Is a 69-year-old doctor the new man in Kate Middleton’s life? Pierre Dukan, dubbed the Dr Atkins of France, is responsible for Europe’s most popular diet book. And it’s reportedly the one that Kate Middleton and her mother Carole are following to drop pounds before the royal wedding.
The book, which will be released in the U.S. in April, outlines a protein-rich, low-fat approach to weight loss. According to The New York Times, there are four phases of the Dukan diet: the first involves a strict menu of non-fatty protein (skinless turkey, chicken breast, low-fat beef, or fish), plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran daily and loads of water. In phase two, dieters are introduced to veggies. Phase three, they’re allowed two slices of bread, a serving of cheese and fruit and two servings of carbs a day, with a wine-and-dessert allowance two days a week. In the final phase of the diet, “Dukamaniacs” (as they're dubbed) can eat anything they want, provided they return to phase one’s protein, oat bran, and water regimen one day per week.
According to the Daily Mail, Carole Middleton lost four pounds in four days following the diet. Daughter Kate is rumored to have hopped on the Dukan bandwagon as well, amidst public concerns over her shrinking frame. Kate's given no confirmation of her diet plans to the press. “It’s a hugely private matter,” a royal press aide told the Associated Press.
The Dukan diet is the kind of plan that doesn’t just cater to royalty. A huge hit with carnivores, as well as those who loathe the gym, the diet’s low-impact cardio component only requires 20 minutes of walking.
But some health experts warn of nutritional hazards: “We call it the ‘Do-can’t’ diet,” Sian Porter, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, told the Times. “Even if you can survive it for the first few days, it’s hard to stick with it. It’s hard on your kidneys. And it’s expensive.”
The French health agency ANSES warns that the diet contains too much salt, and not enough vitamin C and fiber—an imbalance that could take a serious physical toll on the body. ‘‘The Dukan diet is associated with an increased risk of cancer and heart disease, even if this has not yet been proved in tests,” says ANSES chief researcher Dr. Jean-Michel Lecerf in Daily Mail. Lecerf also believes that after initial weight loss, dieters are likely to put the weight back on.
Dukan has dismissed those allegations as unscientific and counters that his diet can prevent obesity. But for already skinny women, like Kate and Carole Middleton, the diet may be more cosmetic than health-based. “Of course you lose weight at the beginning,” Elle magazine’s Michèle Fitoussi told the Times of her experience on the diet. “You are so bored eating nothing but sliced turkey and fake crab that you lose the desire to eat.”
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