Going low carb: "Wonder if my hair will fall out."

Several weeks ago I started really looking into the idea of managing my carb intake. I thought this would help me address the stubborn belly fat I've been dealing with. A co-worker of mine curbed her intake of rice, pasta and the like and experienced some dramatic benefits. I was really excited about embarking on this new journey until another co-worker shared his low carb horror story. Apparently he was in some "Biggest Loser" type contest. Full of excitement about this contest, he went all in and lost a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Unfortunately, he also started losing his hair in the process. Apparently, his hair was coming out in clumps. You can imagine my dismay when I heard of the side effects he experienced.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I find myself sitting at a table eavesdropping on a conversation where a guy is discussing his low carb eating in preparation of a Cross Fit competition. After finding my way into the conversation, I learned that he wasn't just going low carb but was actually following the Paleo diet. That's when he started sharing more about the Paleo way of eating and how it included avoiding rice and grains, not because of the carbs, but because these types of foods weren't part of the natural diet of early man. He went on to tell me that wheat wasn't really good for us to consume.

(my typical breakfast-veggie omelette, avocado, organic leafy greens)

After our conversation, I sought out to learn more. The things I learned, in the days that followed, stunned me. Instead of focusing on a low carb diet, my search lead me to gluten and how I might possibly have gluten sensitivities. Let me first start out by saying that I haven't taken any tests nor have I been diagnosed with gluten intolerances. This is something I'm playing around with in my head based on what I've learned so far. Allow me to list out why I feel that gluten has been a negative influence in my life.

Seborrheic dermatitis
If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I've suffered from seborrheic dermatitis for many years. SB is essentially a skin condition the causes excessive flacking dry itchy scalp. These symptoms can also appear on the face, in the ears and behind the ears of those who suffer from the condition. Thanks to using apple cider vinegar daily as a toner, I've been able to manage the peeling on my face (thank God). My poor scalp has been through so much peeling and flaking. What concerns me most about the SB is that when it gets out of control, it impacts hair growth (especially in my edges). When I treat areas that have major flaking, it never fails, that the hair in that area has thinned out big time. Thinned out edges are "not the business." So of course I'm highly interested in finding something that can actually address the root cause of my dermatitis. Then I stumbled across this article which states as plainly as day, that "the main foods to watch out for in the case of seborrheic dermatitis are wheat (gluten) and dairy. I eat dairy so rarely that I'm almost positive that it's not the main culprit in my case. Wheat, on the other hand, is something I take in on the regular.

Not long ago, I stood in front of the mirror and thought to myself "seriously, I still have acne even though I'm well past my teens and 20's!" How much longer will I have to suffer through these random, embarrassing breakouts? Well I think I may have found my answer. It took no time at all to find resources online that link acne to food intolerances such to wheat, dairy and the like. I think it was this video that sealed the deal for me after watching another video where this woman shared her acne journey and having resolved it after learning that food allergies were the source of her heartache. Additional research only solidified my theory that perhaps my acne is linked to the food I've been eating. I tend to eat dairy with my wheat (on sandwiches) so if dairy is also a root cause eliminating gluten may take care of the dairy issue as well.

Abdominal distention
Do you guys remember my post with pics of Melyssa Ford getting her workout on? In it I mentioned my "lady gut." For as long as I can remember, I've always had this small gut even during the times when I considered my self fit and in shape. Now I'm wondering if my round little belly is a form of abdominal distention which is basically swelling and bloating linked to food intolerances. After reading several accounts of people who were able to have a flat stomach again after removing gluten from their diets, I was more than hopeful about (possibly) looking like Melyssa Ford by summer time. Oh and of course, a diet with minimal to no gluten can also contribute to weight loss overall.

Grey Hair & Hair Growth
I have a few grey hairs. I figured that since most of my other woes could be linked to gluten, could the few greys I've seen popping up also be triggered by my food intolerance? A Google search was conducted on whim and wouldn't you know it, this thread came up where some folks claimed to have their hair color reversed after taking on a gluten free diet. That alone got me excited but what really wet my whistle was finding a couple of other threads where folks were signing the praises of their new found hair growth after removing gluten from their diets. This is attributed to better absorption of nutrients by the body. Folks who are gluten sensitive have difficulties absorbing the nutrients from the food digested because the small intestines are not functioning at 100%. So what about my friend who lost a lot of hair while on Atkins? One theory I read was that because Atkins followers tend to consume extremely low amounts of carbs (around 20 grams per day) which can lead to the person avoiding consuming certain fruits and veggies which provide essential nutrients needed for healthy hair.

I'm not 100% certain if I'll notice any difference in the symptoms above after removing gluten from my diet, but with everything I learned so far, I feel like I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I'm going all in with great optimism because I would be elated if I experienced improvements in my energy levels, my hair, scalp, skin and body. Although my symptoms aren't severe, I would love to see noticeable improvements in each of these areas. I'll keep you all posted as time goes on.


  1. This is a great post, really informative! I've been thinking about going gluten free for some time!

    Drea xo


  2. i work at a gym so i am familiar with all of this & everything you're looking into. just be very observant in the changes in your body and you'll find what works for you. low carb lifestyle works for some, not for others. i personally find the paleo diet to be a load of crap but that's just my personal opinion. good in theory but not in substance, to me. atkins & other low carb diets etc don't really work in the long run because they are too extreme, too low carb, your body needs carbs & cutting out all carbs is nuts & dangerous for your body. now you can replace the carbs with healthy carbs, instead of your chicken & rice have chicken & veggies etc. many fitness competitors & bodybuilders will tell you when they carb cycle for their competitions it's only for a few weeks, anything longer wouldn't be good for the body. many people have gluten allergies but it might also be the way the wheat is processed in the products they're eating. anything processed has crap added to it & you won't realize the effect on your body until you stop eating stuff with added crap to it. can we say high fructose corn syrup people? i digress, lol enriched wheat is not the same as whole wheat or unbromeated or sprouted wheat etc. enriched basically means the wheat was stripped of all it's benefits & then crap was added to it, brown wonder bread isn't a good choice lol. i saw this lady picking it up at the store yesterday & i had to tell her you know that isn't actually a good pick, try this brand instead lol. honestly once you start to read labels & understand what's in some of the things you eat, either stop eating them or find really good alternatives. clean eating is an easy alternative, just saying lol good luck with your health journey

  3. Great post. Many of them face the problem of hair fall. It is becoming more common among youngsters due to pollution, tension etc. We should know food and emotions are inter related in one way or the other.

  4. I have been on the Paleo diet for the past yr and a half and half lost 2 pants sizes as well have see my hair to be healthier and thicker. I also have horrible acne (though I am in my mid 20's). During the past yr, it has definitely improved my skin tone and breakouts. I highly recommend it :) I am currently pregnant and having been sticking to a the diet with the exception of adding carbs in when the baby misses a good burger.
    I dont find it too harsh on my body and your body still gets carbs from fruit, sweet potatoes, and others; you body does just fine. True, not every person is meant for low carb but that doesn't mean we shouldnt be aware of the potential poisons we are putting in our body.

  5. Low carb gives me headaches even after one day. Your body does need carbs because that's what our brain works on and gives us energy. By eating good carbs in moderation and exercising, you can still achieve your weight loss goals. Either way, just watch your energy levels and monitor yourself. You will find out quickly if this diet is for you.

  6. Fantastic post! I never knew that gluten could have so many side effects. It definately is interesting to read about your thoughts on going gluten free and how it might affect your hair. I also suffer from seborrheic dermatitis and I'm always willing to find new information about what might help my flareups. Can't wait to hear how it goes for you if you do decide to cut carbs or gluten!

  7. A friend of mine had gastric bypass or lapband, can't remember which, and lost a ton of weight. After that she went on a low-no carb diet and has been low carb ever since.... her hair is crazy thin now and it used to be thick! We met in middle school and I remember I used to call her Amazon Mama because of how thick her hair was. Now I know things change as we get older but she's only in her late 20's and her head looks like the head of an 70yr old woman with thinning hair... Low-no carb freaks me out thanks to her!

    Side note: I've also discovered that while I'm not gluten intolerant, I do have gluten sensitivities. My stomach get really upset when I eat too much of it.

  8. Great post and as always, very timely! I too have been grappling with whether or not there is a definitive link between low carb/paleo dieting and hair loss. I've been doing low carb/paleo off and on for the last few years. Up until last year, I had never experienced hair loss. However, starting in April last year, my hair has begun to shed at increasingly alarming rates. Despite consulting a hair specialists and trying multiple remedies, my hair has still not regained it's previous health. I'm still unsure about the root cause of the hair loss as there could be multiple factors at play in my case. Not only have a been a low carb dieter, but around the same time I started experiencing hair loss, I moved to London. The water here is extremely hard, and I wonder if that could have also contributed to my hair loss. To compound matters, I was also seeing a Domnican stylist, and as we all know, their technique relies on extreme use of heat, which is also damaging to hair. I have since stopped going to Dominican salons and have installed a water softener in my flat. I have also adopted your hair care advice around retaining moisture and imparting strength through appropriate conditioning regimens and am hoping to reverse the damage over time.

    Sooo, all this to say that I'm very interested in reading anything else you uncover on whether there's a link between low carbing and hair loss. I'd like to be able to continue low carbing because the weight loss results are fantastic, but not if I'll continue to lose my hair at the same time.

    Keep up the great work, love your blog!

  9. Great post! I did Ideal Protein diet for a couple of months, which is low carb and low cal and I did experience hair loss after the second month. So many good vitamins, especially your B vitamins are in whole grains and hair needs B vitamins. I think low carb is basically a good way to go, but don't do extreme diets - I think south beach with the occasional whole carb is good - or a low carb diet that allows berries and nuts is fine - you get lots of good hair vitamins through nuts. My hair loss stopped after 2-3 months eating whole foods again and I am still APL, but it did thin a bit. My new growth is quite thick - have been drinking lots of green smoothies (contain wheat grass) and eating healthy.

  10. Thanks for this post. I will be watching to see what the gluten free life does for you. I'm sometimes torn because I have friends that are vegan and they eat a lot of gluten in their diets. And they are beautiful, healthy people. But of course, every body is different and what works for one does not work for another.

  11. I'm gluten and lactose free for a year now and it has really helped. I think you should also get tested to see for sure if you do have celiac disease and your skin concerns could be sparked from that too. There are some concerns with the Paleo diet and I have lots of nurses and nutritionists that warn that staying away from carbs (such as rice, sweet potatoes, yams, and reg. potatoes) can have detrimental affects since so many nutrients are tied to those. Also, sweet potatoes are basically THE go to food if you want to loose weight since it has so many vitamins and minerals and helps with inflammation. I would suggest looking at some of Dr. Perricone's infomration regarding foods that help with inflammation as the distended belly could be a cause of inflammation as well. Good luck!!

  12. Some great points, my acne has also cleared up since I started a low carb diet. Its worth eating low carb just for that, the weightloss is just a bonus!

  13. Im glad you touched on this topic, I've been trying to find a way to cut down my belly fat. I've heard cardio, yes, I know, but it's not enough. My digestive tract seems to be incompatible with starch, (very bad stomach/digestive distress), but I've heard we need carbs, starchy food like pasta, is full of em right? I agree with you all, I'll just have to find out what works for me and my body. Great Post!

  14. I have severe case of Seborrheic dermatitis. I wash my hair two times a week. I’ve tried every product to cure my symptoms and nothing has helped. I’ve heard gluten free could be the solution to my problem but I’m going to a dermatologist. However, I remember having it a while back and the only thing that cured my symptoms was hot oiling my hair.

  15. I'be tried the low car thing because I was taking a weight loss supplement prescribed to me. The nurse suggested while taking the supplement watch my carbon intake. About a month ago I noticed my edges on the left side of my hair was beginning to thin. I also began to get crazy headaches. I thought maybe it was the hair products I was using, because a 1 1/2 month ago I started my own hair care journey. Then I realized it was this stupid diet. I would rather weigh 169 pounds with all of my hair instead of being at my old weight ( about 1 1/2 year ago) of 150 and hair thin hair.

  16. I can relate to many of the symptoms you posted regarding gluten sensitivities. Right now,y major concern is the SD. I used to have really beautiful skin in my teens and early twenties and starting breaking out with flakes this year on my scalp, which spread to my ears, neck, forehead and nose. Depressing to say the least. I find that it goes away when I mix a pinch of slippery elm powder (from bulk section of local health food store) in all of my drinking water and apply tea tree oil daily. Edgar Cayce believed this was caused by a "leaky gut" meaning that the intestinal walls were thin and toxins were released into the body through these thinned walls.

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