Numerous studies have indicated the negative effect of the Western diet on male pattern hair loss (MPHL); one study even found the Mediterranean diet (which many argue is the opposite of the standard American diet) can help decrease MPLH1.
One common staple in the Western diet? Sugar-sweetened beverages. In the U.S., 49% of adults drink a sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day, according to a 2014 study.
Sugar-sweetened beverages don’t just include soda and soft drinks—juice with added sugar, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet milk, sweet tea, and sugar-packed coffee fall into this category as well.
To further study the potential link between these drinks and hair loss, researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing surveyed 1000 men who drank between one and three liters of sweetened drinks each week.
The results: Those who consumed more than one sweetened drink each day were at a 42% greater risk of experiencing hair loss, compared to those who did not. Researchers specifically identified artificially sweetened nut milk and pure fruit juice as potential risk factors for MPHL.
The study also acknowledged that heightened anxiety may also contribute to accelerated hair loss (something that has been linked to female pattern hair loss as well).
Side note—yes, this study was only done on men, but that’s not to say there is no link between sugar-sweetened beverages and hair loss in women. That research just hasn’t been conducted quite yet (perhaps this calls for a follow-up study?).