The Secret Life of Fat

Fat is an obsession, a dirty word, a subject of national hand-wringing, and our least understood body part.

The Secret Life of Fat brings together historical perspective and cutting-edge research to reveal fat’s true identity: an organ that is critical to our health. Fat triggers timely puberty, enables our reproductive organs, strengthens our bones and immune systems, affects brain size and may even extend our lives. Fat is so critical, in fact, that nature has endowed it with many means to fight for its survival despite our numerous attempts to rid ourselves of it.

Fat can affect our metabolism when threatened, redirect blood supply to itself, decrease our hormone levels and even control our thoughts. Fat is so important, that our stem cells can create it independent of what we eat—a function that has been preserved for our most important body parts. How we get fat is more interesting still. Bacteria in our bodies will affect how fat we get, as will our gender, genetics, age, dieting history and even contagious viruses. That’s right—fatness may be contagious!

Although we spend $60 billion annually fighting fat, our efforts are often misinformed and misdirected. Written in a style that is both entertaining and enlightening, The Secret Life of Fat shows how we can finally control our elusive adversary by knowing it better.

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