Let's talk about.... Poop!

by (808) Updated August 18, 2013 at 8:32 PM Created February 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM

The vegetarians and vegans say you need to poop as many times in a day as you eat - 3 times a day!

Anyone pooping like that on paleo?

What does "regular" look like on a paleo diet? Does anyone suffer from constipation?

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20 Replies

2143 · June 05, 2010 at 1:58 AM

It's always in the morning when I first get up and settle on the pot for that enormous wake-up pee (I'm a dude) and even then I never know if I'm gonna poop or not til I've been there awhile. I crap maybe 3-4 times a week, if that, and it's usually a mild grunt, a giant log, a big splash (man I hate that ice-cold splash-back right up the chute) then it's over with no, uh, residue. My use of toilet paper has declined tremendously. Very little odor, too.

On the SAD I'd range from painful little nuggets to sticky Oh-God-I've-wiped-27-times-and it's-still-smeary mush to crampy spraying liquid, all horribly smelly and nothing well-formed and effortless. I think I've had diarrhea once in the past six months compared to at least 6-7-8 times a month before and that one time was probably due more to drinking too much the night before than anything else. I'd take a psyllium cocktail once a day because I thought I was supposed to; it made for impressive poops sometimes but others it'd go through me in a few hours. That doesn't sound healthy.

The poop-scolds will have you believe that your colon is a maze of poop-trapping crevices and folds crusted with impacted crap; I've had two colonoscopies without sedation (I had to drive myself both times) and watched the scope on video, and after the cruelly-misnamed "Go Lytely" violent purge (they really ought to include a seat belt for your toilet) the night before there is no chance of anything sticking to anything as the lining of a healthy colon is slimy mucus, shiny pink, and smooth. The dump-a-lot kooks really don't understand basic anatomy and have read too much about Kellogg and his poop fetish.

Oh, and my pseudo-scientific response is that I'm eating food that has a very high digestibility factor vs. the barely-nutritious twigs, burrs, and thistles favored by the poop-scolds, which when assimilated leaves very little residue to grunt out. So, I win.

55320 · February 23, 2010 at 2:52 PM

I'm certainly glad I don't! The reason we don't is not because meat is putrefying in our colon as the veggies would have you believe. It's simply because we have less waste! We can turn most of the meat we eat into energy. Veggies eat a lot of things that are simply indigestible. I'm quite happy to say I am regular, but only need to go once a day.

IMHO constipation is more about poor gut flora and health than fiber and while fiber can push things out, it's not a good solution for long term gut healing. If you gut is truly healthy, you won't need fiber for regularity. Inuits certainly go without fiber.

Eades wrote a good post about this subject http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/fiber/a-cautionary-tale-of-mucus-fore-and-aft/

As an addendum, I realize I forgot to mention that I do eat lots of fermented food. Cordain says it's not paleo, but our ancestral environment and food was rich in microbes compared to our current sterile environment. Fermented foods help replenish and sustain the health of the microbes that move digestion along. The best paleo ferments are water kefir and lacto-fermented REAL pickles/sauerkraut. You can also take a commercial probiotic supplement. I used Jarrodophilus for a long time....make sure the one you buy is refrigerated, the dry ones are fairly useless.

5916 · February 24, 2010 at 1:57 PM

David Gorski gave a great overview of some of the silliness of the colon cleansing crowd over at the Science-Based Medicine blog.

Colon “cleanses”: A load of you know what… http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=88


"The first silly part, of course, is the claim that you must eliminate “approximately the same amount that you are eating.” Why on earth would anyone think that that must be true? After all, what happens to the part of the food that we actually use for energy? It’s digested into its component sugars, fats, and amino acids and absorbed. The second silly part is those evil unnamed “toxins” again, the ones that are, according to the “detoxifiers,” the cause of basically all disease. They’re probably unnamed because it excuses these sellers of colon cleansing and “detoxifying” products from having to provideany actual evidence for their claims."

2117 · February 23, 2010 at 6:44 PM

If you change what goes in, it's going to change what comes out.

I don't think there's much value in overanalyzing this if you aren't encountering specific medical problems. As far as I understand it, the whole notion that food festering in the colon causes colon cancer has been somewhat discounted by the science. Fiber helps to make you more regular but doesn't appear to have any clear health benefits beyond that. See this study for an analysis of the research on fiber and colon cancer.

Are you experiencing pain or discomfort when you try to go? Are you finding you have to make emergency runs to the bathroom at inconvenient times? If the answer to both of these questions is no, then don't worry about it and let your body do what your body wants to do. If the answer is yes, it might be worth trying to get more fiber in your diet.

15261 · May 31, 2011 at 2:53 PM

It's amazing the stuff we talk about here with strangers. And this thread is one of the most viewed on the site!

What got me going on the Paleo diet about 6 weeks ago was seeking a cure for constant diarrhea. I was having it nearly every day, then for a couple of weeks it was after every single meal. Like I would eat, and like clockwork about 45 minutes later I'd have to go. It even happened when I had a big glass of water, like my digestive system was just a hose that everything passed through.

Obviously something was wrong, but I felt sure that if I went to the doctor, he'd send me to the lab (stool samples when you have diarrhea are always fun) then prescribe weeks of antibiotics without checking anything else, and maybe after a while of that, do the jelly finger routine (even more fun). This is what happened when I had persistent traveler's diarrhea a few years ago. Rather than subject myself to that, I thought I'd try to "hack" it first.

I started with probiotic foods, including yogurt, kombucha, and home made fermented foods (per Nourishing Traditions recipes). I got to like the kombucha but I don't think it helped at all. Danon Activia is really sweet but definitely has some kind of extra stuff that helped somewhat (diarrhea every day or two instead of multiple times per day). One of the best things was drinking the liquid from fermented ginger carrots. That settled my stomach immediately and for about 12 hours.

All of this definitely helped but not as much as I would have liked, and I eventually stumbled across PaleoHacks.com and started to read the testimonials and thought I'd try it. So I up and went strict Paleo, and literally 3 days later I was as regular as a clock. First thing in the morning I head to the john, have a brief, solid, satisfying poop, and that is usually it until almost exactly 24 hours later. And I was pleased and surprised to find that this was only one of many health benefits I got from the diet.

I ate a pretty low-grain low-carb diet to begin with, so going from there to Paleo was not much of a change in diet, but the results were dramatic, which has made me wonder a bit. I have never thought that I was gluten intolerant -- I knew that grains weren't great for me but didn't think it was that serious, but now I wonder. And now when I cheat and have some wheat bread or crackers, I go right back to the previous pooping routine for about 1-2 days.

15831 · June 04, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Im all paleo. No dairy these days. Once a day movement. Always within 1 or 1.5 hours of waking in the morning. I always eat about 2 hours before bed and sleep at least 8 hours though so that may clue you in to timing. I eat a good amount of veg in my own paleostyle. High sat fat, moderate protein, moderate to high veg in take. That keeps me very regular. I will note though that when i was lacto-paleo and had about 75% raw dairy and 25% pastuerized dairy in addition to all the above i was also regular, in the same manner.

SO, in the end, once a day always for me.

ps: actually occasionally ill have a second movement in the later afternoon, but thats pretty much always on a day after a day in which i had extra helpings of guacamole or gone out beer-drinking:) -ben

349 · February 23, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Let me start with a disclaimer, I'm basically carnivorous. I consume VERY little carbohydrate and what I do consume comes by way of Greek-style yogurt.

I'd love to report that I'm feeling FINE and DANDY in the bowel movement department since switching to Paleo but I'd be lying if I did. In fact, it's one of two areas that have gone down hill since the switch - the second being my energy levels while powerlifting, and this has improved with time.

I was always a VERY regular guy. I would go twice/day and it was a satisfying experience every time. Since the switch my stomach often feels uneasy and when I am able to force something out it's mostly liquid.

I've recently started taking a sugar-free fiber supplement and I feel MUCH better. I plan to reincorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet, once I've dropped this weight, but until then a fiber supplement will have to do.

10 · August 18, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Ok. Jumping in the poop chatter.

Paleo, or pre-Paleo, this has always been an issue. Not a psyllium fan. Turns it into toothpaste and bloating begins.

Dr. Oz suggests something I like: I take 2 Magnesium pills at bedtime, 1 at wake-up. All 250mg. Magnesium moves the digestive muscles and hence, what's inside. When we were kids, it was better known as Milk of Magnesia.

I do this every day. If new to you, start with 1 at night, 1 at wake-up. Then add the 2nd pill a week later.

Also, I put Aloe Vera juice in my smoothie instead of water. Supposed to help.

Adore Chia Seeds. But pricey for my budget.

10 · August 18, 2013 at 1:36 AM

Since starting paleo 7 days ago I have not stopped pooping. Literally tons & tons, some as dia some solid. I go after I eat and also in between. Probably 5x/day; sometimes dia sometimes normal. it really varies per poop.

I am of the belief that dia is a good thing (as long as I drink enough water) bc its an elimation of something bad. So I dont want it to stop until its ready to- but I am curious as to why so much volume? And what is the cause? is it truly detoxifying? I had a trainer who suggested gluten/grains can really gum up your system and once u remove it from your diet, your body starts to function more properly. I do believe MORE pooping is better than LESS but Id like to know the actual reason for the increase. I am also peeing a ton too, although its becoming less frequent now and closer to "normal"

pre paleo I ate all foods & would go 1x/day

I am 29/f 5'5 165lbs trying to lose 20-30lbs

100 · November 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I don't know how often this is checked, but I hope someone can make a suggestion for me. I have only been full paleo 3 and half weeks now and I go to poo once a day in the morning, it helps if I drink about 750-1L of water first. However, my poop is a bit soft/sloppy and I always have to wipe like 20 times to get rid of any residue.I know this sounds gross, but oh well. I don't take any probiotics, but am wondering if I should start to take some and will this help to make my poo a bit more solid? I was taking antibiotics for 2 months and stopped about 2 months before going paleo, so not sure if my gut flora is out of balance. I also don't eat fruit, because I am trying to clear up my skin and I find the sugar in fruit makes me break out bad. I am female and 23 years old. Just ask if you want any more info. Thanks!

1674 · May 31, 2011 at 8:47 AM

In some ways my situation has improved from going Paleo, in some ways maybe not. I'm nearly 100% Paleo now (do drink some alcohol occasionally, mostly hard cider). I eat a decent amount of veg and more fruit than most Paleo folks 'cause I run long distance. This, after 35+ years as a "vegan + fish".

I go everyday within 30-45 minutes of waking, so that's good. I've had a couple of bouts of constipation, but I take 400-800mg of magnesium every night to ensure movement. (Constipation has been a problem all my life.) Since starting Paleo (~3 months ago), the quantity has greatly reduced, though satisfaction is generally good. The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is that it is mostly liquid, sometimes rather explosively.

But overall gas and bloating are now virtually non-existent.

Should I just be happy that things keep humming along or should I do something to change the quality?

110 · February 25, 2010 at 1:25 AM

Interesting Poop information at gutsense.org

20 · February 23, 2010 at 8:57 PM

For me, once a day and a lot less mass. Also a lot less gas. I think it mainly comes down to the less waste thing. It's more useful food.

933 · February 23, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Lacto-paleo here. Most of my dairy is home-fermented kefir. No problems, in fact, a lot less constipation, gas, etc. than when I was eating grains and more fiber.

1602 · February 23, 2010 at 5:10 PM

I had problem with constipation when I was starting out lacto-paleo, but it fixed itself when I started eating more fermented milk. I do eat greens and some vegetables though.

0 · January 17, 2013 at 11:10 PM

if you increase fat intake you will want to increase your leafy greens. Too much fat and you will have diareah. Bump up the greens and and it will bulk it up. I've heard adding fermented products can go either way so introduce slowly or suffer the consequences. I go anywhere from 1-3 times a day. My fav guide is the poop pageant from Practical Paleo.

0 · September 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

I poop like twice or three times a day. Of course squatting each time :)

65 · May 18, 2011 at 11:57 PM

My chiropractor just stressed to me that the AMA thinks I am constipated if I don't go three times a day. The funny thing is, he wants everybody to stop eating gluten grains. I guess he hasn't traveled all the way down the path, yet.

250 · June 05, 2010 at 7:18 AM

I was going to post a link to the "Bristol(mumbleStoolmumble)" chart, but DonAtCU posted it already.

Someone (like me) might not be comfortable discussing, er, specifics, but it's easy to say that I'm usually a 4 or 5...

5888 · February 25, 2010 at 1:16 AM

I've always had 2-3 bowel movements per day, and going paleo didn't change that.

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