Barry Sears, Ph.D. (born June 6, 1947, Long Beach, California) 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
In 1995, Sears released his first book, The Zone: A Dietary Road Map.
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.
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.
Over the next decade, Sears studied and released a number of books based on what he said was the linkage between diet and inflammation.
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. 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.