Food portion sizes in supermarkets and fast food outlets have risen so dramatically since the 1990s that leading scientists have called on consumers to take urgent action to avoid worsening Britain’s obesity epidemic. In doing so, risk to millions of a multitude of conditions ranging from heart disease to hair loss could be averted.
The findings, conducted by top scientists at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, were published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and show how portion sizes of everything from chicken pies to bagels and muffins have rocketed in the past 20 years.
They found that Margherita pizzas had grown from 200g to between 250 and 460g in that time, and that a family pack of salted crisps had swollen by 50 per cent.
Seize control of portion size
Their recommendations include people taking steps to reduce their portion sizes, and they state that simply by reducing the size of your plate or bowl you can easily shave off 159 calories per day. To see significant health benefits, however, they say we should actually adopt portion sizes that are more in tune with the 1950s.
The findings are of note to anyone with an interest in hair loss for multiple reasons, not least because many experts in this field recommend a holistic approach to overall health in order to give the body the best chance of maintaining a healthy head of hair – although this will likely do little to delay the onset of the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness.
Health-related hair loss conditions
Going deeper, the effects of ill health and overeating play a part in wide variety of recognised hair loss conditions.
One of the most widely-reported problems that can arise from obesity is diabetes, which can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. According to Leonora Doclis, senior hair loss specialist at The Belgravia Centre, Diffuse Hair Loss and Telogen Effluvium are two hair loss conditions that can be caused by diabetes.
Additionally, belly fat has been linked to hair loss (a study at the University of Melbourne in conjunction with Kings College London found that when hair grows it activates the growth of fat tissue in the skin), while diet drinks have been linked to baldness, too. Meanwhile Aspartame, used in many sugar-free drinks, has been flagged up by the Food & Drug Administration in America as a possible factor in some cases of hair loss. Proof, perhaps, that healthy drinks mean water, not diet colas.
Extreme exercise and crash dieting
In fact the new BMJ report suggests that regaining control of portion sizes could be the smartest option for anyone who doesn’t want to pile on the pounds. In terms of hair loss at least, other ways to keep weight down may not be so beneficial: a report in India, for example, warned that extreme fitness regimes could lead to hair loss (one expert interviewed at the time said over-exertion could lead to disruption in the normal hair growth cycle), whilst crash dieting has been cited in cases of hair loss, too.
This is due to the condition Telogen Effluvium, which leads to hair loss because of a sudden shock to the body – specifically in this case the rigours of a new diet which requires the body to work harder to burn calories from its fat reserves.
Interestingly, in an American study, many men said that faced with being obese or losing their hair, they would choose obesity. Shrinking your portion sizes, of course, might prevent either problem from ever rearing its head.
When embarking on a new diet and/or exercise regime it may prove helpful to consult your GP and to top up your nutrient intake with a supplement such as Hair Vitalics to ensure your hair is getting the sustenance it needs. If you do experience sudden hair loss or thinning following this new routine, it is worth visiting a specialist for a professional diagnosis. They will be able to explain the cause of your increased shedding and, where necessary, tailor a bespoke hair loss treatment plan to suit your specific needs.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.