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What is the specific dynamic action (SDA) of foods?

Pierre Dukan
Nutrition & Dietetics
The specific dynamic action (SDA) of a food represents the effort or energy that the body has to use to break down the food until it is reduced to its basic unit, which is the only form in which it can enter the bloodstream. How much work this involves depends on the food’s consistency and its molecular structure.

When you eat 100 calories of white sugar, the work the body must do to absorb it burns up only 7 calories, so 93 usable calories remain. Thus, the SDA for carbohydrates is 7 percent.

When you eat 100 calories of butter or oil, assimilating them is a bit more laborious. The body burns 12 calories in absorbing them, leaving only 88 usable calories. Thus the SDA of fats is 12 percent.

Finally, to assimilate 100 calories of pure protein -- egg whites, lean fish, or nonfat cottage cheese -- the task is enormous. This is because protein is composed of an aggregate of very long chains of molecules whose basic links, amino acids, are connected to each other by a strong bond that requires a lot more work to be broken down. It takes 30 calories just to assimilate the proteins, leaving only 70 usable calories. Thus the SDA of proteins is 30 percent.
The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever

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The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever

Devised by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French medical doctor who has spent his career helping people to lose weight, the Dukan Diet rejects counting calories and promises permanent weight loss while allowing...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.