Craft beers are all the rage these days and I for one love nothing more than knocking back an Amber Ale or Crisp Lager after a hard days work, but if you’re a fan of India Pale Ales (IPAs) you might have to take it easy on the bitter flavoured beer after it’s been revealed IPAs can have a negative effect on your body.
While I have no problem with my slowly forming dad-bod from my frequent intake of frothies, considering its appeal to women - or so the Internet tells me – but what I don’t want is man boobs. Officially known as gynecomastia, it’s believed drinking IPAs can contribute not only to a potbelly but also a pair of saggy man boobs.
In 1998 herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner wrote the book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, and detailed how hops found in IPAs can lead to man boobs.
IPAs contain a high level of phytoestrogens, a compound that occurs naturally in plants. Phytoestrogens can help people suffering from insomnia, is a diuretic that successfully promotes urine flow and can aid women experiencing menopause, but it also has a couple of negative effects.
If man boobs don’t scare you off there’s also a high chance you’ll suffer from erectile dysfunction if you knock back too many IPAs. Buhner explains “[From] long-term exposure to the estrogenic properties of hops, [they] eventually have difficulty sustaining erection.”
Although this is all quite concerning if you’re a fan of the hoppy beverage it must be made clear Buhner is a brewer and not a doctor. His research is based on his experiences as a brewery and what he knows about phytoestrogens, a compound also found in a wide range of products we consume daily, including vegetables and coffee.
Chris Colby wrote an intriguing article about the subject for Beer And Wine Journal stating he believes there is no “explicit link between IPAs and male breast development,” but does agree drinking excessively can lead to obesity and brewers' droop.
It’s well known the more fat you have the more oestrogen you produce, and the best way to do this is by increasing your testosterone levels by exercising and reducing your alcohol, sugar and carbs intake.
There are also certain foods you can eat that will help keep you fit and healthy, particularly green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts.
While it might be healthier to have a green smoothie I’m sure most people agree a cold one is much more appetising. Drink in moderation and you’ll have no reason to worry about man boobs or erectile dysfunction.