Hair loss is a sensitive subject, but it happens to more of us than you think – both men and women alike! On average, we should be losing 100 hairs per day, but for some, this can be much, much more. There are many reasons why we may experience hair loss; some temporary and some more permanent, but one of the most researched contributing factors to hair loss is our diet, and we’re about to tell you how.
Our bodies are sensitive to an excess of anything – hormones, pollution, foods, and products - and when we consume too much of the foods listed below*, it can affect the health, strength, and vitality of our hair.
*We are not here to tell you to never consume these foods, because we need a balanced diet for overall health. Just to reduce the amount if you are experiencing hair loss.
Sugar gets a bad rep for our health and waistline, particularly when there’s too much of it. Maybe the same should be said when we’re thinking about our hair too?! You see, when we consume a lot of sugar, our blood sugar levels rise, and this can be damaging to not only our internal organs but our hair follicles, too! Why is this? Well, high blood sugar levels cause poor circulation, so the blood can’t reach the hair follicles to deliver the vital oxygen, vitamins, and minerals our scalp needs to grow healthy hair . Without that blood, the follicles can’t reproduce the new hairs, which is vital when experiencing hair loss.
High blood sugar levels are often correlated with diabetes, so people with diabetes may suffer from hair loss and hair thinning more than others. Diabetes also puts pressure on the body’s hormone balance, disrupting the hair growth cycle, and preventing the re-growth of healthy hair.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are used to replace the sugars found in treats and drinks such as diet sodas. They are perceived to be healthier, but the side effects of such artificial sweeteners can be misleading! (Sorry to confuse you). One of the main culprits is Aspartame, which although approved by the FDA in certain foods and drinks, is said to be harmful to overall health, including causing hair loss and thinning . This is due to a compound in Aspartame called methanol, which puts stress on the hair follicle and causes it to enter into the 'resting phase' of the hair growth cycle. Sugar-free foods may not necessarily be a better option for you or your hair, so check the ingredients, or opt for a more organic choice.
3. Fried foods
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s yet another reason you need to avoid fried foods! Fried foods are extremely high in fat, and consuming a lot of these saturated fats increases the amount of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a sex hormone found in men, while the female sex hormone is estrogen. Women do however usually possess a small amount of testosterone naturally – about 10% of what men have.
Your body converts Testosterone into DHT as you age (dihydrotestosterone), and DHT plays a huge part in hair loss. In both men and women, DHT has been found to be the main offender when it comes to hair loss  – it attacks the hair follicles, especially the healthy ones, causing male pattern baldness, a receding hairline, and general hair loss. So, because fried foods increase testosterone, they also trigger the production of DHT, leading to these nasty hair loss issues!
4. Selenium-rich foods
Selenium is a food group that our bodies need in order to promote a well-functioning immune system, as well as a healthy hair growth cycle. BUT, the body only requires a certain amount before it can become damaging, and in this case, cause hair to thin.
Selenium is found in foods such as nuts, fish, meat and white bread. You can also find selenium in the form of a supplement. Making the mistake of taking selenium supplements on top of a diet where you consume a good amount of fish or meat, could lead to a noticeable thinning of hair. This is due to a nutritional imbalance in the body, as the body doesn’t process it as quickly as other nutrients . A well-balanced diet should mean that you don’t need to take any selenium supplements at all!
It's not only the hangovers we have to worry about! Alcohol is well known for causing dehydration (among other side effects), which can play havoc with our skin, mood, and especially our hair. In order for our follicles to work at their best, they need to be hydrated. When we are starved of water, our cell turnover can halt, and new hair growth is put at the bottom of our body's priority list.
Alcohol, unfortunately, doesn’t have many positives when it comes to the quality of our locks. Alcohol can cause malnutrition, when over-consumed. For people who have a dependency on alcohol, there is a high chance that they are not consuming the nutrients they need in order for the body to work properly. It is also possible that alcohol is preventing the body from absorbing the nutrients that you are trying to feed it  – the effort goes unnoticed by the body’s digestive system, and therefore can’t feed your scalp. Without these nutrients, hair will fail to replace itself after natural hair fall occurs.
When drunk responsibly, alcohol shouldn’t cause problems with hair loss, but if you find that you drink more than the recommended amount, there could be a relationship between the glasses drunk, and the hair-fall you experience.
Hair loss is something everyone will experience, but it’s up to us to decide the degree to which this happens. There are so many variables at play here, one of the most important being diet as you’ve read. The key thing to remember when it comes to diet can be summed up in one word - moderation! All foods eaten in moderation shouldn’t have a pronounced effect on hair loss but it is worth keeping a special eye out for consuming too much of the above.