The Secret Life of Fat

The Secret Life of Fat

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

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393244830
Branch Call Number: 613.2 Tar
Characteristics: xiv, 235 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 17, 2017

From a science and weight loss perspective, this book carried its weight. Reading it gave me a new appreciation of my own fat and fat in general. I was surprised to learn of the protective effects of having a layer of fat - it cleanses the blood of excess nutrients, can help with heart disease (if already there), and influences hormones. The environmental controls of fat beyond calories in and out was quite surprising. Although the author includes some rather extreme diets, that I will never try, I have a new appreciation for those struggling with their weight, differences in children, and how my fat protects me. Ironically, I feel less motivated than ever to lose a few pounds.

May 27, 2017

The author has always had difficulty controlling her weight, even while tightly controlling her calorie intake. Finally she embarked on a project to find out what influences our fat levels. She discovered that fat is intertwined with our brain, bones, immunity, hormones, genes, gender, microbiome, dieting history and even our stem cells. Exercise plays an important role but our weight is much more than the result of calories in and calories out.

Tara presents the latest research findings, describing the research methodologies and citing case studies. The stigma attached to the obese is often not justified. Obesity is not always caused by gluttony or lack of self-control.

She concludes by describing the diet and exercise regime she has embarked on that has resulted in her finally controlling her weight. However, this regime would be for most people, including me, much too extreme.

The book is quite well-written and a fascinating read. It will be very enlightening for anyone trying to control their weight. One major lesson is that it is much easier to prevent weight gain in the first place than it is to reduce it after the fact.

4 stars.

May 19, 2017

WOW!I loved this one. She puts everything in "Layman's Terms" that anybody can understand. You might ask what is everything? I answer some of the most recent findings about fat.Most people (including Me)don't realize that Fat is actually part of our Endocrine system.Our Endocrine System is part of how we get Energy to live! I think anyone who has ever been told "Your too Fat" should read this. There a lot amazing fact in this book also.I will add only one caveat. We each of us should always have our own specific diet(and even if you can't always stick to it that's okay).

May 14, 2017

An excellent and scientific look at the subject of fat. Lots of valuable information.

Apr 11, 2017

The parts about how body fat works were facinating, 5/5, but the out-dated low-cal low-fat diet advice is completely out of date - 0/5.

multcolib_alisonk Mar 07, 2017

We think about fat as something that just sits there like baggage, preventing us from fitting into the speedo. But as it turns out, fat has a mind of its own. I found this examination of fat at the cellular level quite fascinating and enlightening - no pun intended.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top