If you have gynecomastia – a condition informally known as “man boobs” – you already know how frustrating it can be. You can’t shake the feeling that everyone is staring at your un-manly chest contour, even if you know that isn’t true.
The appearance of your chest can make you acutely embarrassed about taking off your shirt at the beach or in the locker room of your gym. Even when you are fully dressed, there may be specific styles of clothes you don’t dare to wear, for fear of revealing your puffy nipples and enlarged chest. Man boobs can also be hard to overcome with traditional chest sculpting exercises, making the problem doubly disappointing. So, what can you do about it?
Factors Contributing to Gynecomastia
Your first step in fighting the battle against man boobs is to realize what causes the condition in the first place. A variety of variables lead to excess breast tissue in males, including genetics, age, weight fluctuations, and hormones. For example, all men have some amount of a form of estrogen called estradiol, which plays a central role in male sexual function. However, as you get older, your production of testosterone declines, while estrogen increases. In some cases, this can cause you to develop more pronounced breasts.
Diet is another factor that plays a role in the development of gynecomastia. Obviously, eating a high-fat, high-carb, high-sugar diet isn’t good for anyone, but excessive weight gain can cause bulges all over your body, especially in the breast tissue. Just as women who gain weight often need to go up a cup size, men who pack on the pounds may find themselves developing man boobs.
Some foods you eat also contain hormones and other chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen. If you are trying to smooth your chest contour on your own, you will need to avoid these foods that fuel gynecomastia.
1. Processed Food
Does most of your meal prep begin with opening a box or a can? Processed meals are convenient, but in cutting corners with your diet, you could be promoting further weight gain and more prominent man boobs. These foods are full of empty calories and usually loaded with sodium, sugars and preservatives. Plus, any food that comes out of a can or a plastic container could contain testosterone-stunting chemicals like polycarbonate or bisphenol A.
Instead, fill your grocery cart with fresh, colorful produce. When you go shopping, stick mostly to the perimeter of the store, instead of the aisles where the empty calories and mystery ingredients like to hang out. At mealtimes, try to load up at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
2. Soy Products
Edamame, tofu, tempeh and soy dairy substitutes are all high-protein alternatives to animal products, but if you’re trying to lose your man boobs, you might want to keep your consumption of soy to a minimum. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which are the plant form of human estrogen. They are not identical, but evidence suggests they are molecularly similar enough to mimic the effect of estrogen when you consume them.
3. Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs, milk, and cheese are all high in protein and low in fat, which traditional wisdom says is an ideal combination if you are trying to shed pounds and build lean muscle. However, these products are also packed with chicken and cow estrogen, which is identical to the human version of the hormone.
It stands to reason that it would require more estrogen for chickens to produce eggs and for cows to make milk to nourish their calves. Hence, when you eat these products, you are feeding your body female hormones. Even if you buy eggs and dairy products that say “hormone-free” on the label, that merely means the producers did not add any hormones to the milk and eggs other than what was already there.
Beer is a stereotypically manly drink, but ironically, it could be contributing to your feminine-looking chest. The grains used to create beer are naturally estrogenic. Plus, beer is mostly empty calories. If you’re trying to lose man boobs, cut back on your beer consumption.
Gynecomastia Solutions at VCPS
If you’re fed up with your man boobs and want a long-lasting solution, Dr. Eric Desman and his team can help. For men who live in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the greater Washington, D.C. area, gynecomastia surgery is a straightforward procedure to restore your confidence. Contact us today to learn more.