A French diet book called Je Ne Sais Pas Maigrir (I Dont Know How To Get Thin) by Dr. Pierre Dukanhas been a runaway bestseller and an Amazon top-10 book in France for the last three years due to its method of rapid weight loss. Recently published in England under the title The Dukan Diet with the banner Five Million French People Cant Be Wrong, its already a best seller there and will be available in the U.S. in April.The diet consists of four parts. The first and most drastic, which lasts from 3 to 10 days, is called the attack and only allows protein -- lean meats and fish, eggs and 0% fat dairy products. Its even stricter than Atkins; no oils, butters or fatty meats like pork, no carbohydrates, no alcohol. Even vegetables and fruits are prohibited during the attack stage (oat bran is allowed as all that lean protein can be hard to digest). During this beginning period, one can expect an immediate loss of 5 to 20 pounds. In the next phase, vegetables are reintroduced with the proteins. Once again theres a strict list of whats allowed, no fatty avocados or artichokes (considered a carb!), no legumes. If you have a lot to lose, Dukan suggests that two phases alternate until the desired weight is achieved.Part 3, the consolidation phase, is what keeps the weight off. For each pound lost multiply by 5 (ie. if you lose 20 lbs., then this phasewill last for 100 days). Fat and carbohydrate consumption are strictly monitored to control insulin so what you eat triggers the body to burn fat rather than store it. This is followed by the last phase, stabilization, where you eat normally, but by then you have incorporated the good habits learned on the diet into a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. Dr. Dukan allows two gala meals a week where dieters can eat whatever they want (for the French that means pats, sauces, a cheese course, dessert and wine!), but once a week, to maintain weight loss, an all-protein day must be set aside to keep you on the straight and narrow. The diet is not for everyone as recent articles about The Dukan Diet claim that the protein phase is hard on the kidneys. And like most diets, after the initial dramatic loss, a fairly large percentage of people do gain the weight back. But the ones who keep it off are enthusiasts for life and in France proudly refer to themselves as Dukanettes.
The book has plenty of recommendations for recipes and tips on how to cook without adding fat, including some no-fat sauces and desserts. Though he suggests that for vinaigrettes mineral oil, a laxative, be substituted for olive oil, a rather unappetizing alternative for most.
There are already web sites in English sponsored by Dukan where you can begin the diet and get personal attention. Bon appetit!
About the Author: Connie Leisure is a writer who lives in France.
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