A crash diet is a process during which a person changes his or her eating habits in order to deprive and starve the body. Losing as much weight as possible in the shortest period of time is usually the goal. In addition to cutting calories, those on crash diets often take up a rigorous workout regimen.
They sometimes combine those activities with sleep deprivation and diet supplements. These sudden disturbances to the body provide a shortage of essential nutrients. A decrease in energy, which is needed to function and thrive, leads to both mental and physical exhaustion. These nutritional deficiencies can cause a plethora of health issues, including nonhereditary hair loss.
Hair Growth Process
The shaft is the nonliving, visible part of the hair. The living part of each individual hair is called the root. Each root is below the skin and sits in a small pocket known as a follicle. The follicle is responsible for providing a nutrient-rich blood supply to the root. The follicle also contains an oil gland which keeps the scalp and shaft moist.
Hair’s growth cycle includes a prolonged growing phase that often lasts about three years. During this time, hair grows at a rate of ¼ to ½ inch per month. It is followed by a much shorter resting phase that generally lasts approximately three months. At the end of the growth cycle, the old hair falls out and is replaced by new, healthy hair. Not all the hair on the scalp falls out at once; during normal growth, only about 10% of scalp hair is in the resting phase at any given moment.
Deficiencies and Hair Loss
Going on a crash diet impacts each phase of the hair growth process. Lack of nutrients may slow the rate of growth. Nutritional deficiencies may also prevent new hair from forming. This leaves no new hair to replace the old at the end of the resting phase. Several nutrients are needed to keep hair healthy. A lack of protein and iron especially can cause major hair loss.
To stay supple and protected, hair needs certain oils. The body uses a combination of fat and water to create these oils. Without the necessary fat, skin and hair dry out and become prone to breakage. These broken hairs might not grow back if the follicles have been compromised by poor nutrition.
Crash diets severely limit the amount of energy a person has. Energy is needed to ensure all systems of the body function properly. When there are deficiencies, the brain is forced to shut down nonessential processes in order to conserve as much energy as possible. Hair growth and oil production are not considered essential. This is especially true when other life-preserving processes are barely able to function.
Instead of dramatically cutting calories in order to drop weight quickly, those looking to lose pounds should begin exercising regularly and eating a sensible diet. Your luscious locks will thank you!