If you’ve overindulged at Christmas, you’re now likely looking for the fastest way to lose those extra pounds this January. However, before you try out one of the many popular crash diets on offer, you might want to consider the potential effects it could have on your hair.
Yo-yo dieting is renowned for its negative effects on the health. You likely already know that sudden changes in weight can trigger heart problems, diabetes and even cancer. However, very few women are aware that these diets can also lead to hair loss and thinning. So how can yo-yo dieting lead to hair loss and is it really worth the risk?
Hair loss and diet – how are they connected?
Like every part of the body, the hair needs a certain level of nutrients in order to stay healthy. If those nutrients are restricted, it can cause significant changes within the hair growth cycle.
The majority of crash diets focus largely on calorie restriction. Did you know that when you cut back dramatically on the calories, it directly impacts the hair follicles? As they aren’t receiving the right level of nutrients required to sustain them, they end up pushing more hair into the shedding phase. So, you’ll start noticing more hair falling out than usual.
The muscle loss caused by yo-yo dieting also plays a part in hair thinning. When there aren’t enough calories for the body to burn, it starts to digest the cells within the muscles. Muscle mass affects the metabolism, so losing it can cause the metabolism to slow right down. This is what contributes towards rapid weight regain when you start to eat normally again. The rapid weight gain following fast weight loss adds a lot of stress to the body, including the hair follicles.
So, the combination of restricted nutrients and rapid weight loss and gain is what causes the changes in the hair. There’s also a final link between hormonal changes caused by nutrient restriction and hair loss. The hormones play a huge part in the health of your hair.
You only have to look at how hormonal changes during pregnancy and giving birth affect the hair to see just how significant the hormones are for healthy hair.
Extreme exercise plays a part too
Often, those taking part in extreme diets also incorporate an excessive exercise routine into their weight loss goals. This too can cause further problems for the hair.
In particular, exercises designed to build muscle mass quickly, can cause hair loss. This is because of the protein redistribution that occurs as you’re building muscle quickly. In order to bulk up the muscles, protein is taken and used from other parts of the body, like the hair. To counteract this problem, it’s logical to think protein supplements might help. However, these types of supplements have actually been linked to hair loss, so if anything, it could make the problem worse.
Finally, the sweat and sebum secretion of the scalp caused during exercise can also lead to a build-up of oil, sweat and dead skin cells that can cause an increase in dandruff or result in skin infections.
Yo-yo dieting isn’t good for the body in anyway, so if you’ve been tempted to try out the latest crash diet to lose those extra Christmas pounds, you might want to think again. The health of your hair depends upon it.
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