Dukan Diet Side Effects
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The Dukan diet, like most low carb weight loss plans, has caused quite a stir and often people accuse it of being a fad and list various side effects.

Anyone wanting to try the diet should prepare themselves for these side effects. Some of them are avoidable and some are caused by not following the diet rules and tips given by Dr. Dukan.


Toilet issues are one of these topics people rarely talk about. Fortunately in most cases troubles in this department can be avoided using some simple advice.

When limiting carbohydrates (especially in the Attack phase) you also limit the amount of fibre you take in. This is what helps keep your digestion running smoothly. To avoid constipation you need to make sure you eat your daily dose of oat bran (preferably in the morning). If this is not enough try the following:

  • Make sure you drink enough
  • Swap one table spoon of oat bran for wheat bran - wheat bran has a stronger effect
  • Some sugar free sweets (like chewing gum) can act as a mild laxative - make sure not to over-do it though :)
  • You can get fibre supplements in a health food store

One thing to note is that, especially on pure protein days, with less carbohydrates like potatoes and pastas you will have a lot less material lying around in your gut. This sometimes confuses people into thinking that they are constipated, when this is not the case - you just need fewer trips to the toilet.

However if you do experience discomfort, and problems when you do go and none of the above help - be sure to try less diet friendly methods (like eating a few prunes) and consult a doctor.

Bad breath

The famed and hated side effect of all diets that utilise ketosis is the dreaded bad breath. The good news is not every one gets it. Also the degree of the problem can differ from person to person.

If you do have the bad breath problem then at least you have a good indicator that the diet is working... You can easily deal with it by making sure you have some mints or sugar free chewing gum at hand.

Another side effect, related to the bad breath, is higher plaque and tartar build up in you mouth. Make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly, use mouthwash and if needed visit the dentist to remove excess amounts already present.

Kidney damage

This is probably the number one issue raised by the opponents of the Dukan diet. However the truth is that for most people this will not be a problem. If you do have an existing condition related to kidneys and high levels of uric acid then you might want to consult a doctor. Otherwise be sure to drink plenty (water, tea, coffee, or any of the other allowed drinks).

Induction flu

This is a common name for a group of carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms. It can make you irritable, feel weak and lacking in energy. The good news is these side effects should only last a few days while you get used to low amounts of carbs and sugars in your diet. Like any kind of addiction, when you go cold turkey you need to withstand the initial cravings.

This means that after the first week (or even sooner) you should not only leave these problems behind, but start feeling a lot more active and have more energy. As this is also the time you will lose a lot water weight you should be feeling lighter and less "bloated" with less food sitting around in your stomach.


You probably noticed by now that most of these side effects can be managed by making sure you drink enough throughout the day. Once your first few days are over and you're past the induction flu you might sometimes still experience headaches, dizziness or fatigue. The first two things to check in that case:

  • Are you drinking enough?
  • Are you eating enough?

With so many other diets focused on restricting quantities you might be tempted to think that if you eat less of the allowed foods you will lose weight quicker. However in fact the opposite is often true. If you check the calories on most of the Dukan diet friendly products you will be surprised how small the numbers are.

Vitamin deficiency

Some people worry that, especially on the pure protein days, they might not be getting all the vitamins they need. However, unless you eat the same food over and over this should not be the case and there is a whole array of allowed vegetables on PV days.

If that's not enough reassurance for you or you have some specific vitamin deficiencies already present you can always grab some vitamin supplements. They are allowed and even encouraged on the Dukan diet.

Other issues

Hopefully this has cleared away any doubts you had. The above are the side effects you are likely to encounter, but as we are all different and start at different weights and with various fitness levels and health issues, you experience may vary. Best to remember that if you are following the Dukan diet rules you shouldn't be experience pain or discomfort. Should this happen be sure to ask for help, and talk with a doctor rather than suffer in silence.


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