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IPAs are the best-selling craft beers in the country. Market research firm IRI says U.S. sales of IPAs increased by 50 percent in 2014, and one in four craft beers purchased last year was an IPA. However, claims are circulating that drinking these beers can enlarge male breasts, causing what some refer to as “man boobs.”
New England cosmetic surgeon Mark X. Lowney knows that his male patients are conscious of their appearance and care about maintaining an attractive figure. In this blog post, he explores the suspicious claims in detail and shares what other medical experts are saying.
Earlier this year, herbalist and author Stephen Harrod Buhner made news headlines when he claimed that a chemical found in hops is to blame for a variety of sexual problems in men, including the development of excessive breast tissue.
According to Buhner, a natural compound in hops called phytoestrogen (a plant estrogen) causes men’s estrogen levels to rise and their breasts to grow. The more hops, the higher the levels of phytoestrogen — and the greater the chances of developing man boobs. Particularly “hoppy” beers, such as strong IPAs, are reportedly more likely to cause male boobs.
Buhner also claims that hops can cause “brewer’s droop,” a term for temporary impotence from heavy drinking, as well as sluggishness, tooth decay, hair loss, and a beer belly.
If your drink of choice is a pint of beer, you’re safe. Experts say that the hops in beer do not actually cause man boobs. Richard van Breemen, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in Chicago, said the levels of estrogen-like hormones are too low to disrupt the hormones and affect male sexual function.
According to van Breemen, the news gets better. Another chemical compound known as xanthohumol contains cancer-fighting properties, the professor told Business Insider.
EMBARRASSED BY OVERSIZED MALE BREASTS?
An estimated 40 to 60 percent of men have oversized breasts, which can cause problems with low self-esteem and confidence. If you are self-conscious of excessive breast tissue, Dr. Lowney can help. He performs male breast reduction to flatten and firm the chest for a more masculine contour.