The Duke Diet: A beginner’s guide

The Duke diet was developed by experts at the Duke Diet and Fitness Centre in Durham, N.C in the United States of America.

The diet has since been decentralised to a local level in other countries, where nutritionists and dietitians prescribe it to people depending on the local foods that are available.


The diet, according to nutritionists, basically helps people manage their weight and prevent or manage lifestyle diseases through exercise, nutrition and medical interventions.


Private Kamanzi, a dietician and nutritionist at Amazon Nutrition Cabinet in Remera, says the Duke Diet can be used given the locally available food.


The lifestyle diseases it can help evade include; diabetes, hypertension, obesity among others. The diet also comes in to reverse cancer cells.

However, he mentions that this diet is not limited to these problems, rather, it works for anyone with no medical condition; with the main aim of keeping such lifestyle conditions at bay.

Understanding The Duke Diet

Kamanzi says the Duke Diet incorporates lifestyle strategies which include physical exercises, nutrition, fitness as well as medical interventions.

For nutrition, he says, the duke diet involves water fasting, consuming plant-based food composing of vegetables, fruits, and even brown rice. Water fasting involves the time one spends drinking water without taking any other food.

Green peas, carrots, kale, cucumber, spinach, amaranth, and many others are some of the vegetables that can be easily accessed locally.

Also, Kamanzi says, with the above diet, herbal teas can be integrated into one’s diet.

“Fruits and vegetables contain fibre and water, which fill you up so you eat less at each meal,” he says. And so, nutritionists recommend loading half the plate with fruits and vegetables.

Kamanzi explains that a person who has been recommended for this diet is supposed to stick to it for a period of three months.

After the end of this period, the nutritionist says one is reassessed.

“At this time, a nutritionist will be able to know the way forward, whether to recommend a different diet or continue with the duke diet,” he says.

He adds that this will depend on the results from the previous three months.

When it comes to lifestyle, he says one has to exercise at least 80 minutes a day, ensure they have good rest of at least eight hours a day, and also stick to the recommended diet only.

Importance of the Duke Diet

Joseph Uwiragiye, the head of the nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), says the Duke Diet helps one adopt a healthier lifestyle and take control of obesity-related conditions.

He says that in general, a plant-based diet is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts out unhealthy foods like added sugars and refined grains.

Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline.

Kamanzi notes that with the Duke Diet, it’s advisable to eat before 3pm. After this time, one shouldn’t take anything until the following morning.

For starters, he says, this may seem hard or impossible, but with time, you get used to it and at the end, the results are always positive. Therefore, it’s worth trying out, especially for those whose aim is to lose weight.

“The reason why people find it hard is because it takes time for their body to adapt to the new diet, but when it becomes regular, it is easier,” he says.

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