Dieting

J-Lo, Kate Middleton and Gisele: Doctors Debate Dukan Diet

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

The Dukan diet is the latest fad weight-loss program, but doctors are divided on whether it's healthy.

The diet advocates eating as much as you want, as long as you stick to meat, fish, and fat-free cheese. You can lose up to 28 pounds in just a few weeks by following it. Kate Middleton reportedly went on the Dukan diet before the royal wedding, and Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bündchen are said to have lost their pregnancy weight by following the diet.

However, according to a survey of nearly 5,000 people who had gone on the diet in the last three years, 80% of them gained back all the weight they had lost. Doctors say the diet could cause a host of health problems, including infertility, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart problems, sleep apnea and even infertility.

French nutritionist Dr. Pierre Dukan, who invented the diet, says pregnant women can follow the diet, and should do so "as early as possible and throughout the pregnancy." Irene Margaritis, spokeswoman for the French food standards authority, countered this advice, saying pregnant women who follow this diet risk slowing the growth of their babies. She also said that it's not wise for pregnant woman to eat a lot of organ meats, as Dukan suggests, because they contain a lot of Vitamin A, and too much of this vitamin can cause birth defects. 

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Dukan says his diet combats an even bigger health risk: obesity. "We doctors have weighed up the risks and the benefits. I consider that the real risk is an excess of weight and obesity. Every day there are people who die from this and I am trying to fight against it," he told French newspaper Le Parisien. "If a mother is obese during her pregnancy she will have a child at risk of [suffering from] diabetes or being overweight."