A leading trichologist has spoken out against faddy diets that are putting our hair health at risk and leading to an increase in hair loss among younger women
With January approaching, the phenomenon of ‘New Year detoxing’ is certain to rear its head again. Juicing is a trend that seems to crops up year after year however, it could be doing our hair a pretty huge disservice as a result.
Research shows that one in three women will experience some kind of hair loss but this stat is on the rise (especially among younger women) due to the increased interest in fad and restrictive diets in recent times. “When juicing was all the rage, my clinics were booked solid,” trichologist Anabel Kingsley told the Daily Mail . “You can set your watch to a woman going on a juicing diet, because six to 12 weeks later she will experience a mass shedding of hair. Crash diets, low-fat regimes and low-carb diets all have similar results.”
Anabel goes on to explain that nutrient deprivation can speed up the life cycle of a healthy hair follicle, meaning that it reaches its shedding phase sooner. Due to hair cells being non-essential tissue too, the hair is the first thing that the body sacrifices in times of stress as it’s the one thing that it can afford to lose. “Energy is first directed to essential systems and organs, with the needs of the hair falling by the wayside,” Anabel tells us. “A deficit is likely to affect the production of hair cells before it affects any other cells in the body.” A diet rich in healthy and nutritious food that covers all of the important food groups is key in preventing the problem in her opinion. In particular, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain toast play a pivotal role. “Hair cells have the second fastest turnover of any cells in the body, making its energy requirements great,” she says. “Complex carbohydrates provide fast and sustained energy to form more.”
Her other advice includes never skipping breakfast or lunch (as hair cells are most active during these times), eating a palm-sized amount of protein in meals due to its role in hair formation, eating red meat twice a week for topping up iron levels, healthy fats for a healthy scalp, getting eight hours sleep a night and keeping stress levels at bay. She also advocates snacking in between meals too: “Energy to form hair cells drops four hours after eating,” she tells us. “So if longer than this is left between meals, you should snack on a healthy carbohydrate such as wholegrain crackers or fresh fruit for example.”
Furthermore, if juicing appeals from a weight loss perspective, it could just wind up being both a waste of time and money. PT Justin Gelband (who’s tasked with training some of the Victoria’s Secret Angels ), saw how counterproductive it can be first-hand. “At Fashion Week, some models went on a juice diet and didn't tell me,” he told Business Insider . “Not one lost weight, some actually gained weight. That got me in big trouble.”
So if you’re tempted to jump on the juicing bandwagon this January, you may want to think again.