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The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You

The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You

by Sylvia Tara PhD


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This groundbreaking work of practical, popular science reveals that fat is much smarter than we think.

Fat is an obsession, a dirty word, a subject of national handwringing—and, according to biochemist Sylvia Tara, the least-understood part of our body.

You may not love your fat, but your body certainly does. In fact, your body is actually endowed with many self-defense measures to hold on to fat. For example, fat can use stem cells to regenerate; increase our appetite if it feels threatened; and use bacteria, genetics, and viruses to expand itself. The secret to losing twenty pounds? You have to work with your fat, not against it. Tara explains how your fat influences your appetite and willpower, how it defends itself when attacked, and why it grows back so quickly. The Secret Life of Fat brings cutting-edge research together with historical perspectives to reveal fat’s true identity: an endocrine organ that, in the right amount, is critical to our health. Fat triggers puberty, enables our reproductive and immune systems, and even affects brain size.

Although we spend $60 billion annually fighting fat, our efforts are often misinformed and misdirected. Tara expertly illustrates the complex role that genetics, hormones, diet, exercise, and history play in our weight, and The Secret Life of Fat sets you on the path to beat the bulge once and for all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393244830
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/27/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 592,468
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sylvia Tara holds a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Tara was a consultant with McKinsey & Company and has worked at the world’s largest biotechnology companies. She lives in the Los Angeles area.

Table of Contents

Prologue Skinny Jeans ix

Introduction-Our Changing Views of Fat 1

I All About Fat

1 The Foundation: Fat Does More Than You Think 11

2 Fat Can Talk 26

3 Your Life Depends on Fat 46

4 When Good Fat Goes Bad 63

5 How Fat Fights to Stay on You 78

II It Is Not Only Food That Makes Us Fat

6 Bacteria and Viruses-Microscopic in Size, Giant in Effect 97

7 I Blame My Parents-Genes in Obesity 121

8 I Am Woman, I Have Fat 132

9 Fat Can Listen 146

III So What Is the Solution?

10 Fat Control I: How You Can Do It 165

11 Mind over Fat 179

12 Fat Control II: How I Do It 191

13 The Future of Fat 202

Acknowledgments 209

Bibliography and References 211

Index 225

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