Updated: Jan 5, 2021
I saw a tweet from @davidnilsonbeer inquiring about beer myths and misconceptions. Obviously, I've heard my fair share but my all time favorite myth is that IPAs can lead to man boobs.
I first heard of this from a friend at a party who was chirping another guy for his choice of beer. Bud Light crowd could just be insecure about their poor taste and making the myth up, but I have to research it regardless. It doesn't seem far fetched seeing how beer-bellies are real. Who's to say beer boobs aren't real?
To get scientific for a second, man boobs are called "gynaecomastia". And IPAs contain phytoestrogens which is a plant (hop) based estrogen. Several sources call the development of man boobs from beer "Brewer's Droop". According to Fatherly, the droop is two part with the second being erectile dysfunction. Now you might just be thinking "oh yeah so like whiskey dick, right?". Wrong. The Journal of Sexual Medicine includes an interesting quote from researchers from Santo Tomas University in Colombia and the University of Granada in Spain. They state “It does not seem to be just a temporary problem, because erectile ability was still affected after a year and, according to the results, did not seem likely to improve just with [alcohol] abstinence". Another academic, Stephen Harrod Buhner, wrote Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers in 1998 and concluded that hops do in fact lead to gynaecomastia.
In positive news, phytoestrogens are a great sleeping aid and can help women with menopause. It's also linked to helping endometriosis pain and lactation flow. Shoutout to IPAs being helpful to women.
Despite all of the above, I think all of my research is for extreme cases. I drink pretty regularly and IPAs are my favorite to sip on. However, I have the smallest chest in my family. Maybe, just maaaaaybe one day the my heavy consumptions will pay off and I'll have to make a trip to upgrade at Victoria's Secret. In the meantime, I'm still just callin "brewer's droop" a myth.