Updated: 12/01/2017

Dukan Diet Review - Does This Diet Really Work?


Dukan Diet isn’t your grandmother’s diet product. We looked at the ingredients, side effects, clinical support, and customer service. Then, we read through hundreds of user comments to see what people really thought. We summarized and condensed everything to help you get the bottom line.

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What is Dukan Diet?

Firstly, the Dukan Diet is a weight-loss plan that offers a “nutritional staircase”, weight calculator and pre-packaged foods. The original focuses on 100 allowed foods and four stages. A recent change to the program moves that to seven steps that focuses on gradual, sustainable steps.

The diet is named after French doctor and nutritionist Pierre Dukan, who developed it in 2000. There’s no date as to when the second plan was introduced, but it was at least 10 years after the first. We like that it suggests daily exercise and was created by an expert, but read on…

Outrageous Weight-Loss Claims – “Unhealthy Pace”

The first thing we noticed is the claim that you can lose 10 pounds in the first week and never gain it back. This was associated with the first plan. “Weight-loss that’s any faster than one to two pounds a week is not sustainable,” said our Research Editor. “The new plan seems to be a little more on that track.”

”I lost weight, but I felt like I was starving the whole time,” said one annoyed dieter.

”I only lost four pounds the first week,” said another.

But, others disagreed.

“The fast weight-loss the first week is what gave me the motivation to keep going,” exclaimed a dieter.

“I couldn’t believe how easy this plan was to follow,” said another thrilled customer.

Dietary Restrictions – “Hard to Stick To”

It gets easier the further along you go, but for the first 10 days, you can only eat all the lean protein you can handle, with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran, and at least 6 cups of water. In the next phase, where you can stay for months, you can eat all the non-starchy vegetables you want, and 2 tablespoons of oat bran.

Then, you can add back one piece of fruit, and one serving of dairy, two slices of whole grain bread, and a serving of hard cheese. When you’ve reached your weight-loss goal, you follow the first stage of the plan one day a week.

A less-than-happy customer said, ”It works, but when you add carbs back, you gian it back..”

”This was hard for me as a picky eater,” according to one review.

Still, many dieters had great things to say about the Dukan Diet.

We found one woman who claimed, “This encourages you to stick to complex carbs, not the simple ones that make you fat.”

“I lost 30 pounds with this plan and I love it!,” said another happy user.

We’ve learned that dieters will turn to other products and solutions if they see one small issue with something. The unreal weight-loss claims and dietary restrictions with the Dukan Diet are enough to send customers looking elsewhere.

The Science – “Maybe?”

The basic concept of focusing on lean protein and complex carbs is solid. Limiting simple carbohydrates is a good choice and can promote weight-loss. There’s not necessarily any science or reasoning to the phases in the program, however.

At DietSpotlight, we want to see science before we can recommend any product. Even when the science is there, we want it to be safe and healthy for our readers, and we want it to be easy for them to stick to.

What Users Are Saying

"”Now half my size thanks to the Dukan Diet. Truly the way to go as long as one has will power, a desire to be healthier and sticks to it to the letter. Really the best. You must read it thoroughly…several times if necessary…and stick to it. Deviations from the diet do not work. Contrary to all the naysayers, over a year and a half later, I have not gained back so much as an ounce.”"

"”Although, this is another diet book, I have tried it and it leaves me in a bad mood. This is because of no sugar. I lost 7 lbs in the first week but after that nothing. It may work for you better than me.”"

"”Not an easy diet to follow. Certain foods were required even if you didn’t like them. Don’t waste your money.”"

The Bottom Line – Does Dukan Diet Work?

What’s the real deal with Dukan Diet? It’s got a solid foundation of nutritional basics, by suggesting that you should limit your simple carb intake. But the phases and limitations can make it difficult for a lot of people to follow long term, which may mean people give up. That leaves us with some strong reservations.

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Dukan Diet

What can you eat on the attack phase of the Dukan diet?

You are able to eat up to two eggs each day, shellfish, liver of chicken or beef, skinned turkey or chicken, lean rabbit; veal; or beef, low-fat ham, dried beef, and any kind of fish whether it’s smoked or canned; dried; in brine or water; oily; fresh; frozen; or white.

How much weight can you lose in the attack phase of the Dukan diet?

If you do one day of the phase, you can lose 2lbs. When you do a three-day Attack, you can lose up to 5lbs. If you follow five days of the Dukan regime Attack Phase, you might be able to lose up to 10 lbs if you are very overweight from the start, but most people might be able to lose 7lbs.

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How long do you stay on the attack phase of the Dukan diet?

It usually lasts anywhere between 2 to 5 days. With less than 10lbs to lose, it lasts 1 or 2 days. If you have 15 to 30 lbs to lose, 3 to 5 days. The exception is if you have more than 40 lbs to lose, it can last up to 7 days.

How do I do the Dukan Diet?

There are four phases in the diet and they include:

What can you drink while on the Dukan diet?

Sugar-free; iced or hot tea and coffee, fat-free; low-sugar; low-carb milk or dairy beverages, sugar-free; no-calorie diet sodas and beverages, club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water.

How long is the cruise phase of the Dukan diet?

You’ll lose roughly 1 lb every 3 days in this phase, and it lasts between 1 to 12 months.

Can you drink diet soda on the Dukan diet?

Yes, but you will want to limit yourself to a maximum of three cans of diet soda. While it has no calories, you don’t want to be drinking it all of the time.

What are the 100 foods on the Dukan diet?

Some of them include wheat gluten; which you can have at 4 tbsp a week, goji berries; which you can have from the beginning, olive oil; which starts during the Cruise Phase, and shirataki; which you can have all of the time.

Is the Dukan diet low carb?

The Dukan Diet is a low-carb, low-fat, high protein diet that changes your eating habits, so you can stabilize your weight on a permanent basis. You can eat as much as you want as long as it’s protein or vegetable based.


Previous Dukan Diet Review (Updated August 21, 2013):

What You Should Know

The Dukan Diet is an exciting diet program that comes to us straight from France. The French have certainly milked their reputation for thinness, so what does The Dukan diet bring to the table? The Dukan Diet’s main promise is “unique and personalized weight loss coaching.” How does it deliver? The official website for Dukan is a slick online weight loss portal. The website is very impressive, offering community chat rooms, recipes, and weight loss tip content. It seems that Pierre Dukan, the eponymous founder the The Dukan Diet, also often pops in for an online chat with his clients. There also seems to be a weight loss contest and, of course, The Dukan Diet Recipe Book is available for sale. Most recently, the Dukan Diet has been making headlnes as it is linked to Kate Middleton, Prince William's soon-to-be-bride.

List Of Ingredients

Not applicable.

Product Details

So once you get past the hype, what all goes into the Dukan Diet? The Dukan website goes out of its way to promote their “Online Slimming Coach” feature. Is this a real person who answers your weight loss questions? It was a little difficult to find out. It seems that, when signing up for this diet, readers need to answer eleven questions. After signing the deal, you must answer a further eighty questions. Based on your answers to these questions, you are given a “personal slimming assessment” that outlines your weight loss strengths and weaknesses, and lays out a plan for attaining your desired weight and keeping you that way. Our first question was, “Does a real person write up your assessment?” Unfortunately, we could not find a straight answer to this question, making us think these assessments are pre-written and automatically generated based on your replies to the 80-question preliminary sign up form. This certainly doesn’t invalidate this diet, but it does take something away from their “personal” angle. We also learn that Dr. Dukan has developed and patented something called DER, which stands for “Daily Email Return.” The website boasts that this is an “interactive loop.” You receive an email every morning and report back on your day’s activities—presumably on your eating and exercise, although this is not specified. The DER takes this into consideration and sends you a modified email the next morning. Again, it is unclear if this is a human writing to you, or a set of triggered automatic responses. Apparently, there are 100 ingredients and 750 recipes that go with the Dukan Diet, and signing up online grants you access to all of these.


  • Easy to sign up online.
  • User testimonials are featured on the official website.


  • It is unclear whether the Dukan Diet features human nutritionists, or if it’s an automated weight loss choose-your-own-adventure.
  • We were not able to determine how much the Dukan Diet costs monthly.
  • If diet and exercise have not worked for you in the past, we see little to set this diet apart from what you’ve already tried.


The Dukan Diet definitely takes advantage of Web 2.0, and it seems to be very popular in Europe. Not to mention the surge in interest now that Kate Middleton has the diet on her bridal boot camp list. This is a diet that could not exist without the internet. Their approach to daily online communication is definitely novel. Still, we don’t see what this diet program has to offer; it seems more expensive than buying a book, without providing the support of a group program, or the benefits of a supplement.
Summer Banks Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.

19 Dukan Diet Reviews

  • Need help to low carbs
    corin doria

    Can someone please tell me if Julians Bakery breads are allowed? she has a wonderful high protein bread, low cabs? in addition, does the Dukan allow for counting “NET” carbs , or just avoid the all together? please help

    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Corin! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the Dukan Diet official website for more information.

  • donna rae

    what is the total cost of the dukan diet?

    • Firm Thighs and Butt

      Hi Donna Rae,

      Dukan diet doesn’t cost anything to start. However, I would advise you to read the dukan diet book as it will help you follow the diet precisely and you will learn a lot about weight loss and your body. The book is cheap, less then $13 for new one from Amazon.

      But if you are one of those people that could benefit from personal coaching, you can sign-up for Dukan Diet personal program, which I think is around $30 per month.

      I did dukan diet, bought the book as the coaching wasn’t available yet (or i wasn’t aware of it) and I will never regret it…I lost 7 kg and still losing them.


    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Donna! For more information on where to purchase this product and its cost, please refer to the Dukan Diet official website.

  • Patrick

    Dukan diet online coaching is extremely poor and not worth the large sum of money (close to £200!!) buy the book and don’t purchase the online package!!

  • Need more information about quark.
    Barbara Webb (Verified User)

    I have now lost 8.5 kg on the diet. Can anyone tell me what is quark. I cannot find it anywhere is Australia

    • Olga

      Quark is pretty well same as non-fat cottage or ricotta cheese. for sure you can substitute this but chose the organic ones without the additives or unnecessary chemicals.

    • Anonymous

      Fat Free Cream Cheese

    • Karoline

      Quark is not fat free cream cheese or cottage cheese. It is a little different.It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of denaturation of milk proteins is met, and then strained. Dictionaries usually translate it as curd cheese or cottage cheese, although most commercial varieties of cottage cheese are made with rennet, whereas traditional quark is not. It is soft, white and unaged, similar to some types of fromage frais. It is distinct from ricotta because ricotta (Italian: recooked) is made from scalded whey. Quark usually has much lower fat content (about the same as yoghurt) than cream cheeses and has no salt added.

  • What could be the reason for pain?
    Ben (Verified User)

    after 8 weeks into the dukan diet i am now getting serious chest & upper back pains and breathlesness until i take 400grm of Ibuprofen tablets to reduce the pain, What could be the cause of this ?

    • nicole

      hi i was wondering if you figured the chest pain out and if you continued the diet?

  •  Lost weight and never felt better!
    idrathernot (Verified User)

    There are millions of people doing the program without the website. There are forums available and all it takes is the book. I have lost 20 lbs in one month and have never felt better. It teaches you how to make good food choices and lifestyle choices. Read the book before you have an opinion. Don’t bother with t he online ‘coaching’ go to the forum for real coaching for free!

  •  Didn't like it at all!
    anon-in-london (Verified User)

    I agree 100% with Anonymous – do NOT bother with the coaching program. There is nothing personal about it at all, it is a programming algorythm that simply spews out a pre-set message every day. If you email support you’ll wait days – there is no ‘personal’ at all. The sample menus are ridculous unless you’re a wealthy housewife with nothing to do but prepare meals.
    I posted this same message on the coaching forum, and it was immediately deleted! And for that, I paid £60 for 3 months!! What a rip-off!!

  •  Try another diet.


    A European filmmaker has been reversing weight problems in NON diabetics with a Diabetes diet.
    It has been giving people who have a hard time losing weight a normal body weight fast
    It is now used in 10 countries. ALL weight issues are caused by Food chemicals and he shows how to reverse it
    if you are Diabetic or not

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

  •  Don't sign up on this product
    Anonymous (Verified User)

    Do not sign up for Dukandiet.co.uk. The website, once you get into it (having paid your money – £40/month approx) is amateur, the language is poorly translated from French and the support is virtually non-existent. There are more outages than a rotating exit door, the forums are policed and critical messages deleted; they allegedly take more money for online purchases from their web stores claiming exchange rates are to blame (that’s if you get what you’ve paid for). It is most certainly an interactive computer program and the management are laughing all the way to the bank. Use the book, use forums and give this website a very wide berth.

  •  This will change your personality
    alex t

    The Dukan diet may improve your physique; however, it takes a toll on your patience. I am a 17 year old son of a mother who is currently on this diet, and the effects are obvious. Although she may be slowly losing those 1 or 2 pounds per week, that weight loss comes at a cost. The Dukan diet changed her personality. This diet puts the dieter through enough hardship and pain that it is hard if not impossible to hide it. My mother is not the same person she was before; this diet has turned a sweet loving mother with tons of patience into an unbalanced monster. She takes her anger about the pain she is experiencing through of this diet out on my sister, her friends, and me. To tell you the truth, she was beautiful before she started this diet and now I can’t even stand to look at her. This diet is horrid and not worth what is turns you into; a fake skinny monster.

    • SuzyQ

      That sounds like menopause, NOT Dukan. It is a pleasant, workable and enjoyable regime that I have followed for ten months and will continue to follow for the rest of my life. Suggest hormone replacement!

    • Shirley Bennet

      Hi Alex,
      I am just writing you as I am currently in need of loosing weight but noticed your comment as to a fake skinny monster! Were you saying that the diet doesn’t work or that it simply had negative consequences to it? Thank you kindly for your time! I am interested simply because I am not just a healthy weight I am overweight and need to loose 15 pounds! Sincerely,Shirly Bennet