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5 Foods That Cause Hair Loss

3 mins

Rahul Bhatia

If you’re dealing with hair loss but can’t figure out why, your diet might be one of the reasons. We go into detail about foods that cause hair loss and how to prevent it.

There’s a huge difference between hair fall and hair loss. While the former is something that even people with healthy, voluminous, and lustrous locks experience up to a certain degree, the latter is often a sign of deeper issues. Hair loss is characterized by patchiness, bald spots, or hair falling out in clumps, which can be the result of various factors ranging from genetic and environmental to chemical and dietary.

A lot of people who deal with a significant amount of hair loss turn to nutritional supplements as a way to restore vitality and get healthy hair. However, these supplements generally work when there’s a deficiency to combat. In many cases, the problem lies not only with nutrient deficiency, but with a diet that negatively impacts your hair’s health. The links between food and hair growth or hair loss have been widely studied to determine ingredients that both cause and prevent hair damage. This article will cover 5 foods that cause hair loss, the science behind each of them, and what you can do to reduce or avoid hair loss, get healthy hair and bring your locks back to life.

Table of Contents

  • Different Types of Hair Loss
  • 5 Foods that Cause Hair Loss
  • Beneficial Nutrients to Promote Hair Growth

Different Types of Hair Loss

Not all hair problems are equal, nor do they look the same. When it comes to drastic hair loss, there are 2 main types: Androgenetic Alopecia and Telogen Effluvium.

Alopecia is a form of hair loss influenced by genetics and is equally common among men and women. You might have heard of the terms “male-pattern baldness” and “female-pattern baldness”, both of which imply hair loss in well-defined patterns. Starting just above the temples in males, the hairline tends to recede in the form of an ‘M’ shape, whereas in women, the pattern looks different. It begins in the parting and extends to the back, thinning throughout while slowing down hair growth. This type of hair loss is attributed to factors such as genes and hormonal fluctuations.

alopecia, food that causes hair loss

On the other hand, Telogen Effluvium, another rather common form of hair loss, is unaffected by genetics, but triggered by a different set of factors, such as exposure to toxic materials, unstable environment, medical treatments, hormonal changes, and of course, diet.

5 Foods that Cause Hair Loss

It’s common knowledge that eating nutrient-rich foods can do wonders for your hair health — rejuvenate your follicles, boost hair growth, stop hair loss in its tracks, enhance thickness, and make it stronger. However, what’s less well-known is the fact that certain foods can actively damage the nature of your strands an cause hair loss in different ways. In this list, we’ll explore 5 foods that cause hair loss and discuss how.

1. Sugary Foods

As decadent as sugar foods and baked goods are, much has been written about how addictive this ingredient can be. In addition to being inherently harmful in excess, sugar is also bad for the hair because it impedes blood circulation in your entire body, including follicles. Not only is the flow of blood restricted, but even the nutrients in your stream don’t penetrate your hair, rendering other beneficial foods redundant. Too much sugar can also lead to scalp inflammation and damage your strands, ultimately causing hair loss.

2. Dairy

The case of dairy in relation to hair loss is less black-and-white than sugar due to the benefits of milk proteins, but it’s common knowledge that dairy has a certain amount of fat that raises testosterone levels and causes hair loss. It also worsens issues like dandruff, psoriasis, and eczema, which only lead to more shedding.

3. Alcohol

Consuming alcohol negatively affects the synthesis of protein in your body. Since healthy hair is mostly made out of a protein named keratin, alcohol can lead to weakened, lackluster strands while causing an imbalance in nutrition. It also dehydrates your scalp and makes strands brittle, leading to easier breakage.


4. Aerated Beverages 

Sodas, whether regular or diet, contain artificial sweeteners that have been found to damage hair follicles and result in hair loss. When consumed in excess, these drinks decrease the response level of insulin and release sugar into your bloodstream, which as we explained above, hampers circulation and blocks nutrient effectiveness.

5. Fast Food

Not only does fast food lack the necessary nutrients to provide well-balanced nourishment, but everyday consumption can also enhance the presence of sebum, which is known to moisturize the scalp at a normal level. However, when your body releases too much of this oily substance, your scalp becomes greasy and loses its bounce. Without enough time to dissipate, the sebum can build up and block the hair follicles from “breathing” or being cleansed, affecting the health of your hair and causing hair loss.

Beneficial Nutrients to Promote Hair Growth

There are a host of nutrients in your meals that have the power to promote hair health, but also some that can cause hair loss. As long as you eat a nutrient-rich diet, you can reduce the odds of telogen effluvium or hair loss due to non-genetic factors.

biotin food

Foods rich in biotin, vitamin D, and vitamin E can have positive effects like stronger and healthy hair, stimulated hair follicles, boosted hair growth, and reduction in oxidative stress typically associated with alopecia. Almond butter, salmon, and eggs are infused with vitamins D and E and are excellent sources of protein and other nutrients that better your hair. Also, make room for vitamin C, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids that have been linked to lustrous strands.

While your diet isn’t the only factor that influences the quality of your hair, it constitutes a significant part of how your hair looks, feels, and behaves. Eating mindfully and ensuring no major deficiencies will help you keep your locks hydrated, healthy, and happy.


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Rahul Bhatia

Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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