When you tell someone you are vegan; they assume all you consume is tofu and vegetables. Despite that being far from the truth, soy is indeed a staple in the vegan diet. With men, soy consumption brings on the concern that soy will give them man boobs. Though this is something you should be mindful of, there has only been one report case of the “man boob myth.”
Gynecomastia, the Man’s Boob
There is an apparent difference between being out of shape and have a medical condition. Simply because you aren’t naturally fit or don’t work out, doesn’t mean that your man boobs are in fact a medical concern. Knowing the difference is key. The term “man boob” comes from the medical condition known as gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia refers to when the male breast tissue swells due to reduced testosterone or increased estrogen. Causes of gynecomastia include puberty, aging, reactions to medications, and other health conditions that affect hormones.
The Reported Case
In a 2008 publication of “Endocrine Practice”, the first recorded connection between gynecomastia and soy consumption was documented; a 60-year-old male who developed man boobs. Reporting to the physician that he was experiencing erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and apparent man boobs, they sought to find the source of the issue. After the evaluation, they were able to determine that his diet was the cause of the issue. Why? The man was consuming three-quarts of soy milk every day.
So, How Much Soy Is Too Much Soy?
Based on the findings in the case of the 60-year-old man, he was consuming somewhere around 80-100 grams of soy per day. If we know anything about a vegan diet, the goal is not to replace meat and dairy with the simplest solution, but to feed more fruits and vegetables into our daily regimen. Soy products, much like all other meat alternatives are to be used sparingly. These products should not make up the bulk of your diet. Just because you stopped eating meat, doesn’t mean you are doing it right.
We tend to stick to an average of one cup of soy milk per day with three-to-four ounces of tofu in a meal. We avoid using tofu or other various soy-based products in every meal and make it a delicacy or treat.
We Are Not Doctors
Yes, gynecomastia has other causes than soy consumption so you should be mindful of changes in your body. This article is not meant to diagnosis or put to bed concerns that you have, but to provide peace of mind to the person deciding if a soy-inclusive diet is good for them. You should always consult your physician to determine if your condition requires medical attention.
Is Soy Good For You?
Deciding whether or not soy is good for you is all up to you. Everyone reacts to foods and supplements differently. For avid health enthusiasts looking for a good protein source, soy is a great option. For those wanting to replace dairy in their diet, this is a step in the right direction. For those of you who are looking for the easy way to a vegan diet, that’s not what the lifestyle is about. You need to expand your pallet, find creative ways to get your nutrients, and focus on keeping your diet high in good vegetables, fruits, and nuts.