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

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...

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Title:The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You
Author:Sylvia Tara
Rating:
ISBN:0393244830
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages

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

  • DeB MaRtEnS
    Oct 15, 2016

    Highly recommended.

    Sylvia Tara, PhD. Dec. 14 W.W. Norton and Co.

    In a world which bombards us with its "the right way" in what to eat, how to eat, how much to weigh, how to measure Body Mass Index, the newest and best theory of being our best skinny

    selves - and confusingly, screams headlines about what is wrong about them all - Sylvia Tara, PhD, has brought us a sensible and RIVETING fount of information which is genuinely useful. "FAT" is not a four letter word; it actually is a functioning a

    Highly recommended.

    Sylvia Tara, PhD. Dec. 14 W.W. Norton and Co.

    In a world which bombards us with its "the right way" in what to eat, how to eat, how much to weigh, how to measure Body Mass Index, the newest and best theory of being our best skinny

    selves - and confusingly, screams headlines about what is wrong about them all - Sylvia Tara, PhD, has brought us a sensible and RIVETING fount of information which is genuinely useful. "FAT" is not a four letter word; it actually is a functioning and extremely important organ in our body.

    The Secret Life of Fat told a highly readable story complete with case studies and fascinating research, about a subject which is really in its beginning stages of discovery. A virus might make you fat; some bacteria might do so too. Fat allows for proper brain development in babies; the maintenance of myelin in the brains of everyone, keeping neural pathways intact, requires fat. Fat is found in stem cells. It can safeguard your health in many ways, including being overweight if you have the right genes.

    But weight issues have plagued us in modern times, and Sylvia Tara approaches those with the latest research and common sense. I loved her personal story, which led to this book: Why did she gain weight and carry fat while eating so much less food than her peers? I am inspired to utilize my new knowledge, trash the latest fads and develop a unique plan which will be "my right way" to lose my kind of fat!

    Highly recommended.

    Publishing date December 27, 2016. Per publisher request, review will not be made public before December 14, 2016. (Two weeks prior to pub. date.) Advance copy by W. W. Norton and Co., NetGalley

  • Marsha
    Nov 05, 2016

    Not your usual book about fat!

    Sylvia Tara introduces cutting edge research in the science of fat, weight gain and weight loss in an engaging way, using a highly readable anecdotal style, illustrating her various points with real life examples, including herself. She gets into genetics, good and bad fat, how bacteria and viruses can affect fat gain, why women have a tougher time losing weight -- and so much more.

    Tara doesn't just tell the reader about all these things, she gives strategies to ove

    Not your usual book about fat!

    Sylvia Tara introduces cutting edge research in the science of fat, weight gain and weight loss in an engaging way, using a highly readable anecdotal style, illustrating her various points with real life examples, including herself. She gets into genetics, good and bad fat, how bacteria and viruses can affect fat gain, why women have a tougher time losing weight -- and so much more.

    Tara doesn't just tell the reader about all these things, she gives strategies to overcome.

    Much of what she writes wasn't new, but she's pulled it all together in a useful and compassionate way, demonstrating why an eating plan that works brilliantly for one person could be disastrous for someone else.

    Thank you, Netgalley, for the review e-copy of this book.

  • Kimberly
    Jan 22, 2017

    Everyone should read this book! Sylvia Tara, a PhD biochemist, researcher, fat sympathizer, fellow sufferer and now author has discussed a very scientific and complex (dare I say heavy?) subject in an easy to read and understand way. I now have a healthy respect and admiration for my fat; instead of loathing it, it is more of a love/hate relationship now. I've learned a few tricks to outsmart my crafty fat.

  • Douglas Lord
    Jan 23, 2017

    Secret? My own fat is pretty public. This book is freaking transformative as it makes the case for a changed view of fat. First-time author and biochemistry PhD Tara clearly illustrates something that a lot of people don’t yet know—fat is an organ of your body, exactly like the liver, the lungs, and (O be still my heart) the

    . It has functions and does important stuff such as acting as a “reserve of energy,” managing energy stores, enabling transmission of brain signals, and facilitating

    Secret? My own fat is pretty public. This book is freaking transformative as it makes the case for a changed view of fat. First-time author and biochemistry PhD Tara clearly illustrates something that a lot of people don’t yet know—fat is an organ of your body, exactly like the liver, the lungs, and (O be still my heart) the

    . It has functions and does important stuff such as acting as a “reserve of energy,” managing energy stores, enabling transmission of brain signals, and facilitating labor. Fat operates differently for every blessed person—and thankfully so. In short: 1) fat is not merely blubber, and 2) without it, you’d die. While this isn’t as readable as

    (e.g., Bonk, Stiff), it’s a helluva lot less clinical than a textbook, walking that fine line between readable and scientific—mostly by relying on anecdotes and reportage of stories of those with problems, e.g., the girl who couldn’t metabolize fat and nearly starved to death, or the Turkish dude with mutated leptin genes who received injections and was able to begin puberty at age 22. There’s also discussion of a virus (Ad-36) that correlates to humans accumulating more fat. This is not a get-me-thin book; indeed it helps to debunk that cultural stereotype and inject science into the frustration and despair that many people feel about weight, appetite, appearance, and health. VERDICT A challenging, fascinating, sometimes disturbing primer on fat that succeeds on the scientific and the cultural front. Bravo.

    Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes,

    , the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.

  • Shannon
    Feb 01, 2017

    A decent book but not as life changing as I thought it would be. Much of it was stuff I already knew, like brown fat and how the microbiome contributes, but some of it was new and exciting. The first half of the book was very interesting and engaging, but I got very bored in the second half and occasionally dreaded reading to an extent. I can't pinpoint what the change was but it just felt long at that point and it's a very short book.

  • Tricia Harrild
    Jan 30, 2017

    This book is awesome! There aren't many books that talk about fat in this way. It's very informative and I really like that it states that there isn't one true diet for everyone. Everyone is different and you have to figure out what works for you. Fat is an organ and has stem cells??? Crazy and cool! I highly recommend this book!! I listened to it in one day. I will be re reading it so I can absorb more data. :)

  • linhtalinhtinh
    Jan 30, 2017

    My roommate bought a tool to measure body fat last week (I think it is called skin caliper or sth like that), which makes me a little bit interested. After reading this book, I was able to learn the working of fat in the body and, while I don't try to lose fat, got a lot more aware of health issues even among thin people or among older ones.

    I think the advice in the end is this: It's hard to lose fat, incredibly so, because bodies are built that way. In the past it must have been a decided adva

    My roommate bought a tool to measure body fat last week (I think it is called skin caliper or sth like that), which makes me a little bit interested. After reading this book, I was able to learn the working of fat in the body and, while I don't try to lose fat, got a lot more aware of health issues even among thin people or among older ones.

    I think the advice in the end is this: It's hard to lose fat, incredibly so, because bodies are built that way. In the past it must have been a decided advantage but in this modern world of cheaply available food in developed countries, well... People without obesity wouldn't understand the real pain and incredible difficulties dealing with trying to lose weight and thus should not judge others. In the end, losing fat can be done, but only with extreme persistence. Exercise, carefully monitor food, and the key, be persistent, for years if not decades.

    Now the message is simple but you wouldn't appreciate it unless you actually read the book. Not exactly well written, I'd say (just judging the title), but the book is direct and concise, and surprisingly better than expected.

  • Meghan
    Feb 21, 2017

    I had my doubts after reading the prologue, because it seemed like the author had a preexisting tough relationship with fat that would skew the book toward an obsession with weight loss. Fortunately, the first two-thirds of the book was a well-researched, objective and fascinating exploration of the nature of fat in the body, ranging from how it benefits us to how it fights to stick with us. The case studies and stories of scientific breakthroughs were totally fascinating to me, and explanations

    I had my doubts after reading the prologue, because it seemed like the author had a preexisting tough relationship with fat that would skew the book toward an obsession with weight loss. Fortunately, the first two-thirds of the book was a well-researched, objective and fascinating exploration of the nature of fat in the body, ranging from how it benefits us to how it fights to stick with us. The case studies and stories of scientific breakthroughs were totally fascinating to me, and explanations of the science were very, shall we say, digestible. I learned a lot.

    The last third of the book is still good, even if it feels more general. I wish there had been more discussion about the effect of different types of diet on fat in the body, but I suppose that could have made this book twice as long. The takeaway that everyone's body fat is unique and people have to develop their own management system is great, and I particularly appreciated the science behind self-control and fasting. The diet that the author went on at the end of her book to manage her own fat was super interesting, albeit slightly horrifying to me given the extent of her caloric restriction. However, that's my spin on the values of food and fat, and she points out that that's personal too. As a slightly chubby 34 year-old woman, I feel like this book has given me a lot to think about as I move forward in weight control, age, and life.

    Also of note, for me: I am getting way, way better at making my way through nonfiction.

  • BridgetT
    Feb 04, 2017

    I mean, seriously! This is NOT a REDUCE BODY FAT DIET BOOK. Don't approach this until you are ready to devote your time and attention to wrap your brain around the potent information herein. I mean, who'da thunk our body fat was so busy, so important, and so clever. But ... you CAN have too much of a good thing. And if you do? ... GAINING BODY FAT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! ... Sylvia Tara has delved into past and present research to give us insight into the, so many, varied, sometimes bizarre, causes o

    I mean, seriously! This is NOT a REDUCE BODY FAT DIET BOOK. Don't approach this until you are ready to devote your time and attention to wrap your brain around the potent information herein. I mean, who'da thunk our body fat was so busy, so important, and so clever. But ... you CAN have too much of a good thing. And if you do? ... GAINING BODY FAT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! ... Sylvia Tara has delved into past and present research to give us insight into the, so many, varied, sometimes bizarre, causes of gaining more body fat than we need. JUST READ THE BOOK. IT'S AMAZING!!

  • The Pfaeffle Journal
    Feb 13, 2017

    In Sylvia Tara's book the

    , she discusses what some researchers have discovered about fat, she does an excellent job of describing in layperson terms how fat interacts with the body. By the end of the book, I understood that fat was very complex and it was able to effect our lives in many ways because of how it affects are bodies.

    What disappointed me about the book was the way it ended, as a diet book. The author tells how she lost the 30 pounds she gained about having her

    In Sylvia Tara's book the

    , she discusses what some researchers have discovered about fat, she does an excellent job of describing in layperson terms how fat interacts with the body. By the end of the book, I understood that fat was very complex and it was able to effect our lives in many ways because of how it affects are bodies.

    What disappointed me about the book was the way it ended, as a diet book. The author tells how she lost the 30 pounds she gained about having her third child. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if she had stuck to the science side as she did an excellent job of explaining how fat affects our bodies. I still think the book is worth reading, and recommend it because you do learn about fat and I found that fascinating.