Thursday, September 15, 2005

Low-Carb Weight Loss Makes You Go Bald?

Could livin' la vida low-carb do THIS to YOU?

The effect of dieting on the body is the subject of this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story about hair loss associated with losing weight.

Describing this phenomena as the "little-talked-about secret of the dieting industry," the story said anyone who has been successful at ridding themselves of excessive pounds may also shed some extra pounds from their head in the form of thinning hair, sometimes as much as a 30 percent increase in shedding hair. Dermatologists blame it on "fad diets," and wouldn't you know they would zoom in on one in particular that they think is the worst of the worst -- low-carb!

One woman in the story said she lost nine pounds on the Atkins diet and said it was the "only major change" in her life at the time which made her thick hair become thin. The story blames a nutrional deficiency on the hair loss, including the lack of zinc, magnesium, protein, essential fatty acids and vitamins D, B and A.

Why are these nutrients lacking? They are easily found in many of the delicious low-carb foods and/or supplementation that you can take to keep your body as vibrant and healthy as it can be. That is why I devote an entire chapter on the subject of vitamins in my upcoming book. There is no shame in taking supplements to give you the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to work well. Even if all you take is a multivitamin, then you'll be doing your body a great service. And you probably should stock up on them now if this group gets their way.

A dermatology researcher in the story claims this isn't meant to discourage people from losing weight, but rather to avoid the "fad, quick-reduction diets" which she says lacks nutrition, stresses the body because of the fast weight loss, and damages your metabolism all of which cause hair loss. The researcher puts livin' la vida low-carb among that category of weight loss methods.

This blame game that a person's change in diet causes hair loss is a pretty lame excuse for abandoning weight loss attempts if you ask me. While I'm sure it has happened to some people who decide to lose weight, stories like this only deter people and give them an excuse for not doing something about their obesity. "But I'll lose my hair if I do low-carb," they'll say. Well, I'm gonna lose MY hair from pulling it out over such asinine excuses as this for not losing weight.

The researcher added that the "best weight-loss plans" include (SURPRISE!) low-calorie diets that calls for slow weight loss eating healthy foods from across all the major food groups. She said eating high-protein diets can also make you lose your hair. The hair loss is generally seen after someone loses about 20 pounds in a short time, she added.

"We see it all the time. If you start eating only one thing and you're not well balanced, you get into trouble."

Well anybody could have told you that not eating a wide variety of foods is not good for you. That's why I just love the low-carb lifestyle. It provides a healthy balance of fat, protein, and, yes, believe it or not, CARBOHYDRATES (gasp! But I thought we didn't eat these foreign objects anymore! LOL!). The argument that doing the Atkins diet or any other low-carb program caused someone to lose their hair is mindless lunacy from a group of people who vehemently oppose this way of eating.

Interestingly, Atkins addresses this issue of hair loss and states that diets low in calories are the ones scientifically most likely to make this happen while the Atkins diet is the least likely because it provides adequate daily caloric intake.

The story concludes that people should go back to eating a "balanced diet" (whatever the heck that means!) in order for their hair to grow back after losing weight. The dermatologists in the story also say to take vitamins to give your body the iron it needs, but should lose weight very slowly. They even warn weight loss surgery patients to talk with their doctor about hair loss resulting from the rapid weight loss they will see. I wonder what my fellow blogger and WLS friend Melting Mama's Beth Badore has to say about that.

When you read a story like this that especially zeroes in on the low-carb lifestyle as the culprit in an undesirable physical change in your appearance, it certainly does not make you want to get out there and be gung ho about losing weight does it? While I don't believe in conspiracy theories, sometimes I wonder about the motive behind "news" stories like this that will undoubtedly discourage many people who would otherwise have finally done something about their weight from even trying now. That is such a shame.

Weight loss should not be completely abandoned if that is something you need to do to improve your health. The risk you are putting your body in by carrying around all those extra pounds is a lot worse than the very rare chance that you could lose your hair. Here's a thought provoking question for you: would you rather be a balding, thin person who lives a long and healthy life or a fat person with failing health on a one-way ticket to the grave? The choice is yours.


Blogger Melting Mama said...

After many months, the hair ceased to fall out... but it's never going to be "the same" I've decided.... ::sigh::


9/16/2005 7:56 PM  

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