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Nowadays, low-carb diets are all the rage. They help you lose weight quickly while also maintaining your health. Eating plans like the Dukan diet and the Keto program have become some sort of a big deal. Both of these systems rely on one main aspect: limiting or eliminating one’s carb intake which leads to a more effective fat burner. But let’s discover more about these diets so keep reading my honest comparative review.
- 1 A. Dukan Diet
- 2 B. Keto Diet
- 3 Final Thoughts
A. Dukan Diet
What It Is
The Dukan eating program is more than just a weight-loss diet. It is a system specially created for people whose goal is to lose more than a couple of pounds. In fact, according to certain experts, this diet works best for overweight individuals but that doesn’t mean other dieters shouldn’t try it as well. Basically, we’re talking about a high-protein low-carb eating plan that is comprised of four consecutive phases.
Once you begin applying Dukan’s guidelines, you need to stick to them until the end if you want to see significant results. However, the diet is highly restrictive which makes some people give up on it along the way.
Its creator is Pierre Dukan who became famous for his unique approach to weight-loss. He launched this program a long time ago, back in 1975 as a method to fight obesity.
How Does It Work?
This diet seems to work for most people due to its low-calorie characteristic. When you eliminate carbohydrate, your body goes in the ketosis state which further leads to a boosted fat-burning process. Also, it acts as a metabolic booster and this will help you shed those pounds right off.
a. First Phase
The first stage is also called the Attack phase which is when dieters start following this eating system. At first, they are allowed to consume only pure and lean protein for a couple of days. You can eat almost anything you want, from low-fat dairy products to lean meat.
b. Second Phase
The Cruise stage enables you to include certain vegetables in your eating regimen. Still, you cannot eat starchy veggies. During this phase, you will combine proteins with vegetables but make sure to cook them properly. That means you can only steam them or even eat these foods raw. No matter what you do, stay away from fried meals.
c. Third Phase
If you made it all the way to the Consolidation stage, you should be proud of yourself because this was definitely not an easy journey. By now, you should have already achieved your desired weight-loss goals so the program continues with both protein and vegetables but now, you can also add some fruits to the list of items you are allowed to consume. Furthermore, dieters can also eat a small amount of whole grain bread. Something else that’s different from the previous phases is the weekly indulging meal based on carbohydrates.
d. Fourth Phase
The last phase of Dukan diet is the Stabilization stage in which you can go back to consuming almost all the foods you used to eat before following the diet. However, you must continue to follow Dukan’s guidelines. For instance, you will have one day per week in which you can only eat protein-rich foods. Portions sizes will be gradually increased and carbs slowly reintroduced.
Pros and Cons
- While you have a restricted choice of allowed foods and ingredients, this can help you plan your mealtimes a lot easier;
- This diet supports the consumption of natural foods as healthy replacements of processed or refined foods;
- It is way better and safer compared to a crash diet;
- With the help of the Dukan diet, you will lose weight quickly which will truly motivate you;
- It is highly convenient because dieters don’t need to count calories or weigh their food.
- If you’re looking for a more flexible eating plan, Dukan diet might not be the proper solution for you;
- You are allowed to eat only certain food categories which can become monotonous at some point;
- It is not a suitable eating system for those of you who are vegetarians or don’t like to eat meat;
- Being a protein-rich eating plan, this diet costs more than a program based on carbohydrates;
- There is the risk of gaining back the weight you have lost during this diet if you don’t change your overall long-term lifestyle;
- Some dieters might experience certain negative effects like fatigue or constipation.
How Much Does the Dukan Diet Cost?
The cost of the Dukan diet varies based on the type of subscription you choose to purchase. The most complex Dukan weight-loss program is the premium one which also includes regular coaching sessions and it is marketed for the price of almost $30 per month.
Moreover, it’s your call if you want to also buy some of the most popular books that describe Dukan’s method and detail the healthiest and most delicious recipes. So, they are more than simple cookbooks. You can find these online and their cost ranges between $15 and $30.
Potential Side Effects
Like the majority of carb-restricted eating plans, the Dukan diet has created many controversies and some people say the following thing: not only is this system less effective in the long run but it can also cause numerous adverse effects:
- Bad breath;
- Induction flu that appears right after the process of carbohydrate withdrawal;
- Fatigue because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies;
- Gout and high uric acid level;
- Kidney damage – this happens, however, extremely rare, and the ones that might deal with such an issue are those who already suffer from kidney-related health conditions.
There are certain solutions you can try in the attempt to avoid all or some of the problems written in the list above:
- Drink enough water and stay well-hydrated;
- From time to time, replace oat bran with a small amount of wheat bran;
- If you deal with constipation, you should try chewing gum once in a while because this item has milk laxative effects;
- Supplement your fiber consumption.
B. Keto Diet
What It Is
The Ketogenic diet is another popular carb-restricted eating program with many followers. It is a little bit more flexible than the Dukan system. You can either consume very small amounts of carbs or completely eliminate them from your daily eating regimen. In the Ketogenic program, the most important macronutrient is represented by dietary fat which should make 70-75% of your total calorie intake. The rest of the system is comprised of proteins in the amount of 20-25% and only 5% carbohydrates.
During this diet, foods such as avocados, eggs, olive oil, blueberries, leafy greens, salmon, and almonds are commonly-met items. One might think this is a counterintuitive way of leading a healthy lifestyle but the main focus of the Ketogenic diet is to push the body into the ketosis state in order to burn fat a lot quicker. The Keto concept is older than many other low-carb programs. It was initially created in the 1920s by medical experts who were searching for an effective way to treat epilepsy.
How Does It Work?
By keeping the carb intake to the lowest possible level while increasing the intake of healthy fats and lean protein, one’s organism enters a new state which is called ketosis. During this phase, the body uses fats as fuel instead of glucose that is sourced from carbs. So, instead of achieving energy from burning carbs and store fats, your body will become more effective at maintaining the fat storage at a minimum which leads to weight loss.
a. First Stage
In this phase, you will get rid of your carb addiction and sugar cravings. So, you must lower or eliminate the consumption of starches, most grains, and sugars. At first, you might feel fatigued, lethargic, and sometimes, even in pain. All these are symptoms of addiction withdrawal. Therefore, the focus of this phase is helping you get rid of cravings and constant hunger. On the other hand, pay attention to what types of fats you include in your diet because not all of them are healthy and recommended in the Keto eating plan.
b. Second Stage
The “Awareness” phase is the period in which you start to notice changes that occur in your body as well as in your energy levels. By now, you should experience fewer cravings and start forming new healthier habits. I suggest you consider eating more organic and/or non-GMO products. During this stage, your psychological perception and preconceptions will also change. It is a period in which you slim down while achieving an improved general health.
c. Third Stage
I like to call this the “Hack Fasting” because it is almost all about intermittent fasting. Oh, don’t get me wrong! Nobody will tell you to do that. Instead, it is a process that occurs naturally because your organism, as well as your brain, have both gotten rid of addiction so now you will know when you truly feel hunger and when it is just a simple craving. There are several things you must keep in mind when following this type of diet:
- Food doesn’t work as a stress reliever or comfort method.
- It is not true that your body loves food.
- You can celebrate with your friends through food but in moderation.
- Food should not be a habit but a necessity so I am pretty sure you don’t need as much of it as you think.
d. Fourth Stage
The final phase of a Ketogenic diet is called “Optimum Health.” Although the diet is about to end, the rest of your new life is about to begin. By now, you should have learned what the proper food items are, what macronutrients are good for your body, and many other important things. You will become able to fast up to 2-3 days at a time. You will eat smaller portions and less often. High-quality food will nurture your cells not fill you up. So, praise yourself because you have faced and overcame all the challenges of your weight-loss journey.
Pros and Cons
- This diet helps you lose weight quickly while also providing a series of health benefits;
- Lowers your appetite and curbs your cravings;
- Boosts the fat burning process and increases your endurance and physical performance;
- Lowers body inflammation and insulin levels;
- It is an effective detox method through which your body will get rid of sugar;
- Boosts your metabolic rate while also improving mental performance.
- It requires an adjusting period which may last up to 2 weeks and not many people are willing to go through that;
- It is a restrictive diet so it might be challenging to complete it;
- The Ketogenic diet is not recommended to professional athletes because it doesn’t provide the necessary level of energy and stamina;
- Unfortunately, many people end up consuming the unhealthy kind of fat;
- There’s no actual evidence that this diet plan promotes long-term weight-loss.
How Much Does the Ketogenic Diet Cost?
It is true that replacing high-carb foods with low-carb and high-fat products is a more expensive process. However, you can still follow this diet while on a tight budget. There are apps and plans out there that will help you discover the best ways in which you can spend as little as $5 per day for this meal plan.
It is hard to say an exact number because the costs vary a lot depending on what foods you choose to purchase, how small your portion sizes are, where you will buy your groceries from, and so on. In short, while the keto diet might be more expensive compared to a conventional eating plan, it is worth it.
Potential Side Effects
Although the ketogenic diet is safe for most dieters, some people might experience certain unpleasant side effects that range from harmless mild ones to more severe problems that you should know about:
- Bad breath;
- Leg cramps because of very low insulin levels;
- Constipation, gas or bloating because of lack of fiber;
- Fatigue, low energy levels, and even lethargy, especially during the period in which your body is adjusting to the diet’s restrictions;
- Symptoms similar to those of flu – brain fog, headaches, irritability, etc.;
- Increased cravings;
- Heart palpitations;
- Frequent urination.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways in which you can avoid most of the symptoms listed above:
- Drink as much water as you can;
- Make sure you consume enough fat (the healthy kind);
- Increase a little bit your overall salt intake.
None of the diets presented above are ideal. They might be effective in the short-term but they can lead to nutritional deficiencies. For some dieters, they may work better than on other people, depending on how physically and emotionally-prepared those individuals are.
All in all, both of these diets are challenging and, after completing them, you encounter the risk of gaining your lost weight back which is known as the yo-yo effect.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.