"Take advantage of Ramadan to lose weight", "A big bloated belly MY SOLUTION". A man with graying hair, affable and smiling unrolls his health and nutrition tips in front of a bookcase, a colorful wallpaper or a green board. Some posts peak at five million views, when the TikTok account "Doc Duk" has more than 387,000 followers.
"Doc Duk" is Pierre Dukan, the former star nutritionist, whose high-protein diet has notably seduced Kate Middleton, François Hollande or Jennifer Lopez in the 2000s.
Since 2011, his method, based on the consumption at will of foods rich in protein, such as fish, meat or eggs, is increasingly contested. Patients who follow it quickly regain weight as soon as they return to a more conventional diet, and some develop serious eating disorders.
'Significant persuasive power' on TikTok
Definitively removed from the Order of Physicians in 2014, the octogenarian traces his furrow since March 2022 on the social network TikTok. If he no longer has the right to use his title of doctor, he displays at the top of his page "Committed nutritionist".
"We are in a very confusing discourse, deplores Dr. Claire Siret, president of the public health section of the National Council of the Order of Physicians. Anything he does in the name of this medical function will be considered an illegal practice of medicine. "By his notoriety, he has a significant power of persuasion," worries this doctor.
Pierre Dukan is delighted to see his content widely shared and commented. On his page, he also sells some of his slimming products and praises the new version of his miracle diet. If he admits to using the platform to promote his slimming method 2.0, he nevertheless defends himself from making it a promotional vector for his capsules, cakes or cookies: "Out of the fifty videos I made, there must be maybe four or five videos that talk about my products, never with a price. "
When we ask him about the illegal mention of "nutritionist" on his profile, he says he is not aware of this article of the Research Code that prohibits him from mentioning his title. "I'll see," he replies. More than a week after our meeting, the mention "doctor" has still not disappeared from his profile.
"It would be very serious to see a new wave of his regime"
On its "Dok Duk" page, the tone is friendly, the exchanges with curious users. It talks about magnesium deficiencies, hair loss or the benefits of Afghan walking. "From a marketing point of view, it's quite remarkable," says Boris Hansel, professor of endocrinology and nutrition at the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP).
Except that these tips can be a little too selling for uninformed viewers: "When in a video, you are promoted one, two or three miracle foods, we know that there is eel under rock. Because there is a real risk of disappointing people. »
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Jean-Philippe Zermati, co-author of "Lies, Dukan regime and nonsense" (Ed. Odile Jacob), is more critical. "He presents products like konjac or oat bran as revolutionary, but it's been around for fifty years, that we know it doesn't work."
The nutritionist is worried about this return to TikTok: "He uses networks that perhaps reach a much younger category of people who have not experienced this wave (of Dukan diets) and who could perhaps be seduced. It was such a disaster the first time that indeed, it would be very serious to witness a new wave of his regime. »