Can Drinking 1 Soda a Day Really Increase Your Risk of Hair Loss?

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New research suggests that sugary drinks may contribute to the development of male pattern baldness. Kathryn Falls Commercial/Getty Images
  • New research suggests there may be a link between consumption of carbonated drinks and male pattern baldness.
  • Even one soda a day can be a problem, the authors say.
  • However, experts say many factors are involved in hair loss.
  • Whether sugar affects hair loss or not, nutritionists say cutting down on sugar can keep you healthy.

If you’re a man worried about hair loss, the answer might be to stop drinking soda.

A study published January 1, 2023 in the journal Nutrients shows that even one soda a day increases the risk of hair loss.

Anxiety disorders, chronic illnesses, obesity, or the presence of tooth decay may also play a role in the process.

Researchers at Beijing’s Tsinghua University write that while male pattern baldness (MPHL) is on the rise, the age of onset continues to decline. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, from his teens he may have onset in his early twenties. However, by the age of 50, half of white men will have this type of alopecia.

The study authors say MPHL is a progressive, scarless form of hair loss associated with factors such as genetics, anxiety, sleep duration, age, body mass index, medical history, physical activity, and smoking.

Diet is also thought to play a role in its development, most notably the Western diet, which emphasizes the consumption of added sugars. It is considered

Considering that hair loss can be a significant cause of psychological distress and low self-esteem in men, the research team recommended that sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, juices, energy drinks, milk, tea, and coffee should be avoided. We wanted to see if there was an increase. Notice that 63% of adolescents and 49% of adults in the United States drink these beverages daily.

The researchers looked at data collected from 1,028 Chinese men aged 18 to 45 collected between January and April 2022.

The men were asked to provide information about their lifestyle, such as consumption of sugary drinks and any hair loss they may have experienced.

After analyzing the data, the team found a significant association between drinking sugary drinks and hair loss in men. Also, higher consumption levels appeared to further increase this risk.

Susan Massick, Ph.D., an associate professor of dermatology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, urges caution in interpreting what these results mean.

“The study results do not support the misleading conclusion that sugary drinks increase the risk of male pattern baldness,” she said, noting limitations in the study’s design.

“Diet plays an important role in overall health, especially with respect to the risk of developing obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and hypertension. But male pattern baldness is multifactorial. We have not proven causality that indulgence induces male-patterned thinness.”

The authors of the study also acknowledged this point, and additional research is needed to confirm a direct relationship between sugary drinks and hair loss.

At this point, there is only statistical association between these two variables. It’s not clear if one is causing the other.

Massick explained that the primary goal in dealing with MPHL should be a holistic approach to treatment.

“Male pattern baldness can be treated, but timing and early intervention are key,” she said.

One key step is to seek out a board-certified dermatologist and start treatment early, says Massick. Medications such as topical minoxidil and oral finasteride can help protect hair before it loses a significant amount.

Massick also points out that taking care of your physical health is an important step.

“We will undo anything that is reversible and focus on preventative care and therapeutic management of potential medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions and malnutrition,” she said.

She also advises men to quit smoking and eat a balanced diet.

It’s still unclear what role reducing sugar consumption might play in preventing hair loss, but Shereen Jegtvig, who teaches nutrition at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, explains how much sugar you eat and how much you eat. shows that reducing is an important part of being healthy.

Cutting out empty calories, such as sugar-sweetened soft drinks and energy drinks, which have little or no nutritional value, can improve your health in several ways, she said.

“This helps men reach and maintain a healthy weight. Reducing sugar is better for teeth and can lower the risk of tooth decay in young men. It can also reduce acne attacks.” Young men may not think much of it now, but cutting back on sugar can reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life.

Jegtvig added that one way to reduce sugar intake is to replace sugary sodas and energy drinks with zero-calorie versions or water.

“Vegetable juice is another good nutritious option,” says Jegtvig.

Jegtvig also advised that instead of snacking on candy and cookies, you can eat whole fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and rich in nutrients.

You can also make a trail mix with nuts, granola, or dried fruit.

“Many processed foods also have added sugar,” she concluded.

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