Dr. Allen Bezoar, M.D., Internist at The Protein Institute in Newark, NJ has contemplated the nutritional benefits of various foods. But what about the nutritional value of eating hair? “We have all accidentally eaten hair at one time or another. For example, a piece of hair might have been in your soup or salad. And some people have a habit of chewing on their own hair, says Dr. Bezoar.
People may accidentally eat hair, but is it nutritious? Is there truly a benefit? The hair on our heads is exposed to outdoor and indoor environments constantly. Food grade hair would likely need processing to remove dirt, oil, and chemicals.
Dr. Bezoar weighs in. “I will get to the nutrition issue. But the next question is when you accidently ate the hair, how did it taste? There are so many factors that influence how something tastes like the visual appearance and the smell,” explains Dr. Bezoar.
With so many grooming products that go onto hair, there appears to be many factors that would influence the flavor of a hair dish.
Ten years ago, Dr. Bezoar saw a patient who had a hair ball in her stomach. And this patient’s plight stuck with him. “My patient needed an endoscopic procedure to remove the hair ball. I wondered what other methods could be used to prevent this situation, recalls Dr. Bezoar.
“I contemplated how the texture of hair might influence its taste. Nonetheless, I left this thought to consider what happens to hair once we ingest it. I want to develop a way that we can digest hair, so if hair is accidentally ingested, we can get rid of it without a procedure,” says Dr. Bezoar.
Dr. Bezoar is no chef, but food can make us think about hair. There's angel hair pasta, for example. Will consumers ever see a food dish made with actual hair? Dr. Bezoar makes a prediction. “I think we are at least 10 years away from having food dishes made from actual hair. Right now, I just consider these discussions as a series of thought experiments,” says Dr. Bezoar.
Edible hair dishes may be a huge leap. There are so many factors to consider like the taste and texture. But the real key here is will Dr. Bezoar figure a way that humans can digest hair. For now, no one will be ordering gourmet hair dishes for carryout – at least soon.