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by DietWrite, Diet.com's Diet and Fitness News Reporter
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During this phase, the goal is to lose weight quickly and to "kick-start" the diet. Dieters stay on a strict, high-protein eating plan throughout this phase. There is no calorie counting or measuring cups required. Dieters simply eat as much protein as they need to feel satisfied as long as it is lean protein. In addition, dieters are required to eat 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and drink at least 1.5 gallons of water daily.

2. The Cruise Phase:

During the Cruise Phase, you incorporate vegetables. This phase has dieters alternating between protein only days, and protein and vegetable days. Vegetables with higher carbohydrate content such as peas, carrots, and potatoes are off limits. How long you stay in the Cruise Phase depends on how much weight you need to lose. Dieters should plan on being in this phase for 3 days for every pound they need to lose.

3. The Consolidation Phase

During this phase, dieters gradually incorporate "forbidden" foods. The rule of unlimited lean protein and vegetables still applies. In addition to protein and vegetables, dieters can have one portion of cheese, one serving of low-sugar fruit, and two pieces of bread. Dieters also get two celebration meals every week. According to Dukan, plan to stay in the Consolidation Phase 5 days for every pound you lost in the Cruise Phase.

4. The Permanent Stabilization Phase

In the final phase you are allowed to eat a varied diet, but you are expected to continue the healthy eating habits you established in the previous phases. You must also commit to eating a pure protein diet one day a week in order to maintain your weight. The final phase will be for the rest of your life.

Health Risks and Concerns

The Dukan plan has stirred up a great deal of controversy. The British Dietetic Association named it one the worst celebrity diets of 2012. The BDA makes the criticism that the diet is too restrictive and not nutritionally balanced. One diet author, Jean-Michel Cohen, called the diet "dangerous". While some criticize this plan, some dietitians don't believe high protein diets are dangerous. Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., of the Mayo Clinic, states that "For most healthy people, a high-protein diet generally isn't harmful if followed for a short time, such as six months or less, and may help with weight loss." She goes on to say there may be a risk of health problems for individuals who stay on the diet for an extended period of time, and that it is best to consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program.

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