Sunday, November 4, 2007

Another Interview with Barry Sears

On Wednesday, June 17, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Barry Sears, author of ZONE FOOD BLOCKS.
AkioBN: Welcome, Dr. Sears.

Barry Sears: It's a great pleasure to be here, and I look forward to the questions about the Zone.


Question: Hi, Dr. Sears! I've been "in the Zone" for two weeks now, and my only outcome seems to be a feeling of being less bloated. I am extremely overweight and not very active, so I'm only eating eight blocks per day. Any suggestions?

Barry Sears: Weight loss is different than fat loss. It's impossible to lose more than one and a half pounds per week. If you're decreasing the bloating, this is probably an indication that you're losing body fat at near a genetic maximum.


Question: Dr. Sears, thank you for helping me lose 30 pounds. My question is, which is more important eating a Zone-favorable meal with, for instance, ground meat, pasta, and saturated fats, or eating a healthy but unbalanced Zone meal?

Barry Sears: Eating a Zone meal, even though it contains ground meat, pasta, and saturated fat, would be vastly hormonally superior to eating a non-Zone meal. The key to the Zone is maintaining the hormone insulin in a tight range -- not too high, but not too low.


Question: How do I determine how many blocks for an eight-year-old boy? He is slightly overweight, and I'd like to nip it in the bud.

Barry Sears: First of all, assume that he has 10 percent body fat; then, whatever his activity factor really is, jack it up two notches. This will provide adequate protein for any growth spurts.


Question: I have some stomach cramps. Should I eat more, or should I stay off the diet?

Barry Sears: If you have stomach cramps, two questions you want to ask yourself One, are you urinating more than usual and have a touch or of diarrhea, or are you urinating less than usual and have a touch of constipation? It's quite likely that the second is taking place, and the way to address that is to add more fish oil to your diet.


Question: Doctor, how do you feel about the book SUGAR BUSTERS? It seems to be similar to your ideas.

Barry Sears: SUGAR BUSTERS, in many ways, is exceptionally similar to THE ZONE. So much so that I almost thought I was reading my own book. The primary difference is that the Zone goes into the biochemical detail about how food affects hormones. And the other difference is that the Zone was never conceived as a weight-loss program, but as a treatment for heart disease and diabetes.


Question: I have just begun weight training. How do I gain weight in the Zone?

Barry Sears: You don't want to gain weight, you want to gain muscle mass. The best way to achieve that is to add extra blocks of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to your existing diet. That will provide the adequate protein to build muscle mass, and by controlling insulin, you will not block the release of growth hormones required to build new muscles.


Question: I don't know much about your book, but what is your opinion on the nutrition costs and benefits of being a vegetarian?

Barry Sears: A vegetarian diet is excellent, assuming that you're getting adequate protein and that the ratio of protein to carbohydrates will maintain insulin within the Zone. Unfortunately, many vegetarians consume too little protein relative to the amount of carbohydates, thereby decreasing many of the benefits of a vegetarian diet.


Question: What are the potential effects of a high-protein-type diet, such as yours, on the renal system? Can protein, being a large molecule, cause potential harm over a period of time?

Barry Sears: First of all, the Zone diet is not a high-protein diet, because at no time are you ever consuming too much protein at one meal. Because of that fact, you're not putting a strain on the kidneys, and therefore not interfering in daily functions. In fact, preliminary studies with diabetic patients indicate that the Zone diet reverses the spillage of protein into the urine.


Question: I've lost over 120 pounds in the last year eating mainly a vegan diet. How many calories should I now be eating a day once I am at my ideal weight, which is a guy, five feet nine, 145 pounds?

Barry Sears: The ideal number of calories will probably be in the range of 1500 calories if the calorie makeup is consistent with the Zone principles.


Question: Sometimes after eating a meal I feel a "head rush." I am in my first week of the Zone. Is this typical?

Barry Sears: It can be. The head rush you speak of is really caused by an increase of the production of good eicosanoids. This could be solved by adding a small amount of extra carbohydrates to each meal for the first week.


Question: I have been very successful in the Zone. However, my doctor looks down his nose and tells me that in the long run, it's unhealthy, and says it has too many proteins. Comments?

Barry Sears: I just came back from the American Diabetes Association meeting, in which we presented data on the use of the Zone diet for the treatment of diabetes. One of the ex-presidents of the ADA commented that this was the first major breakthrough in diabetes treatment in the last 50 years.


AkioBN: Thanks for joining us, Dr. Sears.

Barry Sears: It was my pleasure!



Zone Food Blocks: The Quick and Easy, Mix-and-Match Counter for Staying in the Zone
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble



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