One of the fastest ways to lose weight, the keto diet has taken the world by storm with even celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian swearing by it.
Keto diet is one of the most effective ways not just with losing weight but also minimizing inflammation and having balanced blood sugar levels. But while it’s effective for many people, some suffer from side effects.
We commonly hear about keto flu and “keto crotch” being a downside of the diet among some.
But here’s a bizarre but apparently real one – hair loss.
Why do people lose hair during a keto diet?
For starters, it has something to do with what you don’t eat during keto. According to dermatologists, diet plays a big role in growing healthy, luscious hair.
Instyle Magazine interviewed Dr. Francesca Fusco from the Wexler Dermatology in New York, who said: 
Hair is composed of keratin, which is made up of protein, so adequate protein intake is necessary [to keep it healthy]. The scalp is where the hair follicles reside, and they need to be nourished by the oil glands and rich circulation to support healthy hair.
You may wonder – if keto is a diet rich in protein, then how does it cause hair to fall out?
The answer lies in the lack of other nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and oils when going through keto diet, which focuses on fats and proteins. Cutting back on other food groups may also cut access to nutrients from other food groups.
According to nutrition coach Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD: 
Micronutrients found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other carbohydrates (which are cut out or limited to very small amounts in the keto diet) are essential for healthy hair. If you're falling short, it could affect hair health and hair growth.
You may not be getting enough protein and biotin
Biotin (or Vitamin H) plays a big role in growing thick and luscious hair. When you’re on the keto diet, you may not be getting enough of it, hence the hair loss.
According to one study done on mice, a diet rich in fat but low in carb (such as the keto diet) caused “exaggerated” biotin deficiency in mice.  No similar study has been done yet on humans.
Likewise, lack of protein intake may be causing your beautiful mane to shed. Because keto is a moderate protein intake and high fat consumption, some dieters tend to under-consume their protein dose.
In fact, a study found that protein underconsumption is one of two main nutrient deficiencies causing hair loss (the other one being a lack in calorie). 
But stress may be causing it too
While there are no studies yet linking lack of nutrients in keto diet to hair loss, experts believe that it’s more about the stress of suddenly not having the vitamins and minerals your body used to have pre-keto.
It could be a shock to the system to transition from a carb-filled diet, to one that restricts it to fat and proteins.
According to nutritionist Keri Gans, RDN in a Health.com interview: 
“The keto diet may put stress on a person in more ways than you might actually be thinking. It’s a diet of restriction. That takes effort and could be causing stress.”
And some people find not being to eat as many foods as they’d like while measuring their ketos too stressful. Mixed with other potential side effects like brain fog, fatigue and irritability causing some mental strain on them.
Read: Here’s how to prevent brain fog
What to do when you have hair loss during the keto diet
To counteract the effects keto diet has on your hair, the best way is to start introducing a bit of carbohydrate, especially vitamins and minerals that help your hair grow beautifully.
If not carbs, at least focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals essential for hair growth. They may include:
- Red meat and chickpeas for zinc, which aids in keratin formation
- Potatoes and carrots for vitamin A, so your hair produces more oil
- Oranges and papaya for vitamin C, to avoid hair breakage
- Red meat and beans for iron, for stronger, more beautiful hair
But if you’re steadfast in your keto diet, the best way is to take a supplement that addresses hair loss, like VALI Hair Strong.
When should you start to consult a doctor
Shedding and hair loss shouldn’t last. Usually, it’s just a setback in your keto diet, which lasts for a few weeks and normally starting three to six months after the diet began. 
Then if you leave it be, it’ll grow back just as thick as before.
But if hair loss persists or worse, you start seeing bald patches on your head, then go see a doctor.
To learn more about why keto diet may cause hair loss and how to remedy it, watch this video: