Sugar sweetened beverages and risk of male pattern hair loss


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    17 January 2023

Young adults who consume excessive amounts of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are more likely to develop male pattern hair loss, suggests a study from China published in the journal Nutrients.1


This cross-sectional study involving 1028 men, aged 18-45 years, was conducted between January and April 2022. Of these, 592 (57.6%) had male pattern hair loss and 436 (42.4%) had normal hair pattern. The objective was to examine the association between male pattern hair loss and intake of SSBs such as soft drinks, energy and sports drinks, and sweetened fruit juices. Data pertaining to hair status, dietary intake, lifestyle, psychological status including basic demographics was collected via an online survey. The quantity of SSB intake was ascertained through the 15-item Beverage Intake Questionnaire. The weekly consumption of SSBs was estimated as large amounts (>3500 mL), moderate amounts (1500-3500 mL), small amounts (1-1500) and never.


Almost half (44.6%) of the study subjects reported intake of SSBs more than one time during the day; 25.1% consumed SSBs 4–7 times per week, while 18.5% consumed SSBs 1–3 times per week. The average weekly consumption was 4293 mL among participants with male pattern hair loss compared to 2513 mL in the group with normal hair pattern.


Those who consumed SSBs more than 7 times in a week were 3-times more likely to have male pattern hair loss with odds ratio of 3.36. This correlation remained significant even after adjusting for confounders such as age, education status, smoking, alcohol intake, BMI, medical and family history, physical activity and diet.


This study has for the first time shown a significant association between high SSB intake and risk of male pattern hair loss among young Chinese adults. However, being an observational study, it only suggests a link between the two and not causality. Nevertheless, reducing or avoiding intake of SSBs enhances overall health. “Emphasizing that SSB consumption could have a potential negative effect on one’s appearance could catch the attention of the young population and promote a reduction in SSB intake”, note the authors.




  1. Shi X, et al. The association between sugar-sweetened beverages and male pattern hair loss in young men. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 1;15(1):214. doi: 10.3390/nu15010214.

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