World Exclusive! Dr Pierre Dukan: ‘I want to motivate people to fight obesity’

With the Summer at the doorstep, we all want to get fitter and we start dieting hoping to fit in the infamous bikini. You will love this world exclusive interview from our London Mums Spring 2015 magazine with the charming yet controversial Dr Pierre Dukan who told me ‘I want to motivate people to fight obesity’. Love him or loathe him, you will find this chat interesting. 

Dr Pierre Dukan collage

Dr Pierre Dukan was recently in London for the UK launch of a brand new diet plan promising easy, sustainable weight loss without sacrificing your carb fix. Editor Monica Costa went to meet him and discuss his new plan.

Before meeting Dr Dukan, I was a bit nervous as I am not a fan of diets in general. As an Italian, I like food (especially pasta!) and hate even the idea of being on a diet. So I was not sure what to expect and prepared myself to have a tough interview. But as soon as I met Monsieur Dukan, a very charming French gentleman, the tone of the interview changed. He totally charmed me and at the end of our one hour-long conversation I was ready to try the Dukan plan 2 myself (not even reluctantly).

His plan is very sound and based on universally recognised nutrition principles. There’s nothing particularly extravagant, revolutionary and not even controversial in Dr Dukan’s plan. A new trend is born now in the USA called Paleo or Caveman diet which frankly is not different from Dr Dukan’s approach to basic diet (not including refined and processed food) which has been around for over 15 years now.

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Q: Being Italian I am very passionate about food and I don’t diet. I’d like to discuss the concept behind your old and new plans.

 

PD: The Dukan Diet provides quick results for disciplined people who need to lose a lot of weight i.e. obese or significantly overweight.

 

The second plan has been modified and split into two models adapted for different audiences, both male and female wishing to lose up to 20kg of weight, looking for a less restrictive, more varied diet that introduces a nutritional and balanced approach to food consumption.

 

I have improved it and made it more flexible so that people who want and need to loose weight feel more motivated. Patients came to me asking for support to shed the weight and get more motivation to keep the weight down.

 

40% lost a lot and were motivated but 60% did not want to fight too much as they wanted to loose only a few kilos without struggling.

 

Dukan Diet 2 is a modified version of The Dukan Diet. It is less restrictive and more varied for people who want to lose up to 20kg of weight, but are not in a rush to do so.

 

Behind the regime the philosophy is the removal of sugar from the diet. And I have enjoyed your interview with Chef Aldo Zilli (in the Winter issue 2014) who also says that his kids get sugar rush when they go to birthday parties.

 

Q: You mention Professor Robert Lustig who wrote ‘Fat Chance’ and researched the effect of sugar in children (in America) for over 30 years ……

 

PD: I know Professor Lustig personally – he is like a holy man for me. He says that in a world without sugar and white flour there would be no obese and diabetic people.

 

We have now reached the peak of the amount of sugar we eat in our diet. In our society, we now tend to live 20 years longer. If you are well, it is great to live for so much longer, otherwise, with illnesses and diseases is not really great.

Genetically modified wheat is as dangerous for our health as sugar. I owe you an explanation on what is wrong with modern wheat.

If you pick up corn from a field, its GI (Glycemic Index) is 36; if you take the grains and put it in water its GI is 50; then if you make the flour with it, its GI is 72. And if with that flour you make corn flakes, its GI is 90. The basic product is destroyed in the process and looses its values. After two generations of Americans, they still give the corn flakes to the children and say that it is good and healthy for them. They claim that kids need energy. If they are running, yes it is important but not if they spend all day in front of screens and TV.

The new diet needs to reflect the fact that our lifestyle is more sedentary. But the FDA does not change the percentage of carbohydrate intakes in our diets. 50% of carbohydrates per day is far too much for a modern lifestyle.

Big corporation lobbies say that proteins are bad for you. Not just that! They pay lots of money for advertising to promote the importance of sugar and white flour in children’s health but this is all driven by commercial interests.

 

Q: How does your new plan work?


PD: In the original plan that I created in 2000, I showed a new approach to weight loss to a varied and large audience. A portion of these new dieters could achieve and maintain their true weight by following my programme, which is designed for everyone who needs to lose a large amount weight and wants quick results right from the start. Some dieters quickly and easily abandoned the method, as it requires discipline and significant changes to their eating habits. It is for these dieters, the ones happy to lose weight more moderately and in need for more flexibility, that I created a new, more diversified diet, the so called Dukan Diet 2.

 

Although different in method, Dukan Diet 2 respects the original version’s philosophy to lose weight healthily and effectively, but enables a larger audience to follow and stick to the programme being less strict and more flexible.

 

The goal of both methods is still the same: to fight against excess insulin while reducing the consumption of sugar and to facilitate serotonin secretion – the chemical behind well-being and happiness, which helps in the motivation to lose weight.

 

Within Dukan Diet 2, I have devised the Nutritional Staircase, which is a new programme that consists of seven steps. Each step corresponds to each day of the week.

 

The unit of measurement is the week itself, where each day is represented as a step. Starting on Monday, where the dieter focuses exclusively on protein-rich foods, each day of the week sees the dieter take a step upward in the direction towards enjoyment by being able to eat more diverse elements as the week progresses. As soon as Tuesday, vegetables are introduced, then fruits on Wednesday, bread on Thursday, cheese on Friday, carbohydrates and starches on Saturday, then finishing on Sunday with a celebration meal and glass of wine or champagne.

 

Each week, the dieter starts the steps once again from the beginning, Monday to Friday, in order to acquire a habit and mental conditioning essential for long-term weight loss and stabilization.

 

As such The Nutritional Staircase is ideal for those who:

  • have trouble depriving themselves of certain elements for long periods of time
  • crave a varied and complete diet
  • want to enjoy a Sunday meal where anything is permitted
  • follow a programme that is fun and enjoyable with new food groups added daily
  • are vegetarian or have trouble eating predominantly animal proteins
  • want to lose between 2-3lbs per week safely and healthily.

 

MONDAY – PROTEIN (this is what I call the ATTACK phase)

Monday is protein focused with:

  • Lean meats, offal, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, vegetable proteins and low fat dairy products are allowed in unlimited quantities.
  • Oat bran (a cereal equivalent) and konjac (a starch equivalent which Italians love because has very low calorie intake) are to replace pasta or rice.
  • Minimum 1.5 litres of liquid (water, tea, coffee, infusions and diet drinks).
  • 20 minutes physical activity

 

TUESDAY – VEGETABLES

The protein-rich foods from Monday continue into Tuesday but now the follower also includes vegetables in to their diet:

  • All vegetables (raw and cooked) are now allowed except starches
  • There is no limit to the amount of vegetables the follower is allowed to consume
  • Physical activity increases to 30 minutes for the day

 

WEDNESDAY – FRUIT

When the follower gets to Wednesday they are also allowed to add fruit to their protein and vegetable diet:

  • Only one fruit to be added
  • Any fruit is permitted except bananas, grapes or dried fruits

 

THURSDAY – BREAD

Thursday allows the follower to add bread back in to their diet:

  • Limited to two slices of bread per day
  • Bread must be whole wheat
  • White bread is not allowed

 

FRIDAY – CHEESE

By Friday the follower is allowed to reintroduce cheese to their diet:

  • Any cheese can be eaten
  • Cheese portions must not exceed 40grams

 

SATURDAY – CARBOHYDRATES

The start of the weekend sees carbohydrates being allowed:

  • A full hour of physical activity is required to cope with the change
  • Can be broken down in to two 30 minute slots of walking.

 

SUNDAY – CELEBRATION MEAL

By Sunday the follower can celebrate:

  • With a three-course meal consisting of any food they want with a glass of wine or champagne
  • As with Saturday, one hour of activity (such as walking) is required.
  • Normally when you say ‘eat as much as you like’ people only eat what they need.

 

This new solution offers the same services as the original diet. A coaching site www.dukandiet.co.uk dedicated to the new method and providing daily instructions, exercise videos, recipes and advice for members, as well as an active community.

 

Q: What do you think of the Mediterranean diet?

 

PD: The Mediterranean diet is very balanced but is not suitable for people who are 20 kilos or more overweight. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables and especially good for breastfeeding mothers. Breast milk is filtered blood so you need to produce a lot of it for the baby. The good mother who produces a lot of progesterone feels the ‘duty’ of eating more to provide for the baby. And it is perfectly ok during the breastfeeding phase.

 

Q: Why are celebrities such big fans of your diet? Carole Middleton recommended your plan to her daughter Kate before her wedding. Do you have any anecdotes about other celebrities?

 

PD: Celebrities receive the best advice and go for what is best for their health. A great follower of my plan and now a good friend of mine is the Queen’s cousin. She followed my diet and lost 17 kilos. She was in charge of organising the dinner at William and Kate’s wedding. Every time I come to London we have dinner together. She cooks meals with oat bran following my suggestions. We have such a personal connection. And we were born on the same day and year!

 

Q: Have you tried your own plan?
PD: My weight has been the same for the past 40 years. I don’t need dieting. I love eating and I also like chocolate. However sometimes after Christmas or after indulging in too many celebration meals, I go for one day of only proteins.

 

Q: What about women who need to loose just a few kilos?

 

PD: If you only need to shed a few kilos you can start the plan from day three, Wednesday. Never forget to include oat bran in your diet. That is nutritional and also makes you feel full for longer. You can find it in most shops and supermarkets these days. Before I introduced oat bran in diets over 15 years ago, that was food which was given only to horses. It is also important to remember to always eat some proteins with every meal as our body needs them for the skin, muscles, nails and so on.

 

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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