Health

Here's How Much Weight You Can Lose Pooping

Published On 12/07/2016 Published On 12/07/2016
weight pooping
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Have you ever weighed yourself before and then after taking a dump?

Of course you have! Who hasn't? The best part is seeing the scale budge in your favor after dropping the kids off at the pool.

So it stands to reason that if you could poop more, you'd lose weight, right? Same for farting -- gas has mass, after all. Could pooping and farting be legit weight-loss secrets, or is it all just a lot of hot air?

How much your poop weighs

To find out how much our stool adds to the scale, researchers (serious poop researchers do exist, folks) collected samples from people living in 12 different countries to get a comprehensive overview.

They discovered that poop weighs between 2.5oz and 1lb, on average.

Unsurprisingly, Westernized populations have the lowest poop weights, thanks to a severe lack of fiber that comes with a fast-food diet. Western samples only averaged between 3-4oz, which isn't nearly enough to make a difference in your skinny jeans.

How much do farts weigh? And how do you even weigh farts?

Very, very carefully. Gastroenterologists in England tried to determine a fart's weight by giving study participants 200g of baked beans in addition to their normal diet. Even scientists know beans are a magical fruit. To measure the toots these beans are known for, they used rectal catheters over the course of 24 hours, which raises serious concerns about the mental stability of the participants.

Despite the method, the data collected may surprise you more.

Scientists learned that the farts weighed between 16-50oz per day. That's right: You’re holding as much gas in your system as a small Sweetums soda. And in case you're wondering (you're obviously wondering), "Women and men expelled equivalent amounts," according to science.

Can you lose weight by pooping and farting more?

Now that you know how much poops and farts weigh, is it possible to incorporate this info into your New Year's resolution? Adina Pearson, RDN, says, "Yes, if you weighed yourself before and after a bowel movement, you would weigh less after." Unfortunately, she also says you won't "be slimmer or have less mass on your visible body."

So what happens if you try to poop more?

Pearson points out that while upping your water and fiber intake increases your bowel movements and ensures healthy digestion, naturally expelling more poo doesn't guarantee that you’ll be shedding extra pounds.

Pooping to lose weight is actually a really bad idea

Of course, there are those out there who see "poop can weigh a pound" and will try to up their poop game by taking laxatives. Bad idea. Robert Herbst, an 18-time world-champion powerlifter and one of the drug-testing supervisors at the Rio Olympics, says laxative-driven weight loss happens even at the highest levels of sport, and it isn't pretty.

Herbst confirms that dropping a deuce will in fact budge the number on the scale, though it won't alter your body composition or muscle percentage, saying, "One pound in does not guarantee one [pound] out," because food is metabolized differently. Certain foods are absorbed more efficiently, while others pass right through (looking at you, corn).

So while a pound of lettuce may work its way out to the porcelain water slide, a pound of pie will most likely stick to your thighs. Pooping isn't a total elimination of all the calories you eat, since that wouldn't make any sense. Your body needs energy, so it's not going to shit it all out.

On top of that, Herbst's experience monitoring weigh-ins taught him that no one's going to see Biggest Loser-type results. He says you may see a 5lb drop (if that), depending on how much you currently weigh. If you're a big dude, you're going to expel more in weight and volume because you're already eating more.

The majority of people will only be able to look forward to a mere 1-2lb difference (at most) if you're an active person. Those losses aren’t worth canceling your gym membership, and in extreme cases, excessive laxative use can lead to all sorts of nasty medical complications.

So does this mean pooping all the time won't help me lose weight?

Sadly, that's exactly what it means. Laxatives, pooping, and farting won't help you lose enough weight to show off a sexy before-and-after picture transformation on Instagram.

Sure, you'll notice less bloating and a few pounds missing from the scale, but these losses probably won't stick around any longer than the corn you just ate.

There's no lazy way around losing weight; focus on eating a balanced diet and get your ass exercising a few times a week. Boring advice is sometimes the best advice, though no one's stopping you from claiming your disgusting gas is your favored strategy for losing weight.

Though Herbst acknowledges that laxatives will definitely help you clean out what's in your digestive tract, they're not a solid long-term option. In short, don't use laxatives to lose weight.

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Devan Ciccarelli is a writer and marketing specialist who always appreciates a courtesy flush. To keep this sh!t train going, follow her on Twitter @DevanCiccarelli.

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