What do you know about MOOBS!?

I saw a couple interesting comments on moobs (man boobs) on mX the other day (6th August, Talk) . They made me think of what was said in the lecture; what does a lay person think about science? There are many misconceptions and ‘strange’ beliefs out there that strike me, and made me think twice. Where do they get their ideas from? Do people really believe whatever they see and hear on the media? Are they able to distinguish the myths from the facts?

This is one of the comments on moobs by Noloveforsoy in response to a previous comment about moobs: “It’s not the chicken that causes man boobs, it’s soy. Soy is hidden in most packaged food, it is high in estrogen [oestrogen], which is a female hormone. Google it.”

The second one is from Stop drinking, better chest: “It’s more likely young males have been getting their man boobs from drinking too much alcohol which causes an increase in estrogen [oestrogen].”

The picture below depicts what people typically think of when they talk about moobs.

Source: Popcrunch

However, unhealthy diet  and being overweight are only part of the story because many skinny men have moobs, too. In the latter case, moobs is caused by a medical condition called gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is resulted from the imbalance of testosterone and oestrogen in the body, where high oestrogen level causes the development of fatty tissues in the chest area. The causes of gynecomastia can be very complex. For example, it could be the medications that the person is taking or if the person is suffering from testicular tumour.

Despite the unhealthy diet, beer, as mentioned before could enhance the chest size of men. One of the main ingredients in beer, hops, have high oestrogenic activities, and could potentially alter one’s hormone levels. Not only that, hop plants could also disturb the menstrual cycle of a female, too.

Just to clarify the last point, soybeans do not have oestrogen! Soybeans are high in protein, soybean oil and many important vitamins. They are a great substitute for meat, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Soybean does, however, have a compound, similar to mammalian oestrogen, called isoflavones, which could initiate oestrogenic effects. However, whether soybean can cause moobs is still questionable.

To all the male beer drinkers out there, if you are finding your chest area is getting bigger and not sure why, beware! You probably do not want to share bras with your female friends.

P.S. I think Jack Nicholson is still an awesome actor!

7 Responses to “What do you know about MOOBS!?”

  1. Ginger says:

    Thanks Claire! I actually didn’t know anything behind moobs apart from men being overweight. It was interesting to find information about them too. Drink beer and coffee is definitely good excuses for women 😛

  2. Claire Hollier says:

    You got me on this one! I thought – what could there possibly be to say about science and man boobs when i saw the title. You got right to the point and it was entertaining as well as informative. Plus perfect excuse to drink more beer and coffee!

  3. Ginger says:

    Thanks Karl!

    I think diet is only one of the many reasons to moobs, so whether it’s oestrogenic or not. I agree that a lot people (both females and males) are eating more fatty foods, exercising less and drinking excessively, which might contribute more to moobs than soy.

  4. Karl Trounson says:

    Interesting blog! I wonder whether for older gentlemen this problem has less to do with the specifics of the diet and more to do with inactivity leading to weight gain and decreasing testosterone levels. It seems that most overweight men inevitably also have man boobs, so perhaps for them the main problem is the consumption of fatty foods and limited physical activity, rather than oestrogen-containing foods. This is pure speculation on my part of course and I am more than willing to be proven wrong.

  5. Ginger says:

    Thanks Genc! I guess the other alternative for you is to drink both tea and coffee? I didn’t know it lowers sperm count too! Wow! Good point mentioning about lactose intolerance. I love soy milk and soy products as I’m not a fan of milk but I guess that’s a different story because I’m a girl.

    Soy has been used as ingredients for many beauty products in some of the Asia countries, such as Taiwan and Japan. Perhaps for women who want their breasts to be enlarged but do not want to go under the knife, drinking soy and beer is the way to go? Haha

  6. harriswetherbee says:

    But what does it do for the ladies?

  7. genc says:

    Great article!! It’s tough for those of us out there who are lactose intolerant and resort to soy latte’s for our caffeine fix. I have read that warm soy milk has a very high level of oestrogen and can reduce men’s sperm count, as well as moobs it seems.

    Needless to say I have warned my male friends about these potential side effects and will refer them to this article if they do not listen :p