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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow 7 Worst Foods That Cause Hair Loss and What to Eat Instead

7 Worst Foods That Cause Hair Loss and What to Eat Instead

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: May 15, 2023
5 min read 825 Views 0 Comments
clock 5 eye 825 comments 0

Your diet plays a huge role in hair and scalp health. Consuming bad foods may contribute to hair loss, so it’s important to get the right nutrients. In this guide, discover 7 foods that cause hair loss, including foods that promote hair growth.

foods that cause hair loss

Many people blame certain hair products for hair loss. Shampoo, hair masks, and styling treatments may damage your hair if they contain harmful ingredients, but your diet also plays a huge role in scalp health. 

Excessive consumption of the wrong foods can have a negative impact on your hair, whether it’s sugar, alcohol, or refined carbohydrates. To achieve healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss, you need to eat a balanced diet.

Discover foods that cause hair loss, including better food options for faster hair growth and improved overall health. 

Are There Foods That Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, there are foods that can cause your hair to fall out. Consuming foods containing too much sugar or refined carbs may affect hair-cycling hormones and deprive your body of essential nutrients.

The average person loses around 100 hairs per day. This is a natural occurrence, as your hair is ready to leave the follicle. However, losing more than that could mean you’re eating the wrong foods. For example, high-glycemic index foods increase insulin in your body, which restricts blood flow to the scalp.

Research suggests that following an anti-inflammatory diet promotes hair growth. Avoiding refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, and high-mercury foods may prevent hair loss and support hair follicle function.

You also need to consume plenty of vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiency-related hair loss.

7 Foods That Cause Hair Loss: Say “No” to These Products 

There are specific foods that encourage hair loss and weaken your scalp. Learning about and avoiding these products may prevent hair thinning, especially in those who don’t currently have a balanced diet. 

Below are some common foods that can cause hair loss: 

#1 Sugar and refined carbs 

Sugar damages your scalp and slows down hair growth. This is because the sugar enters your blood, causing a spike in insulin and androgens. Too much insulin attaches to the hair follicles and weakens them, which causes your hair to fall out. 

Refined carbs, on the other hand, encourage the production of androgens. These are male hormones that cause balding and hair thinning. Some examples of refined carbs include white bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, and pizza dough. 

It’s better to limit your sugar and carbohydrate intake for healthy hair. Eating is all about balance and providing the body with essential nutrients.

#2 Mercury-rich fish 

Certain fish, such as bluefin tuna and swordfish, are high in mercury. This is a harmful element when consumed excessively on a diet. A study found that those who eat too much mercury from fish can experience hair loss and other health issues like headaches, kidney damage, and muscle weakness. 

Mercury binds to keratin – a protein in your hair. Over time, your body cannot form new hair shafts due to the lack of protein, which means growing hair strands fall out before they have reached their full length. 

#3 Junk food 

Junk food ranges from biscuits to chocolate to burgers. These foods contain harmful ingredients that could make your hair fall out. Most of the time, junk food is made with saturated fat, sugar, and salt. 

A fast food diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies that further encourage hair loss. This is because you’re increasing plaque buildup in your arteries, which limits the amount of blood fueling your scalp. 

Instead, avoid fried foods to achieve optimal hair health. Focus on whole foods, such as eggs, chicken, kidney beans, and avocado.

#4 Alcohol 

Drinking alcohol can lead to dry hair that falls out easily. Since alcohol promotes dehydration and malnutrition, your body cannot send enough nutrients to your scalp. The hair follicles will struggle to stay in the natural growth phase and produce hair that lasts longer than a few months. 

#5 Raw egg whites 

Raw egg whites contain a substance called avidin. This substance stops your intestines from absorbing biotin, which is a vitamin that keeps your hair healthy. A deficiency of biotin may make your hair fall out because your scalp doesn’t have enough minerals and vitamins to function. 

You should eat cooked eggs instead to make sure you get plenty of biotin. Eating raw egg whites, in general, can be dangerous.

#6 Carbonated drinks 

Carbonated drinks, such as soda and sparkling water, can damage your hair health. For example, soda makes your blood less responsive to insulin and sugar, which disrupts blood circulation in the scalp. 

It’s also believed that sugary beverages increase the onset of female or male pattern hair loss due to disrupted hormones and blood sugar levels. 

#7 Diet foods 

Diet foods that claim to be healthy aren’t always truthful. Diet soda and low-calorie microwave meals can still contain bad ingredients. The artificial sweeteners in diet beverages will increase your blood sugar levels and encourage hair to fall out. 

Certain ready meals that you can throw into the microwave also have lots of sodium. A study found that consuming too much sodium may lead to hair loss in those with male or female pattern baldness. 

What to Consume to Prevent Hair Loss 

Certain foods and drinks can improve long-term hair health, which may encourage hair growth in just a few months. You should build a nutritious meal plan that fuels your body and reduces scalp inflammation. 

Here are some foods you should eat to promote hair growth: 

#1 Whole foods 

Consuming plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can promote healthy hair. This is because they contain vitamins and minerals that contribute to hair growth. 

For example, eat fruits such as apples, plums, apricots, kiwi, and pineapple. Healthy vegetables include broccoli, asparagus, kale, carrots, and spinach. Incorporate more spices and herbs into your diet, such as cinnamon, ashwagandha, or curcumin.

Chia seeds, being rich in healthy fats and vitamin B1, can help your hair grow faster. You could make smoothies containing whole fruits and vegetables and sprinkle some chia seeds over the top for a health boost. 

#2 Natural non-alcoholic drinks 

You should consume more natural drinks to prevent hair fall. Lemon water, black coffee, herbal tea, green tea, and cranberry juice are some great options for protecting your scalp. Just make sure to choose beverages that don’t contain an unhealthy amount of sugar or sodium. 

#3 Natural sweeteners 

Natural sweeteners can save you from consuming refined sugar. For example, if you’re baking a low-calorie treat at home, you should add stevia or monk fruit sweetener to enhance the sweet taste. 

Always choose sweeteners that are natural and low in calories. You don’t want to consume artificial products that may increase your blood sugar levels. 


Does dairy cause hair loss?

Dairy can cause hair loss if you consume too much. Since dairy products contain a high amount of fat, they may increase testosterone levels in your body, which causes hair loss. It’s better to consume dairy in moderation. 

Can a poor diet cause hair loss?

Yes, following a poor diet can negatively impact your scalp and hair. Not getting the right nutrients may increase hair follicle inflammation and encourage hair fall problems, leading to bald spots. 

Can excess vitamin and mineral intake cause hair loss?

Too much vitamin A can actually cause hair loss because it sends your hair follicles into overdrive. As a result, your hair will quickly reach the end of its growth cycle and fall out. You should monitor the number of vitamins and minerals you consume to avoid hair loss.

A Word From a Trichologist

There are many bad foods that can lead to hair loss over time. Staying aware of what you put into your body can help prevent hair fall and promote growth. Take the time to build a new diet that focuses on important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, iron, selenium, and vitamin D.

Even though a balanced diet is essential, you can create other healthy habits that give you lustrous hair. Regular scalp massages increase blood flow to your hair follicles, while taking collagen supplements can repair damaged hair strands.

To prevent hair fall in the future, consult with a trichologist. These professionals can study your hair closely and suggest products that treat hair loss. It’s important to eat foods and follow a routine that works for your hair.


You should avoid fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and refined carbs as much as possible to keep your hair healthy. Instead, focus on consuming whole fruits and vegetables that contain plenty of iron, vitamin B, and zinc. For more guidance on taking care of your hair, speak to a professional trichologist. 

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: May 15, 2023
5 min read 825 Views 0 Comments

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