This Poop Chart Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Fixing Your Gut
By: Spencer Brooks
June 27, 2018
- Paying attention to your poop will help you build a stronger gut, reduce inflammation, keep tabs on your organ function, and absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat.
- Your gut influences everything from your mood to your skin, so balancing your belly’s microbiome will help you look and feel your best.
- Check out the poop chart below to see where your stools fall on the spectrum, then use the following advice to improve your digestion and your health.
One of the best parts of being Bulletproof? Nothing is off-limits when it comes to improving performance. You can lock yourself in a sensory deprivation tank to upgrade your stress response. You can change the way you have sex to supercharge motivation.
And you can analyze poop to improve your performance. It sounds a little out there, but it’s worth your time — paying attention to your stool can help you build a stronger gut, banish inflammation, keep tabs on your organ function, and absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. Because your gut influences everything from your mood to your skin, improving your belly bacteria will help you look and feel your best.
Related: How Gut Bacteria Control Your Mind
There’s so much your poop can tell you about how your body is doing. It’s a fantastic indicator of whether the changes you’re making are moving the needle in the right direction. This ultimate guide to poop, complete with a Bulletproof Poop Chart, will tell you everything you need to know (and maybe some things you didn’t want to know) about your body.
Here are four things to watch for when you poop, what they say about your biology, and how you can use them to boost your performance.
No. 1: Soft, hard, or runny stool?
The first thing to check is your poop’s consistency. You probably do this already – but did you know that the firmness of your poop suggests a wealth of information about your body? Take a look at the Bulletproof Poop Chart.
Basically, if your poop is a 4 or a 5, you’re good. Anything firmer or softer than that means there may be something going on with your biology.
If you’re constipated:
- Drink plenty of water
- Add magnesium to your list of daily supplements. You should take it anyway; most Americans are deficient.
- Eat a plate full of salad greens (or add to smoothies) at every meal to make stools softer and larger.
- Be sure you’re getting enough healthy, high-fat foods, like egg, avocado, or salmon, to help soften stools.
- If that doesn’t do the trick, see a doctor about thyroid tests; you may be under-producing thyroid hormones.
If you’re having frequent diarrhea:
- Eat plenty of fiber-rich veggies (cook them so they’re easier to digest; it won’t affect the fiber content).
- Eliminate grains, seeds, legumes, gluten, and alcohol, which can affect your stomach lining and impact the diversity of your gut bacteria.
- Feed your biome with prebiotic-rich foods like sweet potato, carrots, and asparagus.
- Experiment with fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and (if you tolerate dairy) grass-fed kefir.
- Take activated coconut charcoal away from food to help bind your stool and flush out toxins.
- Take Upgraded collagen to support the mucous membrane lining your gut
- Get your thyroid checked; you may be over-producing thyroid hormones.
Track your poop over time and figure out what brings you to a type 4 or a type 5 in the poop chart above. If it begins to shift in that direction, you’re on the right track, and odds are your beneficial gut bacteria are flourishing.
Listen on Bulletproof Radio: Connecting Your Gut and Your Brain with David Perlmutter
No. 2: Floaters or sinkers?
The next thing to notice is whether your poop floats or sinks. Your stool’s buoyancy is especially useful info when you’re eating a low-carb, high-fat diet like the Bulletproof Diet (get the complete illustrated roadmap for free), because it’s a good test of whether you’re metabolizing and absorbing the fat you eat.
Generally, poop should sink. If your poop is solid and occasionally floats, it could just be that you ate an especially large amount of fiber that day, which isn’t anything to write home about.
But if your poop floats regularly, it could be a sign that you aren’t digesting fat. Watch for:
- Regularly soft, floating poop
- Oil slicks from the poop that coat the toilet bowl (like the grease left in the box when you pick up a piece of pizza. Yeah. That’s gross. Sorry.)
- Mucus in your poop
If your poop is oily once in a while, it could just be that you ate too much fat. If it happens regularly, check your diet.
Did you just switch over to a higher-fat diet? If so, your body can take a couple weeks to start producing enough lipase, the enzyme you need to break down fat. Take lipase and betaine HCl to support your digestion for a week or two, until your body adjusts.
If you haven’t changed anything and your poop starts floating and is oily on a regular basis, visit a functional medicine doctor. If you ever see mucus in your poop, definitely go to a doctor. Mucus and oily stools can be signs of gallbladder trouble, infection, or autoimmune issues.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036413/
No. 3: Why is there food in your poop?
It depends. Food in your poop could be totally normal, especially if it’s vegetable matter. A lot of veggies contain cellulose, which you lack the enzymes to digest. The result is that they come out the same way they go in. The size and consistency depends on how well you chew your food.
Quick side note: most seeds (chia seeds, hemp seeds) have a cellulose covering that prevents you from digesting them, and they’ll come out of you intact. If you’re eating them, be sure you grind them first — otherwise you won’t absorb any of their nutrients. And for the record, there are much better sources of omega-3s than chia or hemp.
A little bit of food in your poop is fine, but if your poop is mostly undigested food, something’s going on. It’s likely that you lack the good gut bacteria that break down fibers. Follow this guide to increasing good gut bacteria, and experiment with prebiotics and fermented foods.
No. 4: What color is your poop?
Color is important, too, and it can vary pretty widely. Here’s a handy reference for different poop colors:
- Brown, yellow, or green poop: The gold standard. Things look good. The difference in colors can depend on what you eat (veggies can make your poop green, for example), and on how much bile you’re producing. Generally, brown, yellow, and green poop is healthy.
- Pale, clay-colored poop: Light gray, clay-like poop suggests a problem with your digestion. Your gallbladder may not be dumping bile and red blood waste into your small intestine, or you may have an issue with your liver. If your poop is regularly pale and gray, get yourself to a doctor.
- Red or black poop: Did you beets recently? If so, don’t worry about red poop. But if you haven’t eaten beets and your poop is red or black, you may have some kind of internal bleeding, like an ulcer, or you could be dealing with IBS (especially if you’re having red diarrhea). Red or black poop can also be a sign of E. coli infection. Again, see a doctor.
Keep an eye on your poop’s color. It says a lot about the state of your digestion.
No. 4: How often do you poop?
The final thing to note about your poop is frequency.
One or two poops a day, on a fairly regular schedule, is a sign that your digestion is strong. Your poops should also generally feel “complete” — that is, like you’ve evacuated everything, and there isn’t more to come out.
Less than three times a week? You’re constipated. Add magnesium, drink lots of water, and get your thyroid checked if things don’t become more regular.
Three or more times a day? Eat more fiber from vegetables. Fiber slows down food passage through your intestines, which gives you more time to absorb precious nutrients. If you’re getting lots of veggies and still pooping three or more times a day, see a doctor. You may have an infection or something blocking your digestive tract (especially if most of your poops feel incomplete).
Poop is a treasure trove of information about what’s going on inside your body. It may seem strange, but taking note of your poop gives you valuable insight into your digestion, organ function, gut bacteria, and more.
Keep an eye on it (or keep a poop journal, if you’re hardcore); it’s a great indicator of how your biohacks are affecting your gut and digestion, and whether you’re moving in the right direction.
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