'Man boobs' causing concern

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I'm a guy in my mid-30s — 6'2” and 194 pounds. My problem is that fat seems to be growing around my breasts and this is very unattractive. In fact, I look like a woman with a B-cup! What can I do to reverse this growth? Is it a diet or exercise issue? I've lost about six pounds in the past month but it didn't seem to resolve the issue. Short of surgery, what can I do? Are there particular foods that might account for this growth? My current diet consists of protein shakes between meals, eggs and sausages for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and whatever I find around the house for dinner — usually leftover fast food.

Some men get enlarged breast tissue and this condition is known as gynecomastia. It is usually not dangerous or cancerous; however, it may cause severe psychological distress.

About 70 per cent of boys get gynecomastia during puberty, however, 75 per cent of these cases are resolved without treatment within two years. Gynecomastia in puberty is usually caused by natural changes in oestrogen and testosterone levels. If the oestrogen levels are high this can encourage the swelling of the breasts.

Middle-aged and older men can also have “man boobs”. This could be due to ageing which can increase the oestrogen and testosterone levels.

The causes of gynecomastia are diverse and may include Klinefelter syndrome (set of symptoms that result from two or more X chromosomes in males), certain cancers, endocrine disorder, metabolic dysfunction, various medications, and also a decline in the testosterone levels.

When the body is deprived of proper nutrition and exercise, the testosterone levels usually drop while the adrenal glands continue to produce the same amount of oestrogen. This situation usually results in hormone imbalance which may result in gynecomastia. Testosterone plays a central role in male sexuality as well as muscle mass, hair growth and reproduction functions. Testosterone levels tend to decrease after age 30.

The best possible natural way to deal with gynecomastia is to reduce body fat and increase testosterone levels. It should be noted that practising good nutrition can reduce body fat by 70 per cent. This may reduce the chance of extra fat deposits in the breasts.

You have lost some weight; however, losing a few more pounds might also be helpful. You should also try and reduce or eliminate fast foods. These are usually high in fats and carbohydrates which can add to the already high levels of fat in the body. Also processed and packaged foods should be avoided. Packaged foods are usually high in oestrogen which can cause the swelling of the breast tissues.

It is also important to get rid of the extra sugar and carbohydrates in the diet. Sugars and carbohydrates can be converted to fat which can build up in the chest area. Increase your consumption of green, leafy vegetables, protein-rich foods, and also eat smaller, more frequent meals. In addition, eating foods which boost testosterone levels might also be useful. These include ginger, wheat bran, cabbage, eggs, coconut, garlic and pumpkin seed. Juicing might also be a good way of increasing the testosterone levels. Juicing provides lots of nutrients which are early absorbed. Green as well as coloured juices are good nutrient sources.

In addition, there are some exercises that will also help to increase testosterone levels. You could speak with a gym instructor. This situation can be fixed — you will, however, need to make some lifestyle changes.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com .

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