Dukan Diet vs Atkins Diet: Which One Should You Choose?

(Last Updated On: August 14, 2018)

I am sure you’ve heard about rapid weight-loss solutions like Dukan or Atkins diets and you are probably wondering which one of these two programs works better and more effectively. Well, it is hard to say because there are several similarities between them. Still, there are also plenty of differences that I will discuss below, in this article.

One thing is for sure: these two eating plans are making a huge splash almost all over the world and many celebrities have tried them.

Dukan Diet vs Atkins Diet – Main Aspects

Both diets focus on carbohydrate restriction but the first phase of the Dukan diet which is called the Attack Phase is significantly stricter compared to the Atkins program’s first Induction phase. Those that follow the Dukan eating plan can only eat lean meat, seafood, poultry, fat-free dairy products, eggs, a bit of oat bran, tofu, and calorie-free beverages during the initial phase of the diet. On the other hand, Atkins dieters can eat all the aforementioned foods along with other items too such as non-starchy veggies, oil, cheese, and butter.

As you complete both diets’ phases, you will be able to include a wider variety of foods in your daily eating regimen like fruits, grains, and vegetables. However, Dukan lets you eat fewer servings compared to the Atkins system. Furthermore, during the Dukan diet, you must have one day per week in which you will consume only proteins. Both diets, though, teach their followers the proper way to control their portions as well as count their carb intake.

Dukan Diet vs Atkins Diet – Nutrition and Weight Loss

In terms of nutritional values, both these diets lack some elements such as minerals and vitamins. They have received low nutritional scores. Still, the Atkins diet is worse than the Dukan program. What I mean by that is when you follow all Atkins’ rules by the book, you might end up eating much more saturated fats than the recommended amount which is suggested by nutrition specialists and doctors. Our body needs a complex mix of nutrients, including carbs, vitamins, and fibers so you must pay attention to whether or not your diet is balanced.

These eating systems might provide a quick weight-loss and they seem to be effective but many people criticize them because of their restrictions when it comes to consuming a healthy amount of fruits and veggies. Also, there are no studies that show whether or not these diets are more effective than other standard low-calorie eating programs. A few people have even stated that the weight loss they achieve with the help of any of these diets cannot be sustained in the long run.

Dukan Diet vs Atkins Diet – Health Benefits

If you follow a carb-restricted eating plan for a short period, not only won’t you harm your well-being but you will also enjoy several health benefits:

  • Controlled blood sugar levels;
  • Lowered hunger and cravings;
  • Quick weight loss;
  • They are said to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases but this is not fully proven yet.

Pros and Cons

Dukan Diet

Advantages

  • It will help you lose weight quickly which is highly motivating for most people;
  • You don’t need to weigh your food or count calories;
  • Although it is a strict eating system, it is also highly effective;
  • You will save a lot of time due to this program’s easy meal planning process;
  • Not only does this diet promote weight-loss but it also supports an overall healthier lifestyle by eliminating processed and sugary foods;
  • All the suggested recipes are easy to prepare;
  • You don’t have to attend group meetings but when you need support you will easily find because you will become a member of the program’s online community.

Disadvantages

  • This eating system pushes your body into the ketosis state which, at first, might lead to certain issues such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, bad breath or dry mouth, weakness, and insomnia;
  • At first, until your body gets used to this new eating regimen, you need to stick to less strenuous physical activities if you want to avoid feeling exhausted;
  • A lack of carbohydrate might make some people experience constipation;
  • If you follow this diet for a very long period, you might deal with certain nutritional deficiencies like a lack of antioxidants;
  • The Dukan diet is not flexible at all and it might be perceived as boring which is why some individuals give up on it;
  • It is a more expensive diet compared to a regular eating regimen;
  • This program is not good for those of you who suffer from eating disorders, kidney diseases, or high cholesterol.

Atkins Diet

Advantages

  • You will learn how to properly eat so that you stay fit and healthy;
  • It helps you lose weight quickly without starving yourself;
  • It is time-saving because you won’t need to count calories anymore;
  • There is a wide range of foods you’re allowed to eat;
  • You will achieve long-term results;
  • It is good for diabetics because it balances your body’s insulin release.

Disadvantages

  • It is a very strict eating plan that not many can follow;
  • There is a high risk of binge eating;
  • Some people are likely to regain weight after they complete this diet;
  • There are certain side effects such as dehydration;
  • Eating too many proteins might lead to kidney problems.

Dukan Diet vs Atkins Diet – How Do They Work?

Dukan Diet’s Phases

There are four consecutive phases of this diet that all dieters must follow if they want to complete the Dukan eating program.

1. The Attack Phase

The first phase of this diet allows you to consume only pure protein which will create a powerful kick-start to your weight-loss journey. During this period, you can choose from over 70 different high-protein food items that will lead to quick and significant weight loss. The Attack phase lasts between 5 and 10 days and you cannot eat any carbs until this period is over.

2. The Cruise Phase

You continue eating pure protein while you also introduce certain carbohydrates in a gradual manner. Also, you can include carefully-selected vegetables in your daily diet. You must remain in this phase of the diet until you reach your weight-loss goals. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of veggies (more than 30). Furthermore, dieters must alternate days in which they consume only proteins with days in which they eat a combination of proteins and vegetables.

3. The Consolidation Phase

During the Consolidation period, one’s organism becomes highly vulnerable and it has the tendency to regain weight. So, this phase was specially designed to prevent that issue from happening. You are probably wondering how it does that. Well, you will gradually reintroduce some food categories that were forbidden before. The duration of this phase varies from a person to another. For every pound you lost during the Cruise phase, you must add another 5 days to the Consolidation phase.

What I’m sure you will like most about this phase is the fact that you’re allowed to indulge in something that you enjoy eating two times per week.

4. The Stabilization Phase

This is the final and probably the most important phase of the entire Dukan diet because it will help you keep those pounds you lost off for good. Yes, you have guessed right! It is a lifetime phase. Now, that you have learned the proper way to eat healthy foods you must develop a pattern and follow it for the rest of your life. Moreover, there are three main rules you should follow in this phase:

  • Eat a couple of tablespoons of oat bran each day;
  • Each Thursday you should eat only pure protein like in the Attach Phase;
  • Walk every day for a minimum of 20 minutes and take the stairs instead of the elevator as much as possible.

Atkins Diet’ Phases

Atkins eating system was created a long time ago, in 1972 but since then it has evolved quite a lot. Still, its main features have been kept the same: the diet focuses on losing weight in a balanced and controlled way and improving one’s health and it is all based on following a low-carb eating regimen that is comprised mostly of the following elements: vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.

Besides these food categories, dieters can also consume whole grains like oats, barley, and rice, but only in small amounts and after the weight loss began. According to Atkins diet’s specialists, one should completely eliminate “white” foods like sugar, white bread, regular rice, pasta made from white flour, etc.

Like in the case of the Dukan eating system, the Atkins program has also four different stages.

1. The Induction Phase

This part of the diet is very strict and it is the hardest one to complete. You must avoid eating bread, starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains, and alcohol. However, there are two exceptions you can make: you are allowed to include butter and cheese in your diet. Furthermore, you must eat no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day because the main goal of this phase is boosting your body’s ability to burn fat.

2. The OWL Phase (Ongoing Weight Loss)

During this second phase of the diet, you are allowed to reintroduce small amounts of carbs but the healthy kind such as nuts, berries, yogurt, etc. On a daily basis, you can consume 25-45 grams of carbohydrates. The OWL phase will last until you are only ten pounds away from your desired weight.

3. Pre-Maintenance Phase

During the Pre-Maintenance stage of this eating program, you will continue to include a wider range of carbs in your daily diet. Now, you can eat more starchy vegetables, fruits, and even whole grains. The daily net carb intake will grow as well, reaching the value of 50-70 grams. This phase will last for a minimum of one month but not before you reach your desired weight.

4. Lifetime Maintenance

This is the last phase of the Atkins diet and it must be initiated once you have achieved your ideal weight. You must continue to follow a predominantly low-carb eating regimen for your entire life. You can increase the daily net carb intake to 75-80 grams and sometimes even more than that. By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of your optimal carb amount that won’t make you gain weight.

How Much Do These Diets Cost?

Dukan Diet

I believe we are all aware that substituting carbs with protein will cost us more. So, a high-protein or low-carb diet is more expensive than a regular eating regimen. If you consume all three main meals at home, you will most likely spend around $11-$12 per day but these prices vary depending on what types of proteins you include in the diet and your location because some cities have a higher cost of living.

The good news is you can try to adjust this diet to fit both your preferences and budget. On the other hand, some reviewers have complained about how expensive this program is, saying they pay a daily price of $15-$20 on all their meals.

*Update! Apparently, there is currently a promotional offer on the Dukan Diet’s official page: their basic plan costs only $30 per month. For more information, you should check their website.

Atkins Diet

Lean protein and fresh organic veggies will definitely be pricier than regular or processed food. So, how much you will spend on this diet depends a lot on your personal choices, especially when it comes to proteins. If you purchase veal instead of ground beef, you will pay more. The same goes for chicken and turkey, in which case the second option has a higher price. Still, on average, you will spend around $100 per week which is a little bit over $14 per day. NOTE: For the latest deals on Atkinks meals, check out this product page.

Possible Side Effects

Dukan

There are certain dangers or issues that might come up when following the Dukan diet:

  • Bad breath;
  • Constipation;
  • Fatigue;
  • Induction flu;
  • Kidney damage;
  • Vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies; etc.

Atkins

There are several possible side effects that you might experience during this eating program as well:

  • Constipation;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness;
  • The risk of kidney-related damages; etc.

Final Thoughts

The Dukan and Atkins diets presented above offer you a quick solution for rapid weight-loss. They are pretty similar in many different aspects. For starter, they are both calorie-restricted and low-carb eating plans. In terms of cost, these two diets are comparable.

Still, they also come with some potential drawbacks and side effects so I think you should be cautious when it comes to eliminating certain food categories from your daily diet. From what I’ve seen first hand, these programs work best for people who are very overweight.

I encourage you to pick a plan that suits your needs and then discuss your choice with a doctor to make sure that your organism is ready to follow and complete that specific eating plan.

Bottom Line: If I had to choose, I would personally lean more towards Atkins here, as they have a longer track record of success. Sometimes, it’s all about “trusting the system” and this is where Atkins has the benefit of the doubt.

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