Does Fast Food Cause Moobs?
“Man Has Surgery To Remove Breast, Doctors Blame Fast Food,” an online headline stated just last week. Just one problem: fast food does not cause man boobs.
Admittedly, it can be tricky to pinpoint the cause of gynecomastia in many cases and doctors still have much to learn about the condition. But in this day and age, it doesn’t make sense to conclude that fast food triggered a specific case of man boobs, or any case, for that matter. Let’s take a closer look.
The Case of “Xiao Yang”
Check out the story of the young Chinese man reported on the site Opposing Views. You’ll see that he had a relatively unusual case of unilateral, or one-sided, gynecomastia. The patient said he had noticed one breast growing when he hit his teen years, and fortunately for him, his parents were interested in helping him get rid of the problem. He eventually had male breast reduction surgery.
We believe even people with limited gynecomastia expertise might be skeptical that Yang’s problem was related to fast food, even though that’s what his physicians asserted. Here’s our reasoning:
1) The patient had just one enlarged breast—why wouldn’t consuming excess fast food cause both sides to grow?
2) It’s unlikely that the patient did eat large amounts fast food, as his physique is extremely slender.
Gynecomastia Causes, Lingering Questions
In the Opposing Views article, Yang’s doctors said they see about a hundred cases of young men with gynecomastia annually. They elaborated on their theory about fast food: they believe that diets consisting of fat and other processed food trigger a hormonal imbalance that produces gynecomastia.
There are small nuggets of truth in what the Chinese surgeons have to say, yet, there’s no denying that gynecomastia is a complex, capricious condition defying simple explanations. Each factor we agree is a contributor raises additional questions that are largely unanswered.
Many cases of man boobs do have their origin in hormonal imbalances (albeit unrelated to food). That’s why guys grow breasts at times of hormonal change, such as puberty. But why do some cases fade as adolescence settles down while some cases don’t?
Obviously, hormonal change can be a factor, but just one. Otherwise, why wouldn’t Yang grow two breasts instead of one?
A poor diet can also contribute to a case of man boobs. Oddly, malnourished people sometimes develop gynecomastia since starvation changes hormone levels. On the other hand, those who are obese may develop breasts composed of both fat and gland tissues, as large deposits of fat cells create their own little hormonal environment.
But not every guy who’s seriously underweight or overweight develops gynecomastia—why? And, it’s worth noting that while guys who over consume may become overweight and grow moobs, excess calories can come from anywhere: fast food or bushels of green beans.
Good Sources of Information are Available
Browse credible sources of information about man boobs such as the Mayo Clinic and Medline. You’ll begin to see that gynecomastia experts have pinpointed several triggers, including hormonal imbalances, medications, street drugs and a variety of health conditions. (You may also note that none of these sources mention fast food as a cause!)
In our thirty years of treating gynecomastia in New York, we believe we have seen more cases than the vast majority of physicians in the country. There are guys whose condition seems to have a likely origin, such as bodybuilders who have taken steroids (a well-known cause). But we have plenty of cases that have no apparent trigger at all. We theorize that a genetic predisposition is one factor that contributes in many instances. At this point, however, there’s little research available to help the medical community evaluate this possibility.
One thing we do know: no matter the cause, the one and only permanent solution is surgery for gynecomastia. New York patients and those who want to travel to work with a practice with decades of experience are encouraged to give us a call at 212-570-6080. Yes, during your consultation we will talk about why you may have developed man boobs. Then, we will move right along to a surgical plan that will work for you and a preview of your new life ahead!