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Fat : Fighting the Obesity Epidemic by…

Fat : Fighting the Obesity Epidemic

by Robert Pool

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0195118537, Hardcover)

Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic, by science writer Robert Pool, is the story of obesity research: the quest to find out why people get fat, why certain people are more likely to gain weight than others, why it's so difficult to lose weight, how the body's weight-regulating system works, how genes and environment interact to produce obesity, and why dieters regain their weight more than 90 percent of the time.

Pool presents story after story about the obesity scientists and their research, along with the evolution of social attitudes about corpulence. Some of the anecdotes are entertaining, such as the description of a 1911 experiment where a researcher inflated a condom in his belly, attached to a tube that went through his esophagus and out his mouth, to measure stomach contractions during hunger. Others may make you shudder, such as the story of 515-pound J.W., who lost weight in a hospital on a 600- to 800-calorie liquid diet 25 times, always rebounding afterwards to his previous weight.

Pool favors the leptin gene as a major clue to the mystery of obesity and treats it with more scientific detail than any other topic. Leptin, Pool explains, "regulates appetite and metabolism to keep the body at a stable, preferred weight." The brains of people with a mutation that results in deficient leptin production perceive their bodies as perpetually starving--even though they may be 50 or 100 pounds overweight.

Fat isn't a quick read and it won't tell you how to lose weight. It will appeal primarily to sociologists and those interested in the science of obesity. If that's you, you'll find this book to be a treasure trove of information. --Joan Price

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:00 -0400)

The author of Eve's Rib takes a close up look at scientific efforts to understand and control human obesity, examining the pharmaceutical and weight control programs available, the history of obesity research, and the science of body weight, and arguing that the real problem with obesity is not losing the weight, but keeping it off.… (more)

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