Hair Loss

10 Foods You Need To Avoid To Prevent Hair Loss

Published 10 January 2019

Hair loss can be a reality check that most of us don’t want to face. Seeing clumps of hair on your comb, shower drain or sink can send practically anyone into panic mode. Whether you are a man or a woman, your hair is an important asset that you want to keep. We hear a lot of old wives’ tales about products that can prevent hair loss. However, more often than not, hair loss can be greatly reduced or delayed at best with a healthy diet and avoiding foods that can contribute to hair loss.

Foods that can bring on hair loss

Vitamin A

Studies have determined that an overdose of Vitamin A could actually cause hair loss. Huge quantities of this vitamin in our bodies are toxic to hair follicles. The two types of Vitamin A are usually found as retinoid in animal products or as beta-carotene in your favourite vegetables like carrots. Though it would roughly take a million carrots for this vitamin to trigger hair loss, the risk is magnified when you take vitamin A supplements along with your diet.

Vitamin A acts on the oil gland and shrinks it. When this happens, the oil glands will no longer be able to produce the same amount of oil that coats the hair to keep it healthy, strong and shiny. For reference, the daily value for Vitamin A is 5,000 International Units (IU) per day for adults. To be more specific, food that are high in vitamin A, which include carrots, dark leafy greens, dried apricots, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe melon, mangoes, tuna fish (blue fin) and sweet red chili peppers, should be taken in moderation.


Not as popular as other micro-minerals, Selenium is required by the body in small doses for its antioxidant properties. However, high doses are found to cause possible hair loss. The approximate requirement for Selenium is 55 micrograms per day. Because of this, it is so easy to consume beyond the recommended amount. There are some staples that contain it like tuna, beef, turkey, white rice, and bread. The one with the highest selenium content would be the Brazil nuts with up to 544 micrograms in an ounce. Other sources are chicken and turkey, oysters, sunflower seeds and mushrooms.

Food with High Glycemic-Index

To know the types of food that increase our blood glucose in the fastest and highest manner, the indicator to use is the glycemic-index. The main principle is that 100 mean all glucose and it goes lower as the glucose level decreases. However, the quantity of the food you eat plays a big factor in the calculation of the index. Foods with a high glycemic-index are known to promote hair loss because they create a surplus of insulin, which leads to negative effects on the hair of a person.

Excessive Alcohol

It has been recently noted that excessive alcohol can actually cause hair loss. Your favourite alcoholic beverages have stimulants in them that work against the reduction of symptoms of hair disorders. It also leads to the depletion of two key minerals for healthy hair, which are iron and zinc. Iron deficiency has been known to result in telogen effluvium, which is a type of hair loss condition, see in increasing amounts with female hair loss. Such a condition hastens the hair to enter its resting phase and keeps them in that stage for 3 months before hair is supposed to shed.

Normally, hair grows back within six months, but if left untreated, it could take longer. Hair dehydration can also be caused by high alcohol consumption and makes hair brittle. Eventually, the hair shaft would break and result in hair thinning. The key to handling your consumption is to take everything in moderation.

Simple Carbohydrates

Stress is definitely a big factor for hair loss. What most do not know is that sugar actually inhibits your ability to handle stress. This means refined carbohydrates are to be avoided because they are high in sugar and low in fibre. Good examples of this type of food would be your tasty cakes, biscuits, and the popular white flour. To counter this situation, one could try switching to complex carbohydrates and foods high in fibre like bananas, beans, and wholemeal flour.

Fried Food

For a lot of people, fried food is comfort food. But if the goal is to prevent hair loss, might as well toss this to the dumpster. Along with high fat and hydrogenated oils, fried food should be avoided because these have been linked to the increase of testosterone with the possibility of leading to high levels of DHT, which is a by-product that causes hair loss. Hydrogenated oils, on the other hand, suppress the important fatty acids that are needed for healthy hair. Fried foods also increase the activity of oil and sebum, which in turn, increases the activity of enzymes and cause hair loss.

Sugar-Free Foods

Though marketed to help reduce your sugar, sugar-free foods seem to be the solution to your sweet tooth. Unfortunately, aspartame in diet sodas has been identified by the FDA to cause hair loss and thinning hair. Aside from this, other symptoms have been associated with this artificial sweetener like arthritis, depression, bloating and sexual disfunction issues.

Food Additives

Organic food has been on the rise for the past couple of years and is actually, generally a good thing. Closely associated to this are food additives. A dangerous example of this is the caramel colour that is manufactured with harmful caustic chemicals, sulphites and sometimes ammonia. Even natural additives were found to cause hair loss. To illustrate, Cochineal extracts or carmine dye is a colour additive extracted from dried beetles and usually used with fruit drinks, sweets, yoghurt and others, and can be associated with a number of life-threatening allergies and increase the incidents of hair loss.


Anybody who has gone through a protein rich diet would most likely have used tuna in their favourite dishes. Sounds like the perfect source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, along with salmon and the swordfish. Ironically, though known to give hair its lustre, its excessive consumption can ruin your hair and this is because of the mercury in them. What mercury does is it stops the development of protein and zinc, which can cause chaos to the hair growth process. Some would suggest cooking the fish well done, but it will not lessen the toxic powers of mercury in these fish.


Coffee, which is a favourite pick-me-upper is famous for keeping people alert, and in some cases, people sleep less because of it. Sleeplessness can be a big reason for hair loss. Aside from this, excessive drinking of tea also raises stress levels, which is the second punch to your hair care efforts.

Most of the foods mentioned are unfortunately common in every household and that is fine. There is no need to throw them away, but just be more cautious of their effects on your hair. And as soon as a noticeable patch of hair appears, better check the contents of your refrigerator, as well as your lifestyle and habits. Hair loss is normally treatable, but a professional should be sought for valuable medical assistance.

If you are in Melbourne and looking for credible hair restoration surgeons, Dr. Andrew Kim and Dr Marzola of Medihair Transplant Clinic are experts in the field.

Ask for a free private confidential consultation with Medihair today. Call 1300 355 325 or email


Bianca Shaw

A well-respected surgical stylist, Bianca Shaw has worked in the hair loss industry for 28 years, educating and supporting patients, and working alongside many of Australia’s leading surgeons. Qualified in Trichology and Hairdressing, Bianca was initially trained by a leading hair transplant surgeon and can perform a range of procedures including hair line design, placement of grafts for maximum density, and the dissection and implantation of hair follicles.

Having worked for leading hair loss companies, and managing a number of successful hair transplant practices, Bianca is committed to helping patients understand the treatment options available, ensuring they make the best decision and get the best results to improve their appearance and quality of life.