03 Nov 2021
Today I’m talking with Dr Sylvia Tara all about the internal and external forces that govern fat. How we gain fat, how we lose fat, why your body refuses to let go of fat and how you navigate the confusing diet and fitness world that is constantly telling us that it’s all about calorie balance.
It’s not that I don’t believe in calories (obviously they exist), but it’s certainly not the most important factor when it comes to weight control for a lot of people. And for too long, people who have failed on diets and find themselves on a downward spiral of negative emotions and feel that they don’t have anything to blame other than poor will power. Today, we are going to explain why that’s not necessarily the case.
Dr Sylvia Tara has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As a biochemist, she was driven to get to the bottom of fat’s mysteries and the reasons it vexes us, plus her own struggles with weight and dieting. Her book “The Secret Life of Fat” frames our conversation today and we largely speak about how Gender, Genes, Bugs and even Viruses can determine whether one person absorbs 120 calories and another can absorb 80 calories from the same bowl of cereal labelled as 100. Sounds impossible, but it’s true.
We discuss the complex biology of fat, how it resists loss, and what to do to remove stubborn fat. And stick around to the end of the podcast where I summarise the main tips to help you live a healthier life that balances an appreciation for why fat shouldn’t be demonised and how to live more metabolically healthier.
The topic of weight loss may make some people feel uncomfortable. I do my best to make our conversations as compassionate and approachable as possible but please exercise caution if you feel you might be triggered by these topics.
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Sylvia Tara was driven to research fat, science, and lifestyle after she finally got "fed up" with eating less and exercising more than her slimmer friends throughout her life. Her experiences told her there was more to weight loss than just “calorie in, calorie out.” As a biochemist, she was driven to get to the bottom of fat’s mysteries and the reasons it vexes us. In her best-selling book, The Secret Life of Fat, she reveals the complex biology of fat, how it resists loss, and what to do to remove stubborn fat. Readers will learn that fat, surprisingly, uses many tricks to stay on us, and only if you understand those tricks can you beat fat at its own game. Dr. 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. She was a consultant with McKinsey & Company and has worked at the worlds largest biotechnology companies. Dr. Tara has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Yorker, The Times UK, The Daily Mail, Women’s’ Health, Wired, Scientific American and The Lancet. She has been interviewed on NPR, Sirius Radio, WNYC, BBC radio, and appeared on NBC, ABC, Fox and C-Span. She also presented her work at The Smithsonian and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and recently was featured in a Nova documentary, The Truth About Fat. Image credit: Joshua Michael Shelton