Diet Drinks Linked to Hair Loss

A follower of my work recently contacted me through Facebook for help with her unexpected hair loss. I’d like to share her story because I suspect there are many other people experiencing the same problem.  Maria wrote: “I recently lost a lot of weight I had gained over the years. Since November 12th I lost over 150 pounds. I lost also some of my hair… I am just wondering what I can do or take to get my hair thickness back. Your input would be greatly appreciated.”

I had a hunch that Maria’s weight loss was linked to the diet products she used. So, I asked Maria “Can you give me an idea of what your day-to-day diet looks like?” Maria shared that she is using a popular diet program that consisted of 4 shakes a day totaling 1200 calories plus diet soda and no solid food of any kind. After taking a look at the ingredients in her shakes, here’s what I concluded: “I suspect it’s the aspartame. Four shakes a day would mean you’re getting between 244 to 284 mg of aspartame daily, not counting the diet soda, which is an extremely large amount. In a US Food and Drug Administration-based compilation of self-reported side-effects, the artificial sweetener has been linked to many health problems including hair loss.” Incidentally, a quick Internet search reveals many people also report hair loss while using products with aspartame. While the research specifically studying hair loss is limited, The Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Followup Study linked aspartame consumption to other health issues, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science published a study which found an increased cancer risk even with low doses of aspartame.

Aspartame is found in many “diet” products and Maria isn’t the first person to tell me that she’s lost hair while using products containing the synthetic sweetener.  If you’re drinking diet shakes, diet soda, or eating other products containing aspartame, here are a few things you need to know to help you decide whether aspartame-laden diet products are for you:

-During my research for my book 60 Seconds to Slim, I found that the National Institutes of Health had cataloged 167 adverse effects linked to aspartame use. Lynne Melcombe lists these effects in her book Health Hazards of White Sugar, including: anxiety attacks, appetite problems such as binge eating, birth defects, vision problems such as blurred vision, brain tumors, chest pain, depression, dizziness and vertigo, edema, epilepsy and seizures, fatigue, headaches and migraines, hearing loss and tinnitus, heart palpitations, hyperactivity, insomnia, joint pain, memory loss, PMS, psychiatric disorders, reproductive problems, and uterine tumors.

-According to Randall Fitzgerald, author of The Hundred-year Lie, some of the cancers linked to aspartame include brain, liver, lung, kidney, and lymphoreticular cancer.

-According to the authors of the book Hard to Swallow, when a diet drink containing aspartame is stored at 85 degrees Fahrenheit for a week or longer, “There is no aspartame left in the soft drinks, just the components it breaks down into, like formaldehyde, formic acid, and diketopiperazine, a chemical which can cause brain tumors. All of these substances are known to be toxic to humans.”

While Maria lost weight on the diet shakes containing aspartame, it was more likely due to the extreme caloric restriction. Maria agreed that no diet should contain an ingredient that causes hair loss and that has been linked to so many other problems. If you’re suffering from hair loss due to diet shakes, soda, or foods, you may want to reconsider your options. The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy diet with real food and devoid of synthetic ingredients, while increasing your activity levels.


Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZ to determine which detox is best for you.  Check out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox and 60 Seconds to Slim. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites and, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.


Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

The quality of your articles and contents is great. "Auto repair Troy"

Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

The stuff you are writing blows out my mind. "Auto repair Troy"

Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

Great blog you people have maintained there, I totally appreciate the work. Bathroom remodel Sierra Vista

Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

Your blogs and every other content is so entertaining and useful It makes me come back again. Sierra Vista kitchen remodel

Sweetener Council

The reason why aspartame is beneficial for use is because it is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore a very small amount is required to achieve the same level of sweetness without the added calories or change in blood sugar levels, making it ideal for controlling weight and blood sugar.

Although a lot of misunderstanding surrounds the ingredient, aspartame is among the most studied and reviewed ingredient and has been extensively tested, proven safe, and approved by all major regulatory agencies around the world. In addition, leading health organizations including (but not limited to) American Diabetes Association, the National Cancer Institute, and The Obesity Society supporting its use, despite claims of diabetes, carcinogenicity, and weight gain that have been tirelessly tied to the ingredient.

An important fact about aspartame is that its three components (aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol) are naturally found in similar or greater quantities in common foods that are regularly consumed as part of a balanced diet. This includes dairy product, meats, fish, fruits and vegetables. In addition, both aspartic acid and phenylalanine are amino acids (protein) needed for growth and body maintenance. Therefore, whether these three components come from aspartame or from a naturally occurring food source they are broken down, used, and excreted in the body in the same way. Therefore, aspartame poses no toxic risk on the body as it is made up of compone

John G.
John G.2 years ago

Ms Cook, I must begin my comments by indicating to all that aspartame is judged safe by virtually all the world's relevant regulatory authorities. So the arguments against aspartame espoused herein are simply hearsay, completely unsupported by established science.

The fact is that any issue claimed for aspartame is not an issue with aspartame, methanol, formaldehyde or formate; instead they most likely reflect pre-existing personal issues in some people as documented by the findings of Tephly ( starting about 38 years ago (before aspartame). Primates, including people, are often deficient in key vitamins regulating biological methylation. That people were deficient was documented by malformed babies from deficient mothers and was responded to by a US governmental mandate starting in 1998 to fortify grain products like flour with folate. There has been nothing substantiated for aspartame since, but the problems of deficiencies of folate and B12 include many types of cancer and are both well-known and continuing (,, and The "167 adverse effects linked to aspartame use" cited herein is a catchall early account before the vitamin issue was clear; those that a really valid---and 'hair loss is not one of them'---are instead connected with a deficiency of key vitamins folate and/or

Erin H.
Erin H.2 years ago

Interesting article, thank you

Barb Hansen
Ba H.2 years ago

poor post with conflicting theories

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se2 years ago


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)