Fat: It's Not What You Think


Here is a refreshing antidote to the misleading hype surrounding the topic of fat — both the fat we eat and the fat we carry around. By explaining its biology and sharing the latest research, Connie Leas convincingly frees fat from its bad reputation. For example, she discusses how our much-maligned fatty tissue plays a critical role in maintaining health. Among other vital functions, it stores energy, produces hormones, builds cell membranes, bolsters immunity, and insulates our vital organs. The author ...
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Here is a refreshing antidote to the misleading hype surrounding the topic of fat — both the fat we eat and the fat we carry around. By explaining its biology and sharing the latest research, Connie Leas convincingly frees fat from its bad reputation. For example, she discusses how our much-maligned fatty tissue plays a critical role in maintaining health. Among other vital functions, it stores energy, produces hormones, builds cell membranes, bolsters immunity, and insulates our vital organs. The author also explains often-confusing terms such as triglycerides, polyunsaturated, omega-3, and trans-fat that are tossed around in the media, but which few people really understand.

Having spent years researching this subject, Leas has transformed technical material from scientific research into a lively work of popular appeal. Chock full of useful — and sometimes startling — information, Fat: It’s Not What You Think is a valuable health resource presented in an accessible, entertaining format.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591026129
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Pages: 179
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Connie Leas (Boulder Creek, CA), a freelance writer, has worked as a technical writer for many corporations in the military-support, payroll services, insurance, and biotechnology industries.
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Table of Contents

Foreword     15
Acknowledgments     17
Introduction     19
Good Things About Fat     23
Stored Energy     23
Hormone Production     24
Cell Membrane Material     25
Padding     25
Insulation     26
The Immune System     27
Protection from Toxic Substances     28
Sexual Attraction     28
Fat-Free People     29
What is Fat, Anyway?     31
Triglycerides Deconstructed     31
Fatty Acids Deconstructed     32
Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids     33
A Separate Case: Trans Fatty Acids     36
Why All the Fuss about Saturated Fats?     36
How Your Body Digests and Uses Fat     37
First, the Stomach     37
Next, the Intestines     38
Getting through Intestinal Walls     39
Transportation to Tissues     39
Unabsorbed Fats: The Laxative Effect     40
Substances along for the Ride     40
Digestive Speed     40
The Food-to-Fat Conversion: When You Eat More Than You Need     41
The Food-to-Energy Conversion:When You Eat Less Than You Need     42
Fat as Fuel for Sustained Exercise     43
What Your Fat Cells Do     45
The Anatomy of Fat Cells     45
Fat Cell Numbers     46
Fat as a Hormone Producer     46
Hormones Worth Special Mention     47
Fat Depots (Storage Areas)     48
Apples, Pears, and Other Fat Storage Arrangements     49
Visceral Fat versus Subcutaneous Fat     50
Visceral Fat and Diabetes     51
Visceral Fat and Exercise     51
Visceral Fat and Stress     52
Health and Fat: It's Not What You Think     53
Who Says You're Too Fat?     55
How We Got the BMI     55
Calculating BMI Using a Math Formula     56
Consulting a BMI Table     56
Using a Web Site Calculator     57
Interpreting the Results     58
Maybe the "Overweight" Are Healthier     58
Waist-Hip Measurements as Health Predictors     60
Maybe the Overweight Are Happier     61
An Alternative Set of Guidelines     61
Ways to Measure Body Fat     63
Methods Available at Health Facilities and Gyms     63
Methods for Home Use     64
Who's Fat and Who's Thin?     65
Why Your Body Wants to Keep Its Shape     67
Fighting Our Genes     67
Blame the Cave People     68
A Second Opinion     70
Insulin Resistance     71
Genetic Predisposition to Obesity     72
How Those Fat Genes Work     73
The Role of Microorganisms     75
Wait-There's More     77
More Still to Come     79
Cholesterol Controversies     81
Why Our Bodies Need Cholesterol     82
What Are LDL and HDL?     83
Now, about Those Cholesterol Numbers     84
High Cholesterol as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Disease     85
Questioning the Role of Dietary Cholesterol in Heart Disease     86
What about Those Clogged Arteries?     88
Size Matters     89
Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs     90
Side Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs     92
An Epidemic of Diagnoses     93
Saturated Fats: Healthful Food     95
Fat Mixtures: Saturated with Unsaturated     95
Mixed-Up Molecules     97
What about Cholesterol?     99
Saturated Fat and Heart Disease     100
A Persistent Myth     101
Nutritional Benefits of Saturated Fats     102
Oils: Essential and Otherwise     105
Monounsaturated Oils     106
Polyunsaturated Oils     107
What Does "Omega" Mean?     108
What's Essential     109
Essential Oils in Meats and Dairy Products     111
Why All the Fuss about Omega-3 Oil     111
Dangers of Polyunsaturated Fats     112
Choosing Oils     113
Olive Oil Terminology     114
How Cooking Affects Fats     115
Storing Fats and Oils     116
Making Your Own Mayonnaise     116
What's Wrong with Trans Fats     119
How Trans Fats Are Made     119
Trans Fats in Our Diets     121
The Problem with Human-Made Trans Fats     122
Trans Fats at the Market     123
Trans Fats at the Restaurant     124
How to Identify Trans Fats on Food Labels     124
Natural Trans Fats     126
Lumping the Good with the Bad     127
And Now, a New Trans Fat Substitute     127
The Problem with Low-Fat Diets     129
Where's the Beef?     129
Some History     130
Faulty Food Pyramids     131
The Latest Pyramid     133
The Problem with Refined Carbohydrates     134
The Importance of Glycemic Levels     136
Low-Fat Milk-Better Think Twice     136
Low-Fat Diets and Mental Health     138
Weight-Loss Diets Compared     139
Low-Fat Diets Laid to Rest-I Wish     140
Diversity and Balance     141
Variations in Diet/Gene Responses: Some Examples     141
Nutritional Genomics     143
A Balance of Fats     144
The Importance of Balancing Omega-6 and Omega-3 Oils     145
The Consequences of an Omega-6 and Omega-3 Imbalance     146
Why the Imbalance     147
Striking the Essential Oil Balance     148
Our Balancing Mechanisms     149
Fat, the Farm, and Family     151
Rivers of Corn Syrup     151
Mountains of Corn     152
Spoonfuls of Broccoli     153
Solo Snacking     154
Ounces of Leaves     155
Toddlers on the Bandwagon     156
Poorer yet Fatter     157
Intervening in the Schools      158
Programming Babies     160
Old-Fashioned Eating     160
Finding Real Food     161
An Evolution Solution     162
Chemical Substances Produced or Activated by Fat Cells     165
Determining Your Body Fat Using Girth Measurements     167
Fat Content of Foods     171
References     179
Bibliography     213
Index     215

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2010

    Everyone should read this important book

    This is a fascinating, well-researched presentation of facts about fat and its importance in our diet. It dispels many misconceptions about fats and fat substitutes, cholesterol, omega oils, low-fat diets. Even just the discussion of milk is worth the price of the book. Leas makes a complicated, controversial subject entertaining and vital reading.

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