Diabetes and the Dukan Diet
Is this diet du jour a good choice for people with diabetes?
By Lynn Prowitt-Smith
So the story goes that Kate Middleton and her mother — both of whom were stunning at the royal wedding — lost weight prior to the nuptials by going on the Dukan Diet. Created in 2000 by a French neurologist named Pierre Dukan (and you know how neurologists tend to be experts in nutrition and metabolism), it's billed as a high protein, low fat, and low carb diet. His book, Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever (Crown, 2011), made its way to the U.S. marketplace this year.
Aside from the help of the royals, the diet is popular probably because it employs some well known gimmicks and strategies that people tend to like. First, it has four phases, so no particular period of deprivation lasts too long. Second, it allows for "cheating." And third, it provides food lists, which make it easier to shop and plan meals than if you have to learn about what foods contain and count and track nutrient amounts like fat grams or carb grams, etc.
In a nutshell, what's good about the diet is that it's high in protein and fiber and (except on the "pure protein" days) provides a lot of vegetables. What's bad about the diet is that it's low in fat, and the most recent health research does not support restricting fat for health and weight loss. Natural fats are both good for you and satiating. Second, in phase two — known as "Cruise," which lasts as many days as you have pounds to lose, multiplied by three (fun gimmick) — you can eat goji berries (expensive, fad superfood) and an unlimited amount of certain veggies, some of which are higher carb and easy to overeat because they're sweet. In phase three, known as "Consolidation," you get to eat fruit, bread, starchy foods, and some desserts. Talk about suddenly spiking your blood sugar!
Finally, Dr. Dukan is big on eating spoonfuls of oat bran every day. Now, fiber is good for bowel regularity and blood sugar moderation, to name just two of the myriad health benefits. But fiber comes in many forms. Interestingly (or tellingly?), Dr. Dukan has created his own product — oat bran milled to his specifications — and he apparently will be introducing this to the U.S. marketplace soon.
Lynn Prowitt-Smith is the food & nutrition editor for dLife.
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