Alec Baldwin Loses 30 Pounds Without Sugar or Starch

The actor Alec Baldwin just lost a lot of weight. He seems like a smart guy and apparently he did it the smart way: avoiding sugar and starch. (updated: and dairy, so basically a low carb Paleo diet)

Here he’s talking about it on Letterman recently (updated, full interview):

Want to try something similar? Here’s how to avoid sugar and starch and still eat as much as you want. (Avoiding dairy might be an additional bonus)

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“Even If the Scale Isn’t Changing, the Body Is” 62
What Happens If You Eat 5,800 Calories Daily on an LCHF Diet? 175
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Toxic Sugar: Fantastic Video on the Obesity Epidemic! 73
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Get Your Hormones Checked and Lose Weight 19
Low Carb Explained 79
LCHF Greetings from Australia 48
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37 Comments

  1. Peggy Holloway
    I've been waiting to see this published on one of my low-carb blogs! Thanks!
    I have a favor to ask of all you experts out there. I have informed the head of the health ministries at my home church that a "health tip" she had printed in the church newsletter saying that colon cancer is linked to diets high in animal fat and low in fiber was inaccurate and not scientifically supported. I sent one link to an article stating that saturated fat consumption was not in any connected to colon cancer, but she is asking me for more information. Can you supply links to studies (good, scientific studies) that debunk the high animal fat/low fiber theory of "cause" for colon cancer?
    Thanks.
  2. moreporkplease
    The famous economist Nouriel Roubini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nouriel_Roubini) is also on the No Sugar No Starch plan (Dr. Westman, Duke-style), and has been since last fall. He even tweeted about it: http://twitter.com/#!/Nouriel/statuses/116868649318494208 .

    If you compare pix on Google you can see he's lost quite a lot of weight, maybe 40 lbs in the last 6 months.

  3. Gayle
    He looks great! Gone is his pale and *i'm going to die soon* pasty face. Even his eyes look bright and alive again.
  4. Jen
    That can't be right -- starch is great for you.

    All the bloggers and post-docs say so.

    Reply: #34
  5. Alexandra M
  6. Peggy - there's a few I know of:

    First is the 2009 study of over 50,000 people reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, titled:

    "Meat, poultry and fish and risk of colorectal cancer: pooled analysis of data from the UK dietary cohort consortium"

    "Conclusion: This study using pooled data from prospective food diaries, among cohorts with low to moderate meat intakes, shows little evidence of association between consumption of red and processed meat and colorectal cancer risk. "

    In fact, the researchers were so surprised by their findings - findings that contradict previous epidemiological studies - that they revisited the data a year later to look at all dietary fats, not just those from animal products.

    2010 study: "Intake of dietary fats and colorectal cancer risk: Prospective findings from the UK Dietary Cohort Consortium"

    "Results: We observed no associations between intakes of total dietary fat or types of fat and CRC risk, irrespective of whether dietary data were obtained using food diaries or FFQ. Conclusion: Our results do not support the hypothesis that intakes of total dietary fat, SF, MUFA or PUFA are linked to risk of CRC."

    Another is the comparison studies done comparing the Adventist studies to the Mormons. Adventists have been long-followed as a group - they are encouraged to eat vegan/vegetarian, they don't smoke, don't drink and don't ingest caffeine. As you can well-imagine, they are much healthier as a whole than the regular North American public. However, Mormon's follow a very similar lifestyle - they also don't drink, don't smoke, don't ingest caffeine - but they DO eat moderate amounts of meat. The Mormon studies showed less cancer overall than the veggie Adventists, and MUCH less colorectal cancer.

    Many researchers are now indicating that moderate intake of meat may have a protective benefit in regards to colorectal cancer that science just doesn't yet understand.

    Also of note, if you look at the majority of research linking meat intake to cancer, almost all of it includes PROCESSED meats.

  7. JAUS
    Baldwin's ignorance vs Richard Dawkin's expertise about evolution: http://youtu.be/OSmTPThWD_c
  8. mezzo
    Jen - who are "all the bloggers and post-docs(?)" that say starch is great for you? How and why is it great? What are it's benefits?
  9. Zepp
    @1
    Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cancer risk: a meta-analysis

    "Conclusion: This comprehensive meta-analysis of GI and GL and cancer risk suggested an overall direct association with colorectal and endometrial cancer. "

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/87/6/1793.abstract

    Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may reduce both tumor growth rates and cancer risk

    "PHILADELPHIA — Eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of tumors already present, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. "

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/aafc-lhd061411.php

  10. FrankG
    #mezzo #9: I suspect that Jen wrote that with a little hint of sarcasm in mind ;-)

    We are now told that: low-carb only works by accident (we stumbled upon low-reward foods purely by chance) and that insulin is an appetite *suppressant*... so what is termed the CIH (Carbohydrate Insulin Hypothesis -- usually attributed to Gary Taubes, who apparently claims that eating *any* amount of carbs will *always* make *anybody* fat ) is already long-dead and buried... AND that boiled plain potatoes are the most satiating food, which will help you spontaneously lose weight -- this last based on a study of 11-13 individuals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7498104 ... yes, the subjective opinion of 11-13 people... probably young healthy college students, taking the study to earn some extra cash.

    ...or if plain boiled potatoes don't do the trick, you might try eating with a clothes-peg on your nose!

    Instead of "CIH" what we now have to believe is that: by eating high-reward foods (which so far as I can tell means, they taste good without satiating us so we keep coming back for more -- like Pringles), by eating these foods, our brain decides to raise our fat "set-point" so we store more, which means we eat more. I'm not sure why Occams Razor is ignored for the far more obvious (and parsimonious) conclusion that we simply eat more of them because they taste good without satiating us so we keep coming back for more -- like Pringles... but I suspect that ultimately they are working on a pharmaceutical to block whatever the brain is doing, so we can eat freely of anything while naturally curbing any excess appetite -- a "will-power" pill perhaps?. By the way, its seems that a common ingredient in all these high reward foods is sugar and/or refined starches ... but this has *nothing* to do with the peripheral effect of insulin in partitioning energy, storing fat away such that the cells remain hungry -- remember that insulin (when injected into the brains of genetically modified mice) is an appetite "suppressant"... despite the experience of all those Type 2 diabetic humans; who when injecting insulin, invariably gain excess fat mass.

    Stephan Guyenet PhD at Whole Health Source is the likely post-doc in question - he is a smart and dedicated guy but in my opinion needs to open his own mind to alternates other than just the brain... and for the blogger you might check out the free-thinking, free-talkin' and very down to earth Richard Nikoley at Free The Animal who, having successfully improved his health and metabolic state on LCHF has very recently added back up to 200g of starches in the form of white potatoes, while simultaneously (and consciously) reducing calories from other foods to compensate.

    Seriously, I see a place in the discussion for high-reward foods and central control of fat mass ALONGSIDE the peripheral effects of hormones -- chiefly insulin -- BUT to assert that the "CIH" is dead and buried, or to make the leap of faith to a brain-controlled "fat set-point" is still going to take a great deal of convincing, for me at least.

    But please don't let me (or anyone else -- no matter how well qualified) tell you what to think... do some reading, be sure that the studies cited hold up to scrutiny and make up your own mind.

  11. Jean
    I wonder who Alec Baldwin's doctor is? It's refreshing to hear that there's a doctor out there that understands that diabetes is a disease of blood sugar, and the way to treat it is to eliminate sugar consumption. Very different than the Paula Deen situation.
  12. Jean
    I can see where insulin could be considered an appetite suppressant, because the initial release tells your body that you have eaten. However, as the insulin level falls, I believe it signals hunger again. So, it's a very temporary thing, and it's much better to avoid the insulin spike in the first place. The http://www.gnolls.org series on satiety explains this fairly well, I think.
  13. moreporkplease
    "who, having successfully improved his health and metabolic state on LCHF has very recently added back up to 200g of starches in the form of white potatoes, while simultaneously (and consciously) reducing calories from other foods to compensate."

    Yes Frank G, but unless he also lowers his fats, he may be in trouble. The clear point is that paleo is no longer LCHF. It's now HFHC and has adopted the CI/CO model. Nikoley exercises a lot and is under 55, so he may be able to get away with it; but if you're not a Crossfit fanatic or triathelete, I'm not sure you can. Will be very interesting to see what happens to him as he ages.

  14. Galina L.
    Richard is looking for a diet that will take care of an extra 20 lb he couldn't get read of on LC paleo alone.

    Unlike Richard, I don't experience an improved satiety with more starches and less fat and protein. My guess is for some people CIH works better than for others while everybody will benefit from elimination of sugar and grains in one's diet. I see the diet based on the food reward theory to be more restrictive and difficult to follow than LC. Just recently I received an advice to plug my nose in order to reduce my desire to eat while eating starches. I would rather not to eat potatoes than to start counting grams of fat and protein again and avoid smelling my food.

  15. Gina
    JAUS - That was a Stephen Baldwin, not Alec. He is the youngest of the Baldwin brothers.
  16. JAUS
    #16 OK, I don't follow celebrities because I don't care about their lives hardly at all. As you realized I don't really don't know who Alec Baldwin is, though his face is somewhat familiar.
  17. Charlie Shaughnessy
    Wasn't Alec Baldwin a huge vegetarian/vegan diet advocate before?
  18. Justin B
    @Charlie, it's possible, especially since he's into a lot of other liberal causes. Sadly, many liberals care more about not killing animals than they do their own health or the health of others. It caught up with him, so he did some research, and figured it out. Many are not as lucky to have that kind of intuition.

    I love the part when he says "I certainly hope so... I don't want to die!".

  19. Margaretrc
    @Frank G, I am 100% with you on this and I enjoy reading your comments in Guyenet's
    Blog. Guyenet is (funded by a Pharma co., I believe) working on developing a drug, so everything he says becomes suspect--as in skepticism and further research is definitely called for.
    I think it's totally awesome that a high profile actor has adopted this life style (I haven't finished viewing the clip (I will!)--does he talk about eating fat to make up for the sugar he's not eating?--and is talking about it. And the timing is perfect coming so soon after Paula Deen's reveal. Hopefully people will note that one doesn't need drugs to deal with this. My favorite quote was his response to Dave's question about pasta--"oh, it all converts to sugar in the body" or some such. I also liked "I don't want to die" again without mentioning that he could probably take drugs to postpone death. Yay for Baldwin and yay for his doctor for actually advising him to cut out sugar. My husband's doctor, in the same situation, advised him to eat LFHC! We switched doctors and went LCHF.
  20. Michael Cohen
    I am guessing that he is simply on the Atkins diet. I am also guessing that he was told in the pre-appearance interview that he was not to mention fat or "the one who's name cannot be spoken" on the air.
  21. Dani
    Regarding insulin being an appetite suppressant - don't forget that people eat for emotional reasons, not only when truly hungry. Insulin builds fat in the body, and does have a negative feedback loop back to appetite, but I suspect it's not enough to squelch eating.
  22. Barry Flynn
    Come on people, the government and big business knows what is best for you, it always has, just ask them!!!!...so eat 'high carb diets' avoid fat and control your burgeoning weight problem, your diabetes, your lactic intolerance, your coeliac disease and your heart problems with drugs from the big Pharmaceutical companies....oh and don't forget to pay your taxes, so that the bureaucrats can continue to extract their obscene salaries for feeding us worthless bullsh*t.
  23. kateryna
    Alec Baldwin is engaged to a lady he met at a vegan restaurant and she's been helping him eat healthy. 20 guesses that he's still vegan or vegetarian, he just ditched the sugar. Dried fruit is propably ok though. So I don't think he's doing "Atkins".
  24. Michelle
    This is a great interview and really shows the ignorance of low carb eating.
  25. As far as I know, Alec is still vegetarian....just got rid of all the sugar he was eating. I think his girlfriend is actually the one who put him on the diet. She's a yoga/health person.
  26. BELLE MITCHELL
    HOW DID HE (BALDWIN) GET MARRIED IN A CATHOLIC CHURCH.?? HHE IS DIVORCED!
  27. BELLE MITCHELL
    HOW DID BALDWIN GET MARRIED IN A BIG CATHOLIC CHURCH? HE IS DIVORCED...
  28. Jennifer
    From my understanding, his ex-wife Kim Basinger was a PETA fanatic and got him on the bandwagon when they were still married. He and his daughter Ireland were both vegetarians (I think she probably still is due to her mother's supposed fanatisicm). However, I can tell you from experience that a vegetarian diet (and later a vegan diet that I tried for several months) is definitely "NOT" all that and a bag of chips! As a matter of fact it RUINED my health!!! I developed anemia, hypothyroidism (from all the soy), gained 35 pounds in less than 6 months, had NO energy whatsoever, and frankly went broke trying to buy all the fancy vegan "meat" fare (which BTW is 3-4X what organic grass fed beef/cage free chickens, i.e. what REAL meat would cost you).

    I'm sure the vegans will bark and scream at this and say "you didn't do it right!" Well, the TRUTH is I followed the China Study protocol to a T and got sicker than I ever had. T Colin Campbell who is the author of the grossly biased book "The China Study" led me to believe that his "deep studies" (of which BTW were later PROVEN as false and that they DO NOT LINE UP when scientifically examined.. See Denise Minger's documented research regarding The China Study and Daniel Vitalis' teachings/testimony-[an ex 8 year raw vegan] for more information about ex-vegetarianism and ex-veganism) were the answer to everything regarding the cause of disease, etc. It couldn't have been further from the truth!

    Also, for a completely unbiased study of the healthiest groups of people on the earth (who btw had a 50% animal FAT diet... YES, Animal "FAT"), check out the late Weston Price's studies on the teeth and jawline of the healthiest groups of people on the earth.

    The pictures in his book PROVE that vegetarianism/veganism is a lie and that the vegetarians (especially those who comsume high amounts of grains) are the sickest of all peoples. Mind you, he traveled and performed his studies in the 1930's long before all the processed foods we see today and he STILL saw a massive amount of degeneration with the consumtion of yes, "GRAINS!" Grains are very inflammatory and do not promote good health. Needless to say, I swtiched to a more primal diet and I am still amazed at how level I am and how my cholesterol has evened out. Mind you I eat butter on almost everything every day and my cholesterol is PERFECT!!! SATURATED FATS D-O N-O-T CAUSE HEART DISEASE AND CANCER, BUT YOUR WHEAT GLUTEN ABSOLUTELY DOES!!!

  29. GenXer
    Jennifer, I see far more sick omnivores on any given day. Just look around. The vegetarians and vegans I know look great---they also don't eat many faux meats/cheeses and processed foods. Whole grains are fine. I'm middle age and been vegetarian for 7 years (mostly vegan) and the only time I don't feel well is when I eat sugar and processed foods (and meat when I was omni). When I avoid those foods I feel great. Stop dissing veg/vegan people and their diet. If you don't like it, don't do it.
  30. drew peacock
    Alec looks great. He is an accomplished actor and should not be fat

    Montgomery triangle is awesome!

  31. Linda Winkler
    Anytime you eliminate foods from your diet, whether it's sugar, starch or meat you will lose weight. Why? Because you're eating an unbalanced diet. I don't believe in eliminating any foods. The secret to losing weight is ages old. Eat less, get more exercise and reduce fat consumption. There's no magic bullet.
    Reply: #35
  32. Galina L.
    Linda,
    The trick with eliminating food from a diet works the best when it reduces one's appetite and makes eating less effortless. I tried the meat and fat reducing diet before low-carbing , was hungry more than before then and gained weight even though I tried to eat less. It is very important to avoid self-torturing because it helps to stay on the diet on a long run and even escape overeating during holidays. I also cut my exercising in half, I used to overdo it before.
  33. Judy Ramirez-Parker
    Read books by Arnold Ehret, Herbert Shelton, and Doug Kaufmann. Low carb, starve fungus, low sugars, low starch produce, low or no animal foods, juicing,smoothies,mostly raw,proper fasting. I lost 19 pounds last yr and 4 this yr.
  34. Zepp
    I dont believe in a balanced diets.. I believe in an essential balanced diet!

    I dont think its a good idea to incorporate everything in a diet, there are a lot of junkfood this day.. that nobody should eat!

    A balaced diet.. some arsenike, and som stryknin.. I dont think soo??

    One have to consider whats a proper diet for humans, and a "balanced diet" is not a clue to that!

    One need a diet thats proper for humans.. cows should eat grass, cats should eat mice.. humans shuld eat an human diet!

  35. laura
    I'm so sick of humans saying that animal flesh is part of a balanced diet. my amazing sex l and husbands improved eyesight, among othet benefits is enough for me to stay vegan for life. i know way too many sick meat eaters and waaaay too many thriving vegans, including my99 year old grandma whos vegan.... its so obvious humans are natural vegans.
  36. Five years ago, to the dismay of my children, I decided to have our family go on a vegetarian then vegan diet to try to improve our health. My daughter had focusing problems, my husbands cholesterol was in the 280 range and I had type 2 diabetes. I also had a host of other problems such as plantar fasciitis, back pain, eye problems, and hip pain. My family agreed to follow the diet in the hope that I would stop have so many problems. I got worse. My A1C shot up along with my blood glucose. I had 9 bouts of uveitis in one year and my back/hip pain became debiliating. I had to walk with fore-arm crutches. I was finally diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare disease in which inflammation in the body fuses your bones together. My new rhuemy wanted to put me on chemo-drugs to stop the inflammation and fusing. I decided to try a no-starch, no-sugar diet I had heard of (modified LCHF). I am no longer diabetic and as long as I follow this way of eating I can do all I want physically (run, jump, play). If I try to go back to my old way of eating, all the symptoms come back within a day. My husbands cholesterol is 162 and my daughters focusing problems are not gone but are greatly improved.

    Laura- Vegetarian/vegan may work for you but I will never try it again.

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