Foods That Worsen Hair Loss: Avoid These 12 Foods [2020 Update]

Foods That Worsen Hair Loss: Avoid These 12 Foods [2020 Update]

Let's discuss the foods the foods and drinks that are worsening hair loss

You may be surprised to discover that when you consume a lot of sugar, it floods the blood, causing insulin and androgens to spike, this binds to hair follicles which can cause it to fall out. 

Foods that worsen hair loss

The final three foods that I'm going to share might take you by surprise as they’re all really healthy, you might be eating or drinking some of this stuff everyday - and it could be damaging your hair, your scalp and clogging up the blood vessels just under your scalp, and you wouldn’t even know!

So foods, in general can be divided into Alkaline and Acidic. The overall rule to follow is to have as many alkaline foods as possible and minimize acidic foods in your diet. 

The Alkaline Diet and PH Scale

Before we get into this, we’d like to be clear not about promoting an Alkaline diet, it’s not safe to cut out entire food groups - The British National Health Service tell you to not cut out food groups - but The NHS does say that we should be increasing our intake of fruit and vegetables, and cutting down on sugar and alcohol. 

There’s a lot of research that shows that acidic foods, can cause a variety of health issues including speeding up hair loss.

Water has a PH of 7 and your blood has an ideal pH between 7.35 and 7.45, which is neutral.

There’s speculation that too much acid in your body, caused by eating acidic foods such can lead to health problems including unhealthy hair as well as heart disease, cancer, liver problems and bone density issues 

An alkaline diet is full of green vegetables and fresh fruit and it’s based on the idea that you can change the pH balance of your body and blood through the food that you eat – and thereby keeping illnesses at bay. 

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that proves this.

British Cancer Research have also said that it’s a complete myth that cancer can be cured by an alkaline diet.

But having said that The NHS acknowledge that the recommendations to eat more fruit and vegetables and cut down on sugar and alcohol are in line with current healthy eating advice.

So with the alkaline and acidic foods in mind - let’s get started on the foods and drinks that could be speeding up your hair loss. 

So let’s dive in:

Sugar causes damage to your hair in two main ways:


Sugar causes inflammation. When you eat sugar, it floods the blood, causing insulin and androgens to spike, this binds to hair follicles causing to move into the shedding phase. 

This type of hair loss can happen if you’re regularly eating lots of sugary foods so please do be mindful of it.

 Sugar and Hair Loss


Our hair is actually made up of a type of rough protein called Keratin. 

And the protein that we eat, is really useful for hair growth, as it helps to maintain cell growth and repair and sugar hinders the absorption of protein. 

So it’s a good idea to cut down on sugars and increase your protein intake by eating more oats, yoghurt, beef chicken and turkey. 

Starchy White Foods

White bread, cakes, pastries, white pasta, and other refined, over-processed starches are converted into sugar, which also stops protein from being effectively absorbed, 

So swap white bread and pastas for wholemeal.

Cakes and hair loss

Fizzy Drinks

Carbonated Drinks are acid forming and have high amounts of sugar -

As 12 teaspoons of sugar in one can. Sugar affects your cortisone levels which inhibits your ability to handle stress. And one of the major contributors of hair loss? Stress!

Sugar and hair loss

Sugar-Free Foods

The FDA has said that Aspartame, the artificial sweetener commonly used in sugar-free or diet foods as well as sugar-free fizzy drinks can speed up hair loss and thinning hair as well as have lots of other side effects like bloating, depression, arthritis, and sexual problems.

Aspartame and hair loss


Alcohol stops minerals such as Iron, Copper and Zinc being properly absorbed and these deficiencies can lead to thinning, unhealthy hair.

Alcohol also dehydrates you, which makes hair dry, brittle and can lead to dandruff.

So enjoy in moderation!

Before I forget to mention, I do want to say, if you’ve got your hair issues, do comment below or drop me a line on Instagram @itreallyworksvitamins

4 years ago I set up my own hair supplement brand, it’s been in Men’s Health, Esquire, Men’s Fitness and Forbes just featured us in a list of The Best Nutrition Innovation 2019 and 2018

The best thing about us, is that if you don’t love your hair - then we give you a full refund. 


Greasy Foods

As well as having lots of bad fats that cause obesity, heart disease and diabetes high fat diets, can increase your rate of hair loss.

Found that mice who were given a Western-style diet high in fat and cholesterol, experienced hair loss, hair whitening, and skin inflammation 

Bad fats are known to increase the production of sebaceous DHT,

They increase cholesterol and prevent a good circulation - these fats clog up veins and arteries.

The Foods that worsen hair loss

The Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is a high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet, 

Hair loss is considered a less common side effect of a ketogenic diet but some dieticians have found a link between iron and protein deficiencies, and this diet.

The Keto Diet and Hair Loss


High levels of mercury Can be linked to hair loss, and swordfish is higher in mercury than lots of other seafood options. 

The general rule is, the bigger the fish, the more mercury it’s likely to have, so steer clear of eating loads of swordfish, mackerel and tuna.

Fish and hair loss

Food Additives

Researchers have found a link between Food additives and hair loss and it doesn’t matter if they’re natural additives or chemical additives like sulphites or ammonia. 

Cochineal extract or carmine dye – a colour additive extracted from dried bugs and commonly used in fruit drinks, sweets, yoghurt and other foods – is thought to bring about hair loss along with a number of allergic reactions.

The final three foods might take you by surprise cos they’re all really healthy.


Dairy can block the pores and lead to a build up of plaque on the scalp, which can lead to the hair follicle shrinking and thinning hair.

If you’ve got an allergy or intolerance to dairy, hair loss could lead on from this, but it’s there’s not much scientific evidence confirming this. 

Dairy and Hair Loss

Too Much Selenium

Selenium is an "essential" trace mineral important for cognitive function, heart, joints, eyes, a healthy immune system,fertility in both men and women. 

Taking too much selenium over time can lead to selenosis, which can cause hair loss, 

In 2008, a liquid dietary supplement that was 200 times more concentrated than advertised led to selenium poisoning in more than 200 people in 10 states. The most common effects were hair loss, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain and nausea.

Too Much Vitamin A

There are two types of vitamin A - ‘carotenoids’ found in plants like carrots or spinach, and ‘preformed’ vitamin A which is found in animal liver products and fish.

Vitamin A in normal doses is good for hair health - as it supports cell reproduction in hair follicles. But too much of the animal-derived ‘ vitamin A  however, means the follicles reach the end of their growth phase faster, causing them to die and fall out. 

“excess consumption from animal sources may cause hair loss, due to its storage in the liver.”

Research by Dr Chandrashekar recently published by the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL), he says: “Contrary to the old beliefs that diet had no correlation with baldness, recent studies have shown considerable association with hair loss and eating habits.”

Vitamin A and Hair Loss

The good news is that hair loss as a result of a bad diet or deficiency will correct itself once the underlying cause is put right.

So there you have it, the twelve foods, vitamins and drinks that could be causing your hair to fall out.

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