Consumers of far-right-wing media have been spreading an unfounded claim made by a South Dakota veterinarian that Burger King’s plant-based Impossible Whopper contains so much estrogen that the mock-meat burger could grow breasts on men who chow down on too many of the sandwiches.
In a recent report for Tri-State Livestock News, veterinarian James Stangle wrote, “An Impossible Whopper has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular Whopper.”
The Impossible Whopper, Stangle claims, contains 44 milligrams of estrogen compared to just 2.5 nanograms in the beef Whopper.
“Now let me refresh your metric system,” Stangle writes. “There are 1 million nanograms (ng) in one milligram (mg). That means an impossible whopper [sic] has 18 million times as much estrogen as a regular whopper [sic]. Just six glasses of soy milk per day has enough estrogen to grow boobs on a male.”
According to Tri-State Livestock News’ About Us page, the publication is a trade publication for the livestock industry, and the “growth and success of Tri-State Livestock News is due to the long-term support from the publication’s stockmen and agribusiness customer base.”
Several conservative news outlets, including the National File and MichaelSavage.com, have also picked up on the story. “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,” wrote Tom Pappert, editor in chief of the National File.
Far-right Twitter users have been pushing Stangle’s lies in recent weeks and have even included some transphobic comments:
Dudes..Do you want to grow Breasts?
East the #Impossibleburger. It has enough Estrogen to make you grow those Trans lookin' tits you always wanted!
Boy it sucks that you can't short private companies isn't it?
FLUSHHHHH you can hear the value toilet flushing!#FrogsGay pic.twitter.com/ed7sQMLkw1
— Alpha OmegaEnergy (@AOECOIN) December 26, 2019
Sure, let's turn our boys into girls fast!!! What a great agenda!
Social engineering is not enough apparently these days, so let's do it with the food that we eat!https://t.co/86hx0BwUbp
— Leonard Roxon (@LeonardRoxon) December 27, 2019
The Impossible Burger is made partly of soy, a protein-rich product of soybeans which contains high concentrations of isoflavones. Isoflavones “belong to a class of compounds generally known as phytoestrogens… [which are] similar in function to human estrogen but with much weaker effects,” according to the Post.
New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle told the Post that Asian men and boys have been eating large amounts of soy for centuries and, “No, they don’t grow breasts.”
“Asians have been eating soy products for millennia and don’t seem to be any the worse for it. They have among the longest lifespans and best health, at least in classic diets,” she said. “There is a special concern about . . . men and boys who eat soy products, but again, if you look at populations that eat a lot of soy products, there is no evidence of particular problems. No, they don’t grow breasts.
According to the Post, The Harvard school’s takeaway is this: “Soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week, and is likely to provide health benefits — especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat.”