure protein and protein and vegetables along with an increase in exercise to around 30 minutes brisk walking per day.

Phase three is consolidation, where you begin to bring your diet back to ‘normal’. You can add small amounts of fruit, bread and dairy to your diet and two portions of starch per week. Another compromise are the ‘celebration’ meals where twice a week your can say yes. Though this is tempered by a protein only day.

Finally the stablisation phase, where you can return to normal bar a single protein day a week, and recommendations are still made for you to keep your exercise levels high, and you have the option of adding an extra protein day should you feel the weight start to creep on again.

Though this is written in a simplified format, you get the idea. It’s a toughie. And it hasn’t been without its controversy.

So why, with all this success, all these celebrity followers, all these millions made, would Pierre Dukan release a second version?  I was curious. Luckily, thanks to the powers of conference telephone calling, I had the opportunity to interview him, to ask why.

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Thank you so much for talking to me – and I must add initially thank you from one or two of my female friends who follow your diet religiously. I’m curious, as it seems to be mostly women who follow the diet?

“Yes, a lot of women follow the diet, not only in France and Britain, but all over the world. I travel the world and I am so glad, so proud to see how many people do my diet. Because it is so difficult to lose weight. The government says that we have to lose weight, but nobody helps.

We live in a world of abundance and we are programmed to live in a poorer environment.”

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Why did the change in the diet come about? Why the Dukan Diet 2?

“Because I start creating this diet when I was younger and at my office, with my patients. All these patients were very very motivated, they came to meet me at my office and sometimes waited a month before an appointment, and they had to pay one time, two times, very involved, they wanted to lose weight.

I believed that everyone was were the same, but when I wrote my book, and the books sold to so many people, I noticed that a lot of them, maybe half of them, said it is too hard for us, we are not heroes. We should like to have something a little less hard, because we have not a lot to lose.

Of course, when we have 20-25kg, we want to fight, but when you have 6/7kg without health problems like diabetes, or high blood pressure, or joint problems, it is not necessary to go so far. We like to sometimes have a small treat, or a small reward and we want to eat bread! And that’s the reason I created this diet. The philosophy is just the same, the three phases, the attack, cruise and consolidation phases are still the same, but they occur over one week. Monday, the first day you have the protein, like the attack phase. The second day you have protein and vegetables, like the cruise phase. Wednesday, you have protein, vegetables and one fruit. Thursday you have more protein, vegetables, fruit and two slices of bread, and the Friday you have the same with a portion of cheese. Saturday you have the same again, but with a portion of starchy food, carbs, and the Sunday you have the celebration meal. And the second week you do the same.

It’s the same diet, just differently organised.

That is more easy, because the weekend you can go out, you can see your friends and you can have pleasure and interrupt the diet.

It depends on the motivation you have.”

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Finally, how did it feel to be part of the royal wedding? 

“I was so pleased! We sent through copies to Carole Middleton and we could not have imagined the success.”

So this diet appears to be easier, less rigid and suitable for those who need to lose less weight. I believe copies of these books are being sent over to the Middleton family too.

If I can clear a couple of weeks in my diary food and drink wise, I might even give this one a go myself…

Dukan Diet 2, RRP £14.99, is available nationwide. For more information about Dukan Diet 2 visit www.dukandiet.co.uk 

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