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How to Do the Duke Diet

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

It started as an intensive four-week program at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in North Carolina, but now you can learn how to eat better, lose weight and improve health in the comfort of your home with the diet creators' book. While what you eat is an important aspect of the Duke diet, it also focuses on teaching you how to live an overall healthy lifestyle

In Person or At Home

How you do the Duke Diet depends on your needs and flexibility. The traditional program requires a stay at the facility and includes a team of experts to help you on your journey, as well as a slew of classes, meals and exercise programs. The program offers a number of different options to fit your availability, from a five-day intensive program to the traditional four-week program. If getting away is not an option for you, you can do the Duke diet at home using the book as a guide. The book includes the same advice as offered at the center but may be less individualized.

Choosing a Diet Plan

The Duke diet does its best to create a diet plan that fits your personal needs, especially at the center, where a registered dietitian does a complete nutrition assessment and develops a plan just for you. Diet plans offered at the center include a low-fat diet, low-carb diet or a moderately low-carb diet. The book version of the diet includes two diet plans: a traditional and a low-carb diet plan. The traditional plan encourages healthy foods, including healthy fats, and aims at teaching you how to control carb and calorie intake. The low-carb plan in the book is similar to the Atkins diet, according to dietitian Laulita Kaul, but is not as carb-restrictive.

Knowing What to Eat

At the center, you eat healthy meals and snacks prepared by the chef, which helps give you an idea of how to control portions and create healthy meals. The dietitians at the center also work with you on developing your own meal plans. The center also offers cooking classes and virtual grocery store tours. To help you at home, the book version of the Duke diet features four weeks' worth of menus, as well as recipes from the Duke kitchen.

Making Lifestyle Changes

The Duke diet focuses on helping you change your overall lifestyle. At the center, physical therapists teach you about activity and fitting in exercise, while behavioral therapists work with you on managing stress and building a successful support system. The book version of the program also offers a variety of exercises to fit your fitness level, as well as steps to help you feel better about your body and to deal with food.

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