The overlooked key to managing blood sugar—and melting pounds


It’s been a little while since I’ve discussed amino acids—and the articles I have written recently on these essential protein building blocks have focused mainly on the branch chain amino acids (BCAAs)—leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

But while BCAAs are critically important to your health in a number of ways, today, I’d like to “branch out,” if you’ll excuse the pun.

Because I want to share some exciting new research on one of the other 22 amino acids that doesn’t usually get so much attention—alanine.

A simple way to supercharge glucose metabolism

Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center performed a series of lab experiments on both cells and mice. The goal: to identify the nutrients capable of activating AMP kinase (AMPK).

AMPK is the enzyme that “turns on” your response to calorie restriction and exercise. This sets off a cascade of cellular changes, which activates your energy production genes.

So it probably won’t surprise you to know that AMPK activation is a target for a lot of type 2 diabetes treatments—including the popular drug metformin.

But these researchers set their sights on something more unique—amino acids—testing their effects on rat liver cells to see if any would be able to switch on AMPK. And ultimately, they hit pay dirt with alanine.

This humble amino acid consistently activated AMPK, enabling it to induce all of the enzyme’s metabolic benefits—even in human liver cells—regardless of these cells’ glucose levels.   

The same effects were noted in mice. In fact, eating alanine before a dose of sugar was able to drive down reactive blood glucose levels significantly—in obese mice as well as lean.1 

Now, you know I’m not one to hitch my wagon to animal studies. Still, even I’ll admit that these findings are incredibly promising.

But it’s the lead study author’s commentary that really caught my attention. In particular, this:

“All this data together suggests that amino acids, and specifically alanine, may be a unique potential way to modify glucose metabolism. If it eventually turns out that you can do that by taking an oral drug as a pre-treatment before a meal, which would be of interest.”

And there you have it. In all fairness, I guess researchers have to put food on the table, too. Which, unfortunately, means taking perfectly good science on safe, natural solutions for some of today’s most dire health issues and selling it down the river to Big Pharma.

Well, not on my watch… 

The A-List Diet delivers once again

Why on Earth do we need a new drug, when you can simply eat alanine-rich meals in the first place?

We’re not talking about some obscure nutrient here. You’ll find an abundance of alanine in:

• Beef
• Fish
• Poultry
• Parsley
• Sunflower seeds
• White mushrooms

These are common, affordable foods, and they’re easy to work into your daily menu. In fact, they make regular appearances in my A-List Diet—which delivers a wide range of amino acids in exactly the balance you need to turbocharge metabolism and maximize your health.

In fact, amino acids form the very backbone of this plan.

And when I say it’s the last diet you’ll ever go on—no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed to lose the weight, and keep it off—I mean it. 

You can pick up a copy of my latest book, The A-List Diet, on Amazon or


1. Adachi Y, et al. Mol Metab. 2018 Nov;17:61-70.