Entries in Pierre Dukan (2)


Dukan Diet Doctor Faces Ethics Hearing over Remarks

Hemera/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- The doctor behind the Dukan Diet is under fire for suggesting teenage students should meet a weight requirement to pass an exam in France.

Dr. Pierre Dukan, whose Atkins-like diet has been credited for the famous figures of Kate Middleton and Gisele Bundchen, faces a disciplinary hearing for “remarks, which could harm teenagers already struggling with obesity or anorexia,” according to a complaint filed Sunday by the French College of Physicians.

In January, Dukan said France’s Baccalaureate exam — a test 17-year-olds have to take to finish high school and go on to college — should include an anti-obesity option, which students could satisfy by staying within their recommended weight ranges, the BBC reported. The French College of Physicians said Dukan was in breach of France’s medical ethics code, which says “a doctor must be aware of the repercussions his views can have on the public.”

“Everything about this is wrong,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “It’s wrong because it invites eating disorders. It’s wrong because weight has nothing to do with academic performance…and the notion that weight is a behavior that should be incentivized is just wrong. Weight is an outcome. We should incentivize things people can control.”

Katz said the emphasis should be on physical activity and diet choices.

“If we apply rewards to weight, we’re mistaking weight for a behavior. Some people who eat well and are physically active are heavy. And some people who eat poorly and don’t exercise are thin,” he said. “This misses the mark in every conceivable way.”

Roughly 18 percent of American adolescents are obese, up from 5 percent in 1980, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a second complaint, the French College of Physicians said Dukan was more focused on making money than on medicine — another ethics breach. Dukan has sold more than seven million copies of his dieting books, the BBC reported.

“People in public health and medicine should first and foremost be committed to doing good,” said Katz, adding that he does not know Dukan’s motivations. “As long as they’re being honest and honorable and using the available scientific evidence, I think it’s OK [to make money as well]. I think when money is the priority; you don’t belong in public health or medicine in the first place. If you want to make money, work on Wall Street.”

Dukan’s diet, which consists of four phases dubbed “attack,” “cruise,” “consolidation,” and “stabilization,” has been criticized for being too restrictive. In July 2011, Dukan lost a libel case against Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen, who described the famous diet as dangerous.

“I certainly think there’s potential for it to do harm,” said Katz. “There’s a real danger to health if people stay in the restrictive [attack] phase. But the biggest danger is it sets you up to fail.”

Katz said the stabilization phase, in which dieters reintroduce foods that were once restricted, almost inevitably leads people to gain back lost weight — a common criticism of the Atkins diet, too.

“I think the Dukan Diet is a discredited Atkins diet with a French accent,” said Katz.

The ethics hearing will take place in the next six months. If he’s found guilty, Dukan could be removed from France’s medical registry.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rival Nutritionist Says Dukan Diet Founder Is Hurting Himself with Libel Suit

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The clash of the French diet titans continues to rage, and there seems to be no end to the he-said, he-said fight.

Best-selling diet author and French television personality Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen told ABC News that Dr. Pierre Dukan's libel suit against him will probably fail and could ruin Dukan's reputation.

"This is the issue for all these types of diets," Cohen said. "Don't write you have the solution to a very big problem."

Dukan, the creator of the wildly popular high-protein and oat-bran diet, is suing Cohen for $20,000 in damages, the limit in French court, over claims he made that the Dukan Diet was unsafe.

"I'm very disappointed because this was not my objective. I didn't want to go to court," Cohen said. "He decided to sue. I didn't want this because what I wanted to do was to make prevention and not tell Dr. Dukan, 'you're a bad man,' but at the moment, when I'm attacked I defend myself."

Advocating a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet in his own book, Savoir Maigrir (Know How to Lose Weight), Cohen also claimed that the Dukan Diet, which uses a repetitive four-food phase system, just doesn't work.

"I think they are not understanding what they are doing, because when you do this type of diet, you regain more weight than you've lost," he said. "If [dieters] listen to him, they don't lose weight."

In a statement to ABC News, Dukan said he was "not the least bit concerned" with Cohen's claims.

"What Mr. Cohen is saying doesn't make any sense," Dukan said in a statement. "Either he didn't actually read my books, or he is just looking to draw attention to himself. I will let the diet speak for itself."

The Dukan Diet is divided into four stages. The first phase, called the attack phase, is supposed to encourage speedy weight loss with nothing but lean protein and Dukan's special ingredient of oat bran culled from the husks.

The cruise phase allows the addition of vegetables, but not starchy potatoes or fatty avocados. Dukan said in a statement this phase allows the dieter to "lose weight at the rate of approximately 2.2 pounds per week."

The third, or consolidation phase, is the most critical. Dieters are allowed to add one serving of fruit and two slices of whole wheat bread per day, as well as cheese and some starches.

The final phase, called stabilization, lasts the rest of one's life. Dieters can eat whatever they want as long as they return to eating only pure protein for one day a week -- Dukan suggests Thursdays.

There are other requirements, including that dieters must walk for 20 minutes and eat at least three tablespoons of the oat bran a day.

Dr. David Katz, a Yale University nutritionist, cautioned that "yo-yo" diets can be harmful and said one of the problems of a high-protein diet is loss of water in the body.

"That can increase the risk in kidney stone formation, gall stone formation, and can contribute to bone thinning as well," he said. "Those are acute harms."

The American Dietetic Association came out this week to say that they would not recommend the Dukan Diet, not because it was dangerous, but because the side effects include bad breath and constipation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio