The ketogenic diet, often shortened to keto, has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. It’s a drastic high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that’s designed to put your body into ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbs. But can this diet also cause hair loss? Dr. Richard Goldfarb of the Center for Hair Restoration Philadelphia, a provider of hair loss treatment in Philadelphia, PA, explains.
Diet Changes are Stressful
While the Atkins diet is similar in eliminating carbs, it does so in a much more gradual fashion. Keto has the change happen drastically. This can cause stress, as well as just being a big change for your body to get used to. Telogen Effluvium (TE) occurs when your body is stressed. You’ll notice a big increase in shedding, whether it’s on the pillow when you wake up or in the shower. The bright side is that this type of hair loss is fortunately temporary.
You’re Experiencing a Caloric Deficit
The big thing with a keto diet is that you’re mainly consuming fat, which is very filling. This means that your body is probably getting many fewer calories than it’s used to getting. One of the most common signs of a caloric deficit is your hair falling out. Try to use a calorie counter app on your phone to make sure you’re still getting the number of calories your body needs.
Missing Important Vitamins and Minerals
Another issue with the keto diet is that it’s lacking in some of the key vitamins and minerals that contribute to the health of your hair. When the vitamins that your hair needs to grow are on short supply, they won’t continue to be used for the purpose of hair growth. Your body will divert them to other functions that are more important.
Not Enough Protein
For a keto diet, your calories are supposed to come from 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Keratin, which gives your hair and nails their structure, is a protein. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, like with vitamins and minerals, the protein will be diverted to other bodily processes that are considered more important.