Can a new diet cause hair to fall out? (Can a new diet cause hair to change texture?)

Fit girl in a pony tail

There are many reasons why hair can fall out and change texture, from a new diet, an autoimmune condition, stress, to malnutrition.

My hair has been thick my whole life. On a recent visit to my hairdresser, she asked, “Why is your hair so thin? Did you go on Medifast?” I replied, “No, I went vegan four weeks ago. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, just two pounds.” She put her hands through my hair, lifting up different sections, and said, “This doesn’t even feel like your hair. Look, this is where a chunk of your hair fell out.”

She pointed to an entire row of hairs by my forehead. “But it’s growing back.” She said. The hairs were thin and flyaway. She went on to say that when a person makes a drastic change in their diet, it’s common for hair to fall out, because it’s a form of trauma. She said she sees the worst cases when people go on a Medifast diet, and when their hair grows back, it’s completely different than before.

Hair loss can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency so make sure to eat most of your calories from fruit and vegetables, which contain all the nutrients you need.

It’s not just Medifast, or a new diet that can cause hair loss. “Without adequate fat, women may stop menstruating and hair may turn dull and lifeless and fall out (1)” but that’s only true if a person is eating too few calories since we only need a small amount of fat and only 5% of our calories from protein.

With the Coronavirus pandemic, lots of people have been under a lot of stress, and stress can cause hair loss.

I later found out that my hair loss was caused by an autoimmune condition called Raynaud’s, which reduces blood flow to the hands, feet and head. If you start losing your hair, contact your doctor, it could be a medical issue that needs immediate attention.

Photo: This photo was before my hair started thinning. It’s half as thick as it was then!

Add’l sources:

  1. Perkins, Sharon. “Medifast Diet Dangers.” Livestrong. Blog.

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