Barry Sears

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Barry Sears Ph.D.
Born Barry Sears
(1947-06-06) June 6, 1947 (age 69)
Long Beach, California, United States
Alma mater Palisades Charter High School
Occidental College
Indiana University
Occupation Medical researcher
Known for Zone diet
Notable work The Zone: A Dietary Road Map (1995)

Barry Sears, Ph.D. (born June 6, 1947, Long Beach, California)[1] is an American biochemist and author, best-known for creating and promoting the Zone diet, a fad diet which is not well supported by medical evidence.[2]

As stated in several of his books, the Zone diet was born of his desire to avoid an early death from a premature heart attack, a fate of which all other men in his family had been early victims. In more recent years, Sears has popularized the use of high-dose Omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols to further reduce inflammation. He recently revealed in an interview that he began studying lipids primarily because of their complexity.[3]

He released his first book in 1995, The Zone: A Dietary Road Map. It went on to sell over 2 million hardback copies and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Since then he has frequently appeared in the United States media, including CNN, Forbes and Good Morning America.

Early life[edit]

Sears graduated from Palisades Charter High School, in Pacific Palisades, California in June 1964. He graduated with honors from Occidental College in 1968 and graduated from Indiana University in 1971 with a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

He did postdoctoral training in biochemistry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and at Boston University School of Medicine, where he was a research instructor from 1975 to 1978. During 1978 to 1982, he was a staff scientist at the National Magnet Laboratory located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Career & Zone diet[edit]

Sears began his business career in 1976, as the founder and president of one of the first biotechnology startup companies in Massachusetts developing lipid-based delivery systems for cancer drugs.[1] In 1982, the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded for the discoveries of the role that specialized hormones, known as eicosanoids that are derived from lipids, play in the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, and cancer. Sears believed that the drug delivery principles could be applied to diet, in order to control the levels of eicosanoids to ultimately control inflammation.[4]

In 1995, Sears released his first book, The Zone: A Dietary Road Map. [5]

The Zone, went on to become a #1 New York Times best-seller and sold over 2 million copies in the United States. In 1997, Sears released his second book, Mastering the Zone. The book again went on to become another New York Times bestseller and sold over 1 million copies in the United States.[4]

Sears continued to apply his dietary approach to other areas of health influenced by inflammation, and published his first book on anti-aging, The Anti-Aging Zone, in 1999.[4][6][7]

Over the next decade, Sears studied and released a number of books based on what he said was the linkage between diet and inflammation.[8]

In 2008, he released the book Toxic Fat: When Good Fat Turns Bad that described obesity as a form of cancer. Sears released his most recent book, The Mediterranean Zone in 2014, focusing on the role of polyphenols in the inflammatory response.[5] Currently, Sears has published 15 books that have sold more than 6 million copies in the United States. Sears continues his research as the President of the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation in Peabody, Massachusetts.[4]


  • 41 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals.[1]
  • 14 U.S. patents for blood tests to measure low-density lipoproteins, specialty chemical compounds used for drug delivery systems, and methods for reducing blood pressure and treating hyperinsulinemia.[1]

Official Zone books[edit]

  • Sears, Barry (1995). The Zone: A Dietary Road Map. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-098706-5.  Sears's initial book on the Zone diet.
  • Sears, Barry (1997). Mastering the Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-101124-X.  Sears provides more insight to the Zone diet and its application to elite athletic performance.
  • Sears, Barry (1997). Zone-Perfect Meals in Minutes. Regan Books. ISBN 978-0060392413.  a collection of Zone diet meals.
  • Sears, Barry (1998). Zone Food Blocks: The Quick and Easy, Mix-and-Match Counter for Staying in the Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 978-0060392420.  contains Zone resources and Food Block information.
  • Sears, Barry (1999). The Anti-Aging Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039243-6.  Information on role of diet on the aging process.
  • Sears, Barry (2000). A Week in the Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-074190-2. 
  • Sears, Barry (2000). The Soy Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039310-6.  Discusses using soy protein primary source of protein of the Zone diet for vegans.
  • Sears, Barry (2002). The Omega Rx Zone: The Miracle of the New High-Dose Fish Oil. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039313-0.  New High-Dose Fish Oil. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039313-0. Discusses the use high-dose fish oil that can enhance eicosanoid balance and further reduce inflammation.
  • Sears, Barry (2003). What to Eat in the Zone: The Quick & Easy, Mix & Match Counter for Staying in the Zone. Regan Books. ISBN 0060587423.  Ideal foods to eat when on the Zone diet.
  • Sears, Barry (2004). Zone Meals in Seconds: 150 Fast and Delicious Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Regan Books. ISBN 0060989211.  Collection of Zone diet based recipes.
  • Sears, Barry (2004). The Top 100 Zone Foods: The Zone Food Science Ranking System. Regan Books. ISBN 978-0060741853.  A Zone Diet food ranking system.
  • Sears, Barry (2005). The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That's Destroying Our Health. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-083414-5.  Discusses the role of inflammation in chronic diseases.
  • Sears, Barry (2008). Toxic Fat: When Good Fat Turns Bad. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4016-0429-5.  Discusses the actual mechanisms of how we accumulate excess fat and how it can metastasize like a tumor to other tissues.
  • Sears, Barry (2009). Anti-Ageing Zone: Turn Back the Ageing Process in 6 Weeks. Thorsons. ISBN 978-0007332526. 
  • Sears, Barry (2014). The Mediterranean Zone: Unleash the Power of the World's Healthiest Diet for Superior Weight Loss, Health, and Longevity. Ballantine. ISBN 978-0804179171.  Discusses the role of polyphenols in the inflammatory response.


  1. ^ a b c d Barry Sears, Ph.D. Curriculum Vitae
  2. ^ DeBruyne L, Pinna K, Whitney E (2011). "Chapter 7: Nutrition in practice — Fad Diets". Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Cengage Learning. p. 209. ISBN 1-133-71550-8. "a fad diet by any other name would still be a fad diet." And the names are legion: the Atkins Diet, the Cheater's Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet. Year after year, "new and improved" diets appear ... 
  3. ^ Anti Aging Source Interview
  4. ^ a b c d "Barry Sears Ph.D.". Psychology Today. Archived from the original on 2016-04-28. 
  5. ^ a b Fox, Kit. "The Inventor of the Zone Diet Goes Mediterranean". Men's Fitness. 
  6. ^ "Good Morning America". May 8, 2002. 
  7. ^ "Barry Sears: All the success he can eat". CNN. January 19, 2001. 
  8. ^ DiSalvo, David (February 15, 2015). "What Our Diet Is Doing To Our Brains -- And Other Arguments From 'The Zone'". Forbes. 

External links[edit]

  • Dr. Sears' home page, includes autobiography, links to Zone diet articles.