Dukan Diet: The Fad Diet of 2011?

The Dukan Diet seems to involve cutting out most foods to lose weight fast. To me, this diet seems to be a load of carefully dosed nonsense.
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A new year looms, so there is -- wait for it -- a new diet!

The new diet soon to be making the rounds is the "Dukan Diet," named for its French originator, Dr. Pierre Dukan. Propelling it to prominence at present is its adoption by the current mother of the future princess of the English realm, in preparation for the upcoming royal nuptials. In this world of ours where communal behavior seems far more responsive to what is published in People than in the New England Journal of Medicine, this will surely be enough to create a phenomenon.

And to that, I say: alas. Because, to me, this diet seems to be a load of carefully dosed nonsense.

As best I can tell, this is classic quick-fix weight-loss hooey. The diet seems to involve cutting out most foods -- carbohydrate foods in particular -- to lose weight fast. Then, foods are slowly added back to make the diet livable. But, to avoid weight regain, you have to keep circling back to the "just cut out everything" phase. Stunning, isn't it, that not being allowed to eat most foods leads to weight loss?

There is objection to this altogether objectionable diet from an unsuspected quarter: the Atkins camp. They contend that Dukan simply isn't doing it right, and that Atkins does it better. But frankly, this seems like the pot calling the kettle black to me. Basically, the Atkins camp doesn't want anyone else getting credit for, or making money from, silliness they came up with in the first place!

Quick-fix diets such as this do, indeed, cause rapid weight loss. So what?

Cockamamie cut-foods-out then add-them-back then cut-them-out diets are not about health. They are not about a healthy relationship with food. They are not about the long term. They are not about learning to love food that loves you back. And, they are not about family. While you are busy deciding what to cut out or add back to your dinner at 6 p.m., what the heck will your kids be eating? In an age of epidemic childhood obesity, shouldn't we be looking for family-based approaches to healthful eating, rather than "as long as I look good in my wedding dress, I don't care what anyone else is doing!" approaches?

The choice, of course, is yours. Will you Dukan? Speaking as a physician, it is best to stay away from the type of diet that calls for cutting foods out of your diet and then adding them back in.

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