For many men, their chest area remains a focal point when looking to build a better physique.
Managing chest fat can help boost your confidence, especially if the man-boobs make you feel self-conscious when taking your shirt off.
And to do that, some particular food items are better left out during mealtimes.
When paired with some extra lifestyle habits, such as exercising and weight loss, you can decrease the size of the male breasts and tighten up those muscles.
Here are some classic diet mistakes to avoid with man boobs.
What are man boobs?
Gynecomastia, often called man boobs or moobs, is a condition that makes the male breasts swell and become bigger than usual. Asymptomatic gynecomastia has a very high prevalence rate of 50% to 60% in adolescents. And up to 70% of men between 50 and 69. (1)
So, what is considered moobs? The man’s boob can look like a button-sized breast tissue growth right below the nipple. It could look like a lump that’s soft to touch.
A single or both breasts can be affected. The man’s chest typically gets bigger and uneven.
The enlarged chest can go away on its own. Making good food choices can set you on the right track.
But, to fix man boobs that require treatment, a GP can suggest prescription medications to manage the hormone imbalance. In some cases, they may recommend surgical procedures to take out the extra breast tissue.
What causes man boobs?
Managing the chest fat starts with figuring out what causes man boobs. Many factors can lead to an increase in male breast volume.
Male breasts often happen from: (2)
- Hormonal change
- Steroid use
- Some pharmacologic agents
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
Hormones are often the main culprit. Gynecomastia can happen when the balance between androgen and estrogen hormones is out of sync.
The male body tends to create a small amount of estrogen. This helps control breast growth. But, if the body is creating excess estrogen or there is low testosterone, that’s when the breasts can get bigger.
Often, gynecomastia isn’t permanent. It tends to progress through multiple phases, and then the chest flattens out. In most cases, little or no treatment is necessary.
But, if the breast enlargement happens due to an underlying health condition, like liver failure, then medications can help. If the excess boob tissue is causing pain and discomfort and doesn’t go away, surgery might be an option.
Chest fat vs gynecomastia
On another note, it is important to differentiate chest fat vs gynecomastia. Gynaecomastia or fat affects the texture of the skin. Men with gynecomastia have a firmer chest. And sometimes, it can feel like a hard lump under the skin.
Gynecomastia makes the chest feel more defined and rounder, quite like female breasts. The nipples can also appear puffy. That’s why a man with breast enlargement can feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.
Chest fat is different. It feels just like regular body fat in any area of the body – soft to touch. The excess fat is making the skin sag and lacks definition. Diet and weight loss can offer a notable impact on curbing chest fat.
8 foods that cause man breasts
Healthy foods are critical for overall health and keeping hormonal changes in check. People want to know what foods cause gynecomastia. Many foods can contribute to the development of an increased male chest.
Here is a list of foods men should avoid that can cause man breasts.
Packaged and Deep Fried Foods
Fatty foods can easily cause an accumulation of fat in the chest, like man breasts. Packaged products, like ready-to-eat meals, soups, sauces, bread, etc, can have preservatives. These foods that cause man breasts are high in estrogen and could cause swelling of the chest tissue in men.
To lose man boobs, it is important to steer clear of fried foods. These foods can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems. (3)
Alcohol and Beer
Not all man boobs are the same. But, chronic alcohol and beer consumption can impact enlarged breast tissue in men, especially for someone with an existing hormonal imbalance.
Beer contains prolactin and phytoestrogen. They can increase the amount of estrogen the body produces. If this happens too often, men can be at risk for low testosterone levels.
Many soy products feature plant estrogens that mimic human estrogens. Consuming too many soy products, like soybeans, soy milk, or other soy snacks, might amplify estrogen levels in men. But, even though soy can have estrogenic properties, its impact may vary based on the existing hormone levels in the body.
On that note, soybean, for example, is a great source of minerals and vitamins, mainly potassium. So, you don’t have to completely eliminate soy from your diet for gynecomastia.
Consuming up to 50g of soy protein can be a safe and practical way to improve chronic disease risk factors. Like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. (4)
Around 60–80% of estrogens in western diets come from dairy products and milk (5). While these products offer good nutrition, when you want to get rid of gynecomastia, you might want to regulate your intake of butter, curd, cheese, and ghee. Talk to your doctor about how to stop gynecomastia naturally.
21 foods to eat that reduce gynecomastia
When working on a proper gynecomastia self-care plan, it is a good idea to start managing the hormonal imbalance. You can work on improving testosterone levels with quality foods.
These can include:
- Fatty fish (like sardines and salmon)
- Dark leafy greens
Other foods that reduce gynecomastia include nuts, oysters, asparagus, and almonds.
You also want to watch your zinc intake. Normal zinc levels enable the male body to create testosterone. Some good sources of zinc include poultry, beans, seafood, and whole grains.
Vitamin C can protect spermatogenesis in the male reproductive system, which is why it can play a key role in fertility and semen integrity. It can also increase T-levels. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C and measurable amounts of antioxidants. (6)
To start getting rid of gynecomastia, it might be a good idea to cut back on calories if you are overweight and include healthier food alternatives instead. These include sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, chicken soup, cauliflower, etc. But, research is limited on how effective these foods can be for reducing man boobs.
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Natural ways to get rid of man breasts
Gynecomastia treatment often involves the use of medication and surgery. Exercise can also come in handy.
For example, practicing cardio and chest exercises. Men can lose fat by doing a gynecomastia workout, such as bench press, butterflies, and pushups.
These man boob exercises can also increase the size of the pectoral muscles, thus curbing the appearance of the gynecomastia condition.
To effectively get rid of moobs, it’s best to talk to a specialist. They can suggest the best treatment options for your specific problem.
If increased breasts result from chest fat build-up, the doctor can suggest a fitness regime and losing weight. It’s important to do body contouring exercises and focus on healthy eating. Some even take supplements to lose weight and flatten their breasts.
Many men want to turn their man boobs into muscle. But, there is no quick fix.
When dealing with excess breast tissue development, it can help to watch your diet. Some estrogen and estrogen-like compounds might get in the way.
To reduce man moobs, you might want to stay away from deep-fried foods, dairy, too many soy products, and packaged foods.
To give your body the healthy boost it deserves, you should opt for eating foods that can aid in testosterone production. This includes eggs, seafood, and avocado.
Man boob exercises can also help. However, if food and exercise don’t cut it, talk to a specialist. There could be a medical condition that’s affecting tissue growth.