Hair loss warning: This popular food group could be causing your hair loss

Hair loss can be divided into two camps – permanent and temporary. In the first camp is pattern baldness, which usually runs in the family. The second camp is made up of more external factors, such as cancer treatment side effects or stress. Naturally, if your hair loss falls into this category, there is much you can do to treat it.

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One lesser known cause is your diet, which can accelerate the hair loss process.

According to Dr Sharon Wong, Consultant Dermatologist at London Bridge Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK), too few carbohydrates or the wrong type can spur on hair loss.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Wong said: “A vast amount of energy is required to keep up with the cell turnover of hair follicles.

“Carb free diets deplete the body of vital sources of energy and can lead to increased hair shedding.”

Conversely, noted Dr Wong, a diet that is rich in processed foods and refined carbs with high levels of simple sugars stimulates the body to produce more male hormones (androgens), which in turn can kick start the hair thinning and balding process.

Refined or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fibre, and nutrients.

These include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are higher in fibre, digested more slowly and create less of a sugar spike and should form the basis of the carbohydrate in our diet, said Dr Wong.

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Other dietary no-no’s

Failing to pack enough protein in your diet may also spell hair loss problems later on.

Dr Wong explained: “The hair fibre is predominantly made of a protein called keratin.

“The building blocks of protein are amino acids and protein malnutrition can result in generalised hair fragility and hair loss.”

As she pointed out, essential amino acids can only be obtained in sufficient quantities through the diet.

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“These include Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, threonine, Tryptophan, Valine,” she said.

It is worth noting that Lysine also plays an important role in iron absorption, added Dr Wong.

These essential amino acids that comprise protein are naturally found in meat, eggs, tofu, soy, buckwheat, quinoa, and dairy.

Other tips to curb hair loss

According to the NHS, the main over-the-counter treatments are finasteride and minoxidil.

“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride,” explained the health body.

It worth bearing in mind that these treatments:

  • Don’t work for everyone
  • Only work for as long as they’re used
  • Aren’t available on the NHS
  • Can be expensive

Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.

“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” added the NHS.

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