Weight loss, fitness trends and healthy diets are the biggest buzz of this decade. Apart from the Ayurvedic concept of ‘intermittent fasting’ and ‘detox diets’, it’s the keto diet that has roared loud. But one question circling the Keto diet is ‘Does Keto cause Hair Loss?‘
Though proven effective in weight loss, the keto diet has its own pitfalls. From deadly to bizarre, the side effects are remarkable. Some complain of keto flu, some smelly crotch but the most common one has to be keto hair loss.
Considering the popularity of this diet plan, I have curated this blog for all the health enthusiasts who are willing to give it a try. Knowing the do’s and don’ts before trying keto would make a world of difference.
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The keto diet
Keto was a diet plan devised for people suffering from epileptic seizures. But it has become widely popular for its weight loss benefits. This low-carb, adequate-protein,high-fat diet is specifically designed to induce the process of ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic process in which the body burns stored fats because of a deficit of glucose for energy. Ketogenic diets are not starvation diets. But they induce similar metabolic changes, in particular rapid fat loss.
In this process, the body starts using fat, instead of carbohydrates, for fuel. And several aspects of this process can trigger hair loss.
Does Keto cause Hair Loss?
Keto diet is a very aggressive weight loss plan. A clinical study of 7 participants revealed that people following the keto diet lost more than 25% of their initial body weight. No doubt the results are astounding but any abrupt change in the diet came with its own consequences.
Ayurveda describes a balanced and disciplined life as the secret to a fit body.
Dropping so much of weight at once is definitely not the definition of fitness. To lose so much weight the food intake must be extremely low compared to the regular diet. Plus, the constant hunger is a big stressor.
All these things lead to several side effects. And hair loss is the most common problem encountered in a keto diet.
3 Reasons for Keto Hair Loss
1. Nutrition deficiency
Keto diet limits the intake of carbohydrates. This means many high carb fruits and veggies are off the table. This also limits the supply of essential nutrients like sodium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and iodine.
The body needs key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and nutrients for functioning. Hair is no different. Hair too needs specific nutrients for healthy hair growth. A deficiency of amino acids and micronutrients is responsible for thinning, hair fall and slow hair growth.
2. Scarcity of calories
In a keto diet, the nutrition intake is very less. It leads to a drastic drop in calories. The body responds to this calorie cut by directing the energy available to the most important functions. Whatever energy is generated goes for cell growth and the functioning of vital organs. As such very less energy is spared for non-vital processes like hair growth.
3. Hunger Stress
The keto diet causes major dietary transitions which result in high stress. The nutritional deficiencies, caloric deficits, psychological effects result in an outburst of stress. The keto stress often results in –
- Alopecia Areata – Sudden loss of large clumps of hair around the scalp.
- Telogen Effluvium – A condition that causes hair-fall out.
- Trichotillomania – Person pulls their hair without realizing out of stress.
Telogen effluvium is the most common hair condition triggered by the ketogenic diet. It can cause hair loss of as much as 30-50%.
So, it’s very important to keep stress to a minimum during the keto diet. Though most of the time, the hair fall condition is temporary. But when compared with other hair conditions, hair fall can be permanent.
How to strike the balance?
1. Get enough sleep
Sleep is one of the best natural stress-buster. Sleep is the rest when the body repairs itself. Lack of sleep affects the secretion of endocrine hormones that raises the stress levels and causes hair loss.
2. Contain your stress
Heightened stress is a known contributor to hair loss. Stress also affects sleep quality and other metabolic functions of the body. De-stressing every day is very crucial to maintaining healthy hair.
3. Coconut Oil massage
Ayurveda hails the use of coconut oil for hair massage. It improves blood circulation in the scalp, boosts hair growth, prevents infection and curbs hair fall. Coconut oil is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin K, vitamin E and iron.
Does Keto cause Hair Loss? The Final Verdict!
Though the Ketogenic diet is not recommended in the Ayurvedic lifestyle, the choice of diet is a personal choice. It is an effective for weight loss but does not guarantee healthy weight loss. That means along with the weight loss comes some severe side effects of Keto Diet.
Keto hair loss is a common concern. However, apart from that it can also cause severe and complex health issues like diabetes and heart diseases. So, it is duly advised to follow a balanced diet rather than such fad diets.
Going on a food deficiency routine is an extreme step. And if the body is healthy and you feel energized then there is no need to follow such erratic routines. A balanced diet along with weight training is enough to look fit and beautiful.
However, if you still want to try Keto Diet, then please consult a professional nutritionist before doing so. As catering to your personal nutritional requirements is very essential for a healthy disease-free body!