Impossible Man Boobs
The latest gynecomastia “tempest in a teapot” should have been easy to predict: The Impossible Whopper can cause man boobs! This kind of hysteria happens all too often these days, thanks to the internet and social media.
Here’s how this one came about, as far as we can tell.
First, a South Dakota veterinarian, writing in a publication for the livestock industry, stated that the Impossible Whopper contains 44mg of estrogen (without citation), and goes on to say it’s “18 million times as much” as the original Whopper. That “news” was then picked up by a right-wing website that concluded:
In short, the Impossible Whopper is a genetically modified organism filled with calorie-dense oils that can make a man grow breasts if eaten in overwhelming quantity.
The net effect is a slew of articles all over the internet about the Impossible Whopper and man boobs. Most pieces refute the claim, but you can find plenty that fuel the frenzy with statements like this: “I guess if you are looking to grow man boobs and decrease your libido you’ve found your new burger.”
We are quick to tell New York man boob patients that growing breasts courtesy of the Impossible Whopper is, well, just about impossible.
Estrogen and Food
As with many tall tales, this one starts out with a kernel of truth. Many plants we consume contain compounds called phytoestrogens—literally, plant-based estrogens. Examples include a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. And yes, soybeans, which yield a key ingredient in the Impossible Whopper. To benefit our own patients with man boobs in New York and our followers online, we’ve written about soy and man boobs a few times.
The important thing to note, as the veterinarian did not, is that these substances are phytoestrogens, not estrogen. Their effect is weaker than that of the estrogen produced naturally in the body. But there’s just enough similarity to cause people on the internet to lose their minds about phytoestrogens and man boobs from time to time. That’s why we’ve also commented on whether lavender and tea tree oil can cause moobs (a cautious “maybe,” in certain cases), and whether beer boobs are a real thing (nope).
Causes of Man Boobs
We tell Impossible Whopper enthusiasts that their condition has nothing to do with Burger King’s controversial product. There are many more plausible causes. For instance, if a guy indulges in the burgers frequently, it’s possible he’s carrying around some extra weight. (An article on C-Net late last year pointed out that the Impossible Whopper contains just a few less calories than the original Whopper—still more than 600!) When a man packs on the pounds and sprouts a pair of moobs, the breasts are comprised of fatty tissue and extra gland that comes along with it. Hence, his trip to our New York man boobs consulting room.
It’s also quite possible that a case of gynecomastia in a guy who enjoys Impossible Whoppers is an age-related coincidence. According to American Family Physician, about half of adolescent males experience gynecomastia—most temporarily, some not. And it seems that men experience some breast enlargement after age 50 even more frequently.
Of course, there are other reasons men grow breasts. Many medications feature gynecomastia as a side effect. Anabolic steroid use is a well-documented cause. Very often the trigger is completely unknown.
We understand that some guys really want to know what caused their case of gynecomastia. We are happy to discuss possibilities with our New York man boob patients, but we won’t be adding Impossible Whoppers to that list.
What’s more to the point, in our view, is that we can fix the condition with straightforward, safe, male breast reduction surgery. Call us to talk about your case today: 212-570-6080.