Alec Baldwin’s War on Sugar

Find out how the 30 Rock star fought back—losing 30 pounds—after his pre-diabetes diagnosis. 

Maria Lissandrello
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When his doctor told him he had pre-diabetes, the 30 Rock star gave up sweets and carbs, dropped 30 pounds and got his blood sugar under control. Could the strategy work for you too?  

“I had always been thin. I thought I was doing the right thing health-wise. I’m a vegetarian. I’m a pescetarian, if you will. And [I was] beginning to really, really blow up here, you know?” recalls 55-year-old Alec Baldwin of his not-so-distant past—the days when he looked bloated, haggard and light-years away from the leading-man looks that stole women’s hearts in 1992’s Prelude to a Kiss.

Not that the extra weight kept the gifted actor off the screen. At his heaviest, he starred in It’s Complicated, with Meryl Streep, surpassed Steve Martin as the most frequent host of Saturday Night Live, and wowed fans and critics alike with his portrayal of Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock—a role that won him two Emmys, two Golden Globes and six Screen Actor Guild Awards.

The pounds didn’t interfere with his love life either. In fact, when he first locked eyes with his now wife, Hilaria Thomas, at a NYC restaurant in February 2011, she was smitten—despite barely recognizing him. “I never had a TV growing up, so I didn’t really know who he was. I’d only seen Working Girl!” recalls the 28-year-old, who was born in Spain.

Then, on May 10, 2011, just a couple of months after that life-changing encounter, Alec got some life-changing news: “My doctor told me I was pre-diabetic.” It was a revelation that led to a drastic diet overhaul. 

Fighting back against pre-diabetes
“I stopped eating refined sugars, desserts and sweets,” he says, admitting that it was tough going at first. “When I gave up sugar…it was like pushing a toboggan along a track to eventually get down the slope the first couple weeks, the first couple months, early May through June,” he admitted on his NPR podcast, Here’s the Thing. “By the time I get to July and August, we’re going downhill and the weight’s just coming off me.”

All told, he lost 30 pounds in just four months. But it wasn’t just the sugar in candy, cakes and the sugar bowl he gave up—he also put the brakes on carbs, especially pasta, what he calls the “mega dose of carbohydrate” in his diet. “I would eat, you know, the fish-tank-size bowl of pasta.”

April 2013