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The Secret Life of Fat

The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You

Sylvia Tara (Author)

Overview | Formats

A biochemist shows how we can finally control our fat—by understanding how it works.

Fat is not just excess weight, but actually a dynamic, smart, and self-sustaining organ that influences everything from aging and immunity to mood and fertility. With cutting-edge research and riveting case studies—including the story of a girl who had no fat, and that of a young woman who couldn’t stop eating—Dr. Sylvia Tara reveals the surprising science behind our most misunderstood body part and its incredible ability to defend itself. Exploring the unexpected ways viruses, hormones, sleep, and genetics impact fat, Tara uncovers the true secret to losing weight: working with your fat, not against it.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • December 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35497-3
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

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


Endorsements & Reviews

“A useful primer on the biology of fat.” — Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker

“Sylvia Tara dove deeply in science of fat and adeptly explains it all in this fascinating book.” — Osama Hamdy, author of The Diabetes Breakthrough

“You can outsmart your body fat, but first you must understand it! With the right lifestyle, eating, and exercise approach you can lose weight and keep it off. Learn how in this engaging and informative masterpiece.” — Michael Dansinger, MD, MS, founding director of the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston

“Dr. Sylvia Tara addresses important concepts related to the development, prevention, and treatment of obesity. This book will be a very interesting read for lay people interested in fat and obesity, as well as for many in the scientific community—I really enjoyed reading it!” — Carl Lavie, MD, author of The Obesity Paradox

“A refreshing change to the conflicting advice and opinions about food that we are subjected to every day.” — Philippa Matthews, Chemistry World

“Powerful.… [Tara’s] research and insight is deeply perspective-shifting.” — Melissa Wuske, Foreword

“Like comfort food for anyone carrying around a lifetime of guilt for eating an extra cookie.” — Hadassah

“Finally, a book that sheds some light on understanding body fat—specifically, its role, why it is so difficult to fight, and how it works differently for different people.… This genuinely enlightening book will be a revelation to those engulfed in self-blame and shame about their weight.” — Publishers Weekly

“[Tara] ably combines an accessible explanation of how the body’s metabolism works with a clear survey of the latest research on obesity. [The Secret Life of Fat] should have wide appeal, not only to those fighting the battle of the bulge.” — Kirkus

“Body fat is so much more than a passive calorie storage depot, as Sylvia Tara brilliantly shows. Read The Secret Life of Fat to make friends with this misunderstood and critically important organ.” — David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Always Hungry?

“Biochemist Tara gives readers the skinny on fat in a lively discussion that incorporates sumo wrestlers, a bloated diet industry, [and] genetics… Readers will discover that, regardless of body size and shape, fat does some heavy work on our behalf.” — Tony Miksanek, Booklist

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