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The far-right thinks Impossible Whoppers give men breasts

Deep soy strikes again.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Dec 27, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 7:25 pm CDT

Burger King’s plant-based Impossible Whopper made a big splash on the fast-food scene when it arrived last summer.

Now conservatives are spreading a theory that the vegan burgers will give men breasts.

The rumor is based on an article in the Tri-State Livestock News, a commercial cattlemen’s publication. Written by a veterinarian, the article says that eating enough Impossible Whopper can cause manboobs because the burger has 18 million times more estrogen than a regular Whopper.

“Just six glasses of soy milk per day [emphasis added] has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male,” it states. “That’s the equivalent of eating four Impossible Whoppers per day.”

It’s long been rumored that soy milk causes men to grow breasts because it contains phytoestrogen, a naturally-occurring compound found in a host of plant-based foods and beverages, including strawberries, apples, carrots, almonds, yams, lentils, coffee, beer, and bourbon, according to Medical News Today. Phytoestrogen mimics estrogen when consumed by humans.

However, scientific evidence that consuming phytoestrogen causes gynecomastia, the medical term for enlarged breasts on men, is sorely lacking.

“Since male transgender patients take estrogens to stimulate breast growth, it has been assumed that soy might have the same effect,” Men’s Journal reports, “This appears to be a myth, or at least is not supported in the medical literature.”

Nevertheless, the rumor took hold, prompting the Washington Post to debunk it. The Post noted that Tri-State Livestock News is written for cattle ranchers who have “declared war” on plant-based meat substitute manufacturers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which supplies the Impossible Whopper patties.

Alas, facts matter little on the far-right in the face of titillating misinformation, so the rumor continues taking root.

The National File editor-in-chief Tom Pappert wrote a piece that misleadingly implied that the original article was written by a medical, not veterinary, doctor, before concluding, “In short, the Impossible Burger is a genetically modified organism filled with calorie-dense oils that can make a man grow breasts if eaten in sufficient quantity.” Fellow InfoWars contributor Paul Joseph Watson also weighed in, writing, “The science on whether substantial soy consumption feminizes men is still disputed, although given what many soy enthusiasts look and sound like, there appears to be a strong correlation.”

On Twitter, one conspiracy theorist commented, “Deep soy strikes again.”

Transphobia was a common theme in tweets spreading the rumor.

Many people pushed back against the rumor.

Some noted that the nutritional content of cuisine at Burger King (or any fast food, for that matter) can cause moobs. “I’m pretty sure it’s soda big gulps and super sized orders of fries that are causing men to grow breasts, not impossible burgers,” @rob_breeding tweeted.

Others cautioned that people should consider the source.

Neither Burger King nor Impossible Foods have weighed in on the rumor.


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*First Published: Dec 27, 2019, 2:32 pm CST