Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How a post on a forum about weigh-ins before a BM turned into an interesting gut flora discussion

Americans don't like to talk about poop. Like we don't like to talk about sex or snot or ear wax and anything else that's deemed "gross". Well, I go there because I think it's important to talk about the things that affect our lives and like my son's toddler/preschool favorite book says, "Everyone Poops".

So, my poop situation. When I eat however I want - whenever I want. I need to poop several times a day. Every day. It's not diarrhea. Just normal poop.

When I am on plan, I do several things at one time. I reduce my calories (so amount of food coming into my body is less). I change the balance of foods I eat (lower carb) and I change when I eat. This naturally affects my bathroom habits.

Because I have been doing variations of this "diet" for over 5 years, I know how my body reacts to foods and this diet, especially. The timing of my eating does little to my BM schedule and amount, etc. Eating lower calorie does lessen the frequency of needing to poop. I will only need to go once a day versus 2-3 times a day. But the change from a high carb diet to a lower carb diet (and I am NOT eating a super low carb diet) changes frequency by a lot. I will only need to have a bowel movement every 3 days, sometimes only every 4 days.

And it's not instantaneous. It takes several weeks to go from once a day to every 3 days. During our 6 day vacation? I only had to go to the bathroom two times - 4th day and 6th day. (I can remember because where we were visiting/staying - not that I keep that close track of my BMs!)

Upon coming home, I had been eating a bit more carbs during vacation and immediately following it with cake. BUT... I was eating within my caloric range, so it was the components of my diet that was different, not the amounts of food. And, I started to need to go to the bathroom more frequently - every 2 days, every day. And now, 2 weeks and 3 days from being home, and it's back down to every 2 days and will probably decrease even more to every 3 days. That's how I really know if I'm on plan or not - my bowel movement frequency.

Again, I'm not constipated. Constipation means straining on the toilet - having difficult bowel movements. I'm having a normal bowel movement. Just not very often. And when I go, I go a normal amount as I would see at other times too. So please don't think I'm doing something "bad" by not needing to poop every day. It's OK!

So, what's going on here? Eating less resulting in less poop - that makes sense. So eating 3000 -3500 calories a day that resulted in 2-3 poops a day and switching to a 1100-1500 calorie diet and pooping once a day makes sense.

But the switch from eating a 1100-1500 calorie diet that has things like bread, cake, pasta in it resulting in pooping every day and eating a 1100-1500 calorie diet that eliminates things like bread, cake, pasta in it resulting in pooping every 3-4 days doesn't seem to make sense.

Well, then comes in gut flora. We are learning a lot. Here are some articles on it. I'm not saying all of this is the end of the story. In fact, its' the beginning of the story. We are just beginning to look at our bacter in our body as important to life.

Article one: How our gut flora helps us digest more food or less food depending on the balance of nutrients/carbs: Gut Bacteria and Obesity – A Hidden Connection?

Article two: How higher carb diets affect rates of types of cancers - always fun: Carbs and gut microbes fuel colon cancer

Article three: Talks a bit about what are different types of gut flora: Your Gut Bacteria Are What You Eat

And then there are lots and lots and lots of articles or posts in forums for Keto, Paleo and other low carb diets about, "Where's my poop?" I'm not the only person experiencing that! Though, some people really do get constipated, and that is different. I eat a high fiber diet. I eat almonds. I eat a lot of leafy greens and other nonstarchy vegetables. I do not have a lack of fiber issue.

Anyway, it's interesting. I think that my gut flora changes significantly and gets more in balance. When I am carbed up, I think my gut flora is WAY out of balance - which is bad (and probably makes me gain weight even faster!)

I'll be curious to learn more as they learn more, but my own experience is, my gut flora radically changes from what I eat.


  1. I was just thinking about this. My Fibromyalgia comes with a side of gastrointestinal issues, (if fibro was really just pain, that'd be great!) so it is really hard to correlate habits with what I'm eating, but I think it's time to pay more attention to this again.

    1. I think diet is the root of a lot of problems. THere is the "eat junk for a day" kind of feeling bad, but then there is the imbalance of diet that can throw you off too. And, to make it even more complicated, it's extremely individual - much more than people realize.