If you’ve given up alcohol for dry January, you might not want to replace it with soda. A study just published in Nutrients linked sugary beverages with hair loss in men, even in young men.
The researchers surveyed 1,028 men in China about their hair and beverage habits. These guys ranged in age from 18-45, with an average age of around 28.
Among guys who never consumed sugar-sweetened drinks, about 40 percent had experienced male-pattern hair loss. But nearly 70 percent of men who drank such beverages daily—or one to three liters of soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, juices, or sweetened caffeinated drinks—reported hair loss.
The likelihood of hair loss was also related to the quantity of sweet beverages consumed, with 54 percent of men who consumed a small amount of sugary drinks (1500 mL/week or less) reporting hair loss, compared to 70 percent who consumed a high amount (over 3500 mL/week).
Even just the occasional Frappuccino doesn’t appear to be safe: Men who drank just one to three sugary beverages per week were still more likely to experience hair loss than those who drank none.
Sugary Drinks Aren’t the Only Culprits
It’s not just slurping Big Gulps that seem to put men at risk. Those who consumed fewer vegetables and more sugar and honey, deep-fried foods, and sweets (including ice cream) were also more likely to lose hair.
The study authors suspect sugary drinks increase your blood’s glucose concentration, which gets converted into fructose, reducing the amount of glucose that’s available to your hair follicles. It’s also possible that high sugar intake could cause other health conditions that increase the risk of hair loss.
The next time you want to reach for a soda, Gatorade, or flavored latte, consider a healthier choice like unsweetened coffee, lemon water, or no-sugar-added juice.
And if you want to curb your chances of going bald, you can try adding foods that promote hair health to your diet, like eggs, salmon, tuna, kale, spinach, nuts, and berries.