Carbs are one of our go-to comfort foods, so it breaks our heart to learn they may be messing with the amount of strands on our head. Luckily, we don’t have to say goodbye to all our favorite carby snacks — but it might be a good idea to skip one specific type of carbohydrates that can contribute to hair loss.
Trista Best, a registered dietician, told SheFinds that carbohydrates with high sugar, alcohol, and starch content often cause thinning strands. “In general, carbs can lead to insulin resistance, due to the impact they have on the glucose and insulin response,” she explained. “Insulin resistance is correlated with hair loss.”
When our bodies aren’t able to process insulin properly, blood sugar imbalances hinder our vessels from moving oxygen throughout our body, including our hair follicles. Researchers from Finland found this resistance significantly increased the risk of hair loss in female participants. Insulin resistance and blood sugar regulation are obviously more common issues for those dealing with diabetes, but even a slight imbalance might throw things off track for the rest of us, too.
Best pointed out an especially sneaky culprit at the grocery store: “While many of the foods available on store shelves are made with refined carbohydrates — especially junk food — there is one surprising food you should be avoiding: enriched breads.”
Although this is most commonly associated with regular white bread, it includes any type of food made with enriched white flour. Bagels, pasta, crackers, pizza crust, and cookies all fit into this category.
Best added that even products labeled as “made with whole wheat” can be purposely misleading. “Unless your bread specifically lists ‘whole wheat’ or ‘whole grain’ as the first ingredient, then you’ll want to avoid this,” she advised.
The good news is we can still enjoy bread and other foods made with whole wheat and grains, which are complex carbohydrates less likely to cause pesky insulin resistance issues. You can also check out our list of biotin-rich foods that promote hair growth for more yummy options. Here’s hoping we can all keep our hair strong and healthy by being a little extra careful about what we put on our plates.