Which foods can cause hair loss?

Published: 17 de February de 2023
| Last Updated on 7 de August de 2023 by Easy Hair Hub
Our diet can also play a role in hair loss
Dr. Oguz Kayiran
Medical Reviewer

Hair loss and other similar hair conditions like hair shedding or thinning can appear for a wide range of reasons. From genetics to hormone changes or medications, our hair’s health is dependent on many elements we may not have control on. However, our diet can also play a role in our hair’s health and it is one of the few elements we can actually take care of.

As previously mentioned in this blog, there are foods that can contribute to healthy hair according to experts. So now that we know that, some may ask themselves what is on the other side of the coin? Are there foods that can cause hair loss? That is the topic of today’s blog where we will discover 5 types of foods that can be detrimental to the health of our hair according to experts.

It is widely known that maintaining a balanced diet packed with a variety of foods and nutrients is key to improving and supporting our overall health, together with hair health. Protein, minerals and vitamins are found to be the most relevant nutrients to get our dreamt glossy hair. That’s why, a diet lacking in essential nutrients or with nutritional deficiencies can lead or worsen hair loss or hair shedding.

Find below a list of the 5 foods you should avoid to maintain healthy hair!

1. Sugar and simple or refined carbohydrates

If you have a sweet tooth, we are sorry to bring you bad news! Not only is sugar bad for overall health but also for your hair.

Consuming high levels of sugar makes the pancreas produce more insulin. Consuming high levels of sugar increases androgens levels due to the production of more insulin. This increase in androgens can make hair follicles shrink and even generate early baldness. Also, the overproduction of insulin can lead to insulin resistance, which is not only linked to diabetes or obesity but also to hair loss and baldness.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. There are several studies confirming the link between high consumption of simple carbohydrates and hair loss. Evidence shows that this consumption pattern in women could lead to inflammation worsening excessive hair loss.

Bread, cake, pasta, and pizza are all examples of refined carbohydrates. All of these delicious foods break down into sugar since they are examples of high-glycemic foods, prompting the insulin cycle just commented. Added to that, refined carbs block defenses against stress. Stress is one of the key factors causing hair loss, so consuming refined carbohydrates can increase stress-induced hair fall.

Avoiding the high consumption of sugar, high-glycemic foods and simple or refined carbs is a great decision if you seek to take care of your hair’s health. Instead, complex carbohydrates such as beans or whole grains are a better nutritious alternative.

2. Foods with high levels of mercury

Mercury is easily found in fish, especially on mackerel, some tuna varieties and swordfish. Instead, other options such as salmon or cod are lower in mercury.

A report on two women who experienced hair loss concluded they had high mercury levels in their blood from eating fish. After they reduced their intake of mercury-rich fish, their hair loss improved.

So, what is the reason why mercury is bad for hair loss? Mercury interacts with the other mineral traces in our body, one of them being zinc. The issue is that mercury depletes zinc, which is a hair growth promoter. Hence, consuming high levels of mercury can cause a zinc deficiency, generating the thinning of hair and hair fall problems.

3. Junk and fried food

Junk and fried food is widely known for its grease. While sometimes comforting on the mouth, this greasy attribute could have a negative impact on hair health because of the generation of sebum on the scalp.

“Greasy hair” may be a result of a diet high in junk or fried foods, which will not only affect the aesthetic of our hair but also our hair follicles. When hair follicles are covered in grease, hair growth becomes more difficult and can ultimately cause hair fall.

Additionally, these types of foods are high in saturated fats, which when consumed in high doses increases DHT, an androgen related to alopecia.

4. Alcohol

Hair is made of keratin, a protein that gives structure to our hair. Alcohol has a negative impact on protein synthesis and can lead to hair thinning or shedding. Also, in more extreme situations, heavy alcohol consumption can create nutritional imbalances and can cause follicle death. Additionally, alcohol diminishes zinc levels in our bodies, decreasing the amount of a really relevant mineral when it comes to hair health.

5. Carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks are damaging to hair health because they are rich in sugars. As seen before, high levels of sugar in our diet will unbalance our insulin levels and eventually worsen hair loss. 

Even drinks lower in sugar such as diet sodas are still damaging to hair follicles. Diet sodas contain aspartame, an added artificial sweetener which can cause hair thinning.

The bottom line

You are what you eat, and the foods that are typically negative to your overall hair will also generally have an impact on your hair loss. While it is recommendable to avoid excessive levels of any of the previous foods mentioned, it is always advisable to consult a nutrition expert that can personalize your diet to your hair’s needs.

If you are still worried about your hair loss, feel welcomed to get a free quote with one of our doctors!

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