How a Royal Rumor Became a Weight Loss Craze 

By Margaret Badore -

When it comes to the royal wedding, even the smallest bit of speculation can quickly become perceived as fact. That's exactly what has happened with the rumors swirling around Kate Middleton's pre-wedding diet, launching a little-known French weight-loss plan into the media spotlight of the English-speaking world.

It all started back in November, when Kate's mum, Carole Middleton, was said to have some weight-loss success with the Dukan Diet. The U.K.'s Daily Mail reported that mother-of-the-bride Carole Middleton lost four pounds in just four days during the diet's first phase. However, there have been no new reports whether Carole has continued to follow the demanding diet plan.

Speculation surrounding Kate's weight loss began last month, when she started appearing thinner than usual. At a public appearance in Northern Ireland, one well-wisher implored the future princess "not to lose any more weight." The Associated Press reported that Kate responded that "was all part of the wedding plan." This comment seems to be an admission that Kate is intentionally losing weight, despite her already slim figure. Kate, who is five-foot-ten, was once reported to weigh 120 pounds, which would give her a low but healthy body mass index. Further weight loss would easily place her in the underweight category.

None of these speculations however, have been confirmed. "It was an off-the-cuff comment," said a royal aide of the conversation in Northern Ireland. "It's a hugely private matter." The aide declined to specify Kate's weight.

The original claims that Kate herself is following the Dukan diet are hard to track. Megan Morris writes for Yahoo News that "sources close" to Middleton say that she's also a "Dukanniste." While we wouldn't put any bets on the verity of such claims, the link was enough to make the Dukan diet the latest diet craze.

Created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, the diet has been around for the past 30 years and has been followed by many French celebrities, particularly in the fashion world. Oft likened to the Atkins diet, the Dukan weight-loss plan involves four stages: attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilization.

The first two phases are very high in protein and low in carbs. The third phase reintroduces some starches and carbs. The final phase is considered a maintenance phase, one that can be followed indefinitely, as long as pure protein is eaten one day per week. Oat bran and lots of water are also to be consumed throughout the diet.

Critics of the Dukan diet say that it's nutritionally imbalanced and that it can place strain on the kidneys and liver. While the plan will almost always lead to weight loss, it can be extremely difficult to stick to the plan and to maintain weight loss after completing the diet.

By all accounts, Kate has led a healthy life filled with sports and exercise. While attending college at the University of St. Andrews, she was the captain of the hockey team and was frequently seen working out at the gym and bicycling. It's easy to imagine a number of reasons why any bride might lose weight unintentionally before her wedding, and even more for one who's constantly in the public eye with an extremely busy schedule. Read more about Kate Middleton's Wedding Workout.

Regardless of whether or not Kate is following the Dukan diet, Dr. Dukan is certainly capitalizing on his new-found fame in the Anglophone world. Last week, Crown Archetype published a new English-language edition of the Dukan diet, titled "The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever."

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