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The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You Hardcover – Illustrated, December 27, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 432 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“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

“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?

“For years we presumed that body fat is just a depot for energy, but current science is proving that it is actually the largest endocrine gland in our body. This enigmatic organ conveys many paradoxes and surprises; depending on its location, color and genetic makeup it might be either dangerous or protective. Sylvia Tara dove deeply in science of fat and adeptly explains it all in this fascinating book.”
- Osama Hamdy, Medical Director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Joslin Diabetes Center and 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

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

“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.”
- Carol Saline, Hadassah Magazine

“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

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.

Product details

  • Hardcover : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0393244830
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0393244830
  • Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
  • Product Dimensions : 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated Edition (December 27, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 432 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
432 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2016
218 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2017
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150 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2017
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26 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Laura McCormack
4.0 out of 5 stars Chewing the fat.. great informative read but felt sorry for the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2018
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2 people found this helpful
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march hare
4.0 out of 5 stars read like a novel because of case histories set like stories
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2017
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One person found this helpful
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mobile eng
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy to read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 19, 2017
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C Dempster
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for dieters for whom the fat just won't go
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2019
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