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Can Drinking Sugary Drinks Cause Hair Loss?

Note: Medically Reviewed by Bosley Medical Group

Hey, none of us drink a can of coke for the health benefits. According to the CDC1, frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney diseases, liver disease, cavities, and even gout.

But now… we may need to add “male pattern hair loss” to that list.

A recent study suggests that your favorite soft drinks, sugary juices, and energy drinks might be affecting your hairline – and not for the better.

Learn what a recent Beijing study2 may have discovered about sugary drinks and hair loss.

Sugary Drinks and Hair Loss: The Study

Now, we know you’re not pouring sugary drinks on your head – but can drinking sugary drinks cause hair loss? A new study from Tsinghua University in Beijing titled “The Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Male Pattern Hair Loss in Young Men”2 reported a link between drinking sugary drinks and male pattern hair loss.

Taking place in early 2022, a group of over 1000 young people aged 18-45 across China were surveyed about their hair loss and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. A team of researchers then compared their responses, controlling for factors such as sociodemographic, dietary intake, lifestyle, and psychological factors.

The study found a correlation between high sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and a higher risk of male pattern hair loss, but also acknowledged that further research is required to substantiate the findings.

The researchers hypothesized that the observed association may have to do with polyol pathways, which may be triggered by high sugar intake and lead to hair loss.

So, do sugary drinks cause hair loss?

Drinking Sugary Drink

Sugary soda being the cause of your hair loss may sound like a bald-faced lie – and, well, it’s definitely not the whole truth. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors which may include genetics, anxiety, sleep time, age, BMI, disease history, physical activities, smoking, and dietary intake3 beyond sugary drink consumption.

But this study doesn’t prove or even suggest that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages causes the risk of male pattern hair loss – all it found was an association. It’s not clear whether drinking sugar-sweetened beverages causes hair loss, hair loss causes drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, something else causes both, or the connection between the two is totally random.

In other words, drinking a Sprite shouldn’t make your hair fall out. Further research is required to find out if this link was a coincidence, or evidence of getting one step closer to answering that burning question, Why am I losing my hair?!”

But one thing’s for sure – swapping out a Red Bull for a glass of water wouldn’t hurt.

If you need help or want to learn more about hair loss solutions, schedule a free consultation here and speak with a Bosley Hair Specialist.

[1] CDC (2022) Get the Facts: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Consumption. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.
[2] Shi, Xiaojin et al. (2023) The Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Male Pattern Hair Loss in Young Men. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.
[3] Sadgrove, Nicholas John (2021) The ‘bald’ phenotype (androgenetic alopecia) is caused by the high glycaemic, high cholesterol and low mineral ‘western diet’. Accessed 16 Nov. 2023.

What to do next?

To learn more about your hair restoration options and the average hair transplant timeline, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. If you’re ready to do something about that bald spot or thinning hair now, schedule a FREE in-person or video consultation with a trained Bosley hair restoration specialist. Together with a Bosley Physician, we can help you find out what’s causing your balding and what treatment solution is right for you.

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