Sunday, 30 January 2011

Attack of the moobs

This afternoon whilst chilling out in the sauna, I noticed a couple of guys with some definite moobs. For anyone not familiar with moobs this is the slang term for man boobs, really not a good look. Along with the female 'muffin top', moobs seem to have been on the rise in the last few years.

So what are moobs and why do they occur?

In the same way that guys can develop a beer belly, they can also store their excess fat in their chest area. The obvious cure for this is to lose excess weight with the usual healthy eating and exercise, however if a guy suddenly starts storing fat in this area and/or is not fat elsewhere, then it may indicate an imbalance in sex hormones, with elevated oestrogen relative to testosterone. In some cases the hormones are so out of balance that men can actually develop breast tissue, but I think the moobs I was in the presence of today were due to the more common cause of an accumulation of fat.

Men, like women, produce both sex hormones in their body but in different ratios. If the ratio gets imbalanced in favour of oestrogen it can encourage deposition of fat in the chest area and may make it harder to shift. So why would these hormones get out of balance?

Well firstly testosterone levels naturally decline with age so moobs are more likely in later life. They can also decline with long-term excessive alcohol intake. It is also thought that the rise in chest fat, and also decrease in fertility, is due to the fact that men are also now exposed to much higher levels of oestrogen from external sources than their ancestors. One source is tap water which, due to the high use of the female contraceptive pill, can contain low levels of oestrogen. In addition our environments expose us all to xeno-oestrogens, oestrogen like chemicals that can be found in pesticides, cleaning products and toiletries. Xeno-oestrogens are also present in plastics and can transfer to food in the presence of heat, for example reheating food in plastic containers.

These xeno-oestrogens can behave like oestrogen in the body leading to symptoms associated with excess oestrogen. Which is why they are also bad news for women as they can contribute to PMS symptoms along with other hormonal balances.

To avoid xeno-oestrogens it is advisable to eat organic food whenever possible, wash your fruit and veg before eating, and drinking filtered water or store bottled water in a cool location out of sunlight. Store foods high in fat in non-plastic containers and avoid reheating foods containing fat in plastic containers.

Very low cholesterol diets can also lead to low testosterone levels as sex hormones are made in the body from fats, so being extreme with your diet, even in a way you may think is healthy, couldbe bad for you and even bring on the moobs!

No comments:

Post a Comment