Does the keto diet cause hair loss?
Who hasn’t heard of the keto diet? Everyone, from life-long couch potatoes to serious health buffs, knows at least one person who’s tried the keto diet. But some bad news has come our way: apparently, the keto diet might be linked to hair loss. Here’s why.
Hold up: what’s a keto diet?
The ketogenic diet, more popularly known as the “keto diet,” is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It aims to transition the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat, often resulting in significant, if not dramatic, weight loss.
The metabolic state called “ketosis” helps the body burn fat at a more efficient rate, as well as turn fat into ketones in the liver. These ketones supply energy for the brain.
On top of its weight loss benefits, the ketogenic diet also:
Causes massive reduction in blood sugar
Causes significant reduction in insulin levels
Can improve risk factors like body fat, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar
Can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as slow its progression
May cause reduction in the seizures of epileptic children
Helps improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
May help improve acne
While on the keto diet, you’ll need to avoid or completely eliminate the following:
Sugar (e.g. soda, fruit juice, cake, ice cream)
Grains and starches (e.g. wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal)
All fruits except small portions of berries
Beans and legumes (e.g. peas, chickpeas, lentils)
Root vegetables and tubers (e.g. potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
Low-fat and diet products
Condiments and sauces
Unhealthy fats (e.g. processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise)
Foods allowed during a keto diet include all kinds of meat, fatty fish, eggs, butter and creams, cheese, nuts, healthy oils, and low-carb veggies.
Of course, like most crash diets, the keto diet can have some significant side effects.
Will the keto diet really cause hair loss?
It’s not a cause-and-effect thing in that keto dieting = hair loss. But there is a chance you will experience hair loss if you are not mindful of how your go about with your diet.
Dieticians point to three possible reasons for hair loss associated with the keto diet: 1) lack of protein, 2) lack of calories, and 3) rapid weight loss.
Not enough protein prevents the body from properly growing hair. “The skin will not have the necessary building blocks for healthy hair growth,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, told Women’s Health Magazine.
However, he also said that those protein deficiencies are rare. In fact, calorie restriction may be the culprit.
“Severe calorie restriction can cause the body to conserve energy and spend less energy on hair growth, which can result in the shedding of hair and slowed or halted new hair growth,” he explained.
The third possible culprit is less possible than the first two, but it’s possible all the same.
Dr. Zeichner said that although there is yet to be actual evidence to support the claim, many theorize that the body becomes too strained during the process of ketosis, which then impedes the hair growth process.
Bottom line: if you’re not watching your proteins and calories, then you might be a candidate for hair loss due to the keto diet.
Can I prevent hair loss while being on the keto diet?
To combat hair loss during a keto diet, make sure that 15 percent of your daily calorie consumption comes from protein.
You can also take high-quality multivitamins to avoid other nutrient deficiencies.
Dieticians also generally advise against crash diets as it can indeed stress out the body. Instead, opt for slower diets that give you a well-rounded daily dose of nutrients.
Of course, it’s best to consult with a dietician before attempting any diet, keto or otherwise.
How do I remedy hair loss due to the keto diet?
If you’re already on the keto diet and are experiencing hair loss, here’s what you can do:
1. Head straight for a dermatologist.
Don’t jump to conclusions and self-medicate. Dermatologists will help you determine first if, indeed, your hair loss is caused by your keto diet. Because while that’s possible, it’s also possible that the cause is something else entirely.
2. Go through the blood tests.
Blood tests will determine the true reason behind your hair loss.
3. Make changes accordingly.
If the reasons are truly diet-related, then be prepared to make some changes to your food intake. If you didn’t before, now is the time to consult with a dietician about the diet you want to maintain.
Don’t let hair loss stop your weight loss
Don’t wait until you’re resorting to hair loss solutions like scalp microblading or hair transplants.
With proper planning and professional advice, you can lose weight while maintaining your gorgeous locks!
(Psst, if you’re looking for hair loss solution options, we offer scalp microblading! It’s safe, organic, and super easy to maintain. Click here to learn more.)