It’s common knowledge that the food you eat has a huge impact on your general health. From childhood development to reducing the risk of disease, eating a balanced diet has lots of benefits for your mind and body .
Most people know the basics: eating fruit and vegetables leads to better health, while too much chocolate can lead to weight gain and dental problems . But did you know the food you eat can also impact the health of your hair?
As well as vitamins for hair growth, many other foods have also been linked with hair health. From artificial sweeteners to fried foods, find out more about the link between many common food types and hair loss — and learn whether there’s genuine evidence to back up these connections.
Opting for the sugar-free version of your favourite foods may sound like a win-win for your sweet tooth and your health. But when it comes to hair loss, can sweeteners like Stevia , Sucralose, and aspartame cause more harm than good?
Fortunately for people who want to satisfy their sweet tooth without compromising their hair health, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that these non-nutritive sweeteners have an impact on hair loss. In the case of aspartame, in fact, evidence contradicts the supposed link between the sweetener and hair loss .
Eating too many sugar-based foods, meanwhile, can compromise hair health, with research suggesting that avoiding sugary foods is key to improving hair growth . So you can continue using Stevia, Sucralose, and other types of sweeteners without worrying about hair loss.
Foods which are high in unhealthy fats are never good news for your health. Fried foods, which are often cooked in substantial amounts of oil, contain unhealthy saturated and trans fats. So what’s the impact of these fats on your hair health?
A high-fat diet is often responsible for causing obesity, which has been linked with significant hair loss in animal studies . Being significantly overweight depletes hair follicle stem cells and prevents follicles from regenerating. While this is an indirect effect of eating fried foods, it’s important to be mindful of the long-term effects of what you eat.
Both saturated and unsaturated fats have also been linked to increased levels of testosterone and DHT . DHT is the hormone responsible for most significant hair loss, so there may be a link between eating a high-fat diet and hair loss.
A study in menopausal women suggests the best fats for hair health come from fish, poultry, eggs, olive oil, and rapeseed oil — so it’s important to focus on these nutrient-rich fat sources, rather than cheap cooking oils and butter .
Carbohydrate-rich foods like bread and pasta are common comfort foods. They’re typically full of sugar, which is what makes them so enjoyable — and bad for your health.
Excessive sugar consumption is behind many common ailments, from type 2 diabetes to anxiety and depression . Stress is closely linked with hair loss, from conditions like trichotillomania to telogen effluvium (hair falls out due to emotional shock). For some people, limiting sugar intake may reduce stress and anxiety, helping restore hair without medical intervention.
Diabetes is also linked with hair loss . This condition can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to patchy, uneven hair growth across the head (and in some cases the rest of the body). You may be able to manage type 2 diabetes by reducing your sugar intake. But it’s important to discuss any treatment plans with your GP before making any dietary changes.
In 2019, a study examined two cases of women in early menopause who were experiencing hair loss . Both women had a diet that was high in tuna — a fish which often contains high mercury levels. The study found that eating less tuna ultimately reversed their alopecia.
This study uses an extremely small sample. But it does indicate a link between hair loss and the high mercury levels found in tinned tuna. So if you eat a tuna-rich diet (or any other fish that have high mercury levels, like mackerel or bass), consider cutting down your intake to minimise the risk of hair loss.
While androgenetic alopecia is the number one cause of hair loss around the world, diet still plays a part in maintaining a healthy head of hair. If you’re concerned about your hair loss, find out more about how eating a balanced diet can prevent hair loss.
Alternatively, get in touch with our best hair transplant clinic team to book a consultation to discuss and diagnose your own hair loss.
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