Foods that Can Contribute to Hair Loss

There are several factors that influence hair loss, like genetics, age, nutrient deficiencies, hormones, illness, and more. Most of these we can’t do much about. Yet there is something you can control to improve your hair’s health and appearance, and that’s changing your diet. Sure, baldness runs in your family, so an apple a day won’t keep hair loss away. But you certainly don’t want to make things worse by consuming the wrong foods.

With so much attention given to foods that promote hair health, like nuts and seeds, salmon, spinach, and lean poultry, we thought it would be equally helpful to list foods that can cause damage and discourage growth. Here are six to avoid.

Certain Fish

The Omega-3 in fish like salmon is a great nutrient for hair health. But the fish to avoid are those that carry mercury, like swordfish, some tuna, and king mackerel. The rule of thumb (with exceptions) is the bigger the fish, the higher the level of mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that if consumed in high quantities can be harmful to humans and lead to hair loss.

Starchy, Refined Grains

White bread, pastries, cakes, white pasta, and other over-processed refined starches are converted by our bodies to sugar, which in excess can cause hair to thin. If you must have your pasta or bagel, stick to whole grain or whole wheat.


Stay away from sugar and foods that have added sugar. You’d be surprised at the variety of foods that have high amounts of added sugar, like jarred pasta sauce, canned soup, low-fat yogurt, and ketchup.

Artificial Sweeteners

Think your sweetener is a better alternative? Think again. Aspartame consumed in excess can lead to hair thinning and loss. Stay away from diet sodas and read the labels of sugar-free packaged foods carefully. Satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sweeteners like honey.

Fast Food

Anything that’s not good for your overall health is probably not great for hair health, either. The same greasy fried food that clogs your pours and causes breakouts can leave your scalp greasy while clogging pores and causing hair loss.


Overall alcohol has zero nutritional benefit (aside from the commonly recommended glass of red wine), so it really isn’t doing your hair any favors. What’s more, alcohol reduces zinc levels in our bodies. Zinc is essential for hair health and growth. Alcohol also dehydrates the body which can make your hair dry and brittle.

Do we see a change of diet in your future, or are you already seeing the effects of food selection on the amount and quality of your hair? If the mirror isn’t being kind to you, contact DiStefano today and we’ll explain how we can turn hair loss to hair gain via transplant. Be sure to register for a free consultation.