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Dukan diet doctor in hot water

Celebrity diet guru Pierre Dukan.

Celebrity diet guru Pierre Dukan.

Published Mar 28, 2012

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London - Diet guru Pierre Dukan, a favourite of Carole Middleton, faces being struck off as a doctor in France for giving “dangerous” food advice to teenagers.

The celebrity nutritionist has been accused of breaching medical ethics for saying slimmer pupils should be awarded higher exam marks than their fatter friends.

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Dr Dukan said in January that pupils should be able to opt for an extra exam subject called “ideal weight”, which they could pass simply by being thin enough.

They would then earn extra marks in their Baccalaureate, the French equivalent of A-levels, which they take at the age of 17.

But the French College of Physicians lodged a complaint against Dr Dukan for ‘remarks which could harm teenagers already struggling with obesity or anorexia’.

The popularity of Dr Dukan’s high-protein diet soared after Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s mother, revealed she had been following it.

Other celebrity followers include the duchess herself and her sister Pippa Middleton, Jennifer Lopez, supermodel Gisele Bundchen and Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins.

But food experts in Britain and abroad have claimed that the regime is a “health hazard” because it involves a very low vegetable and carbohydrate intake.

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The French College of Physicians said Dr Dukan was in breach of article 13 of the medical ethics code, which states: “A doctor must be aware of the repercussions his views can have on the public.”

They also said the multi-million-pound profits from his diet food empire were not compatible with the code of medical practice.

Dr Dukan defended his plans to reward slimmer pupils with higher marks, after his scheme came under attack from the French media in January.

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He said: “There is nothing unhealthy about educating youngsters about nutrition.

“My idea would change nothing for those who have no need to get thinner. But for those who do, it would only motivate them to lose weight.”

Dr Dukan’s controversial schools project came a year after a study found that almost half of the traditionally slender French were now overweight.

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Despite still being officially Europe’s second thinnest people, the report found the French are piling on the pounds with a diet of fast-food and TV dinners.

It also revealed obesity increased most in France in the 1990s, when the weight of the average French person increased by 10 per cent between 1992 and 2003.

France’s Obesity Commission president Valerie Boyer said after the study that a major national action plan was needed in order to slim down Gallic waistlines.

It was back in October 2010 that Middleton helped fuel publicity for the diet when she told an interviewer: “I’ve been doing it for four days and I’ve lost four pounds.”

Her daughter Pippa joked that 57-year-old Middleton was surviving on cottage cheese and prawns on the high-protein diet.

The news prompted speculation that Middleton was slimming for a royal wedding, and the following month William and Kate’s engagement was officially announced.

Even Dr Dukan himself acknowledged Mrs Middleton’s contribution to the diet’s success in Britain, which he famously put down to two factors – “It works, and Carole Middleton.” - Daily Mail

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