Poop floats. At least that is what people tell me. I was pretty sure the movie was called "Hope Floats" but I can see how people would confuse the two. In today's Daily Skinny, we will exmine the properties of poo and determine what the ideal poop is like. We will also attempt to help you take a side on the Floaters vs Sinkers war. Sound fun? (If not, you are a fecal snob)
According to a poop expert near me (The Poo Whisperer) a persons feces will float if your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, and sink if it is not. Or if you eat a lot of BBs, it will also sink. (So I've heard.) In any case, when I first heard this I could not help but laugh out loud. It all sounded a little ridiculous. So I began googling poop (I am so glad I have an internet filter that blocks some of the visuals) and began laughing even harder. But unlike some Daily Skinny investigations, there is some truth to be found...
There is a CRAP-LOAD of debating about whether or not one's "droppings" should float or not. Some maintain that healthy feces should glide off the "poop deck" and gracefully float in your toilet like a swan on a summer lake (Floaters). Others claim that a healthy "deposit" will slam into the toilet bowl like the titanic, and never rise again (Sinkers). (PS if you ever need a laugh, picture a band playing on your poop as it sinks.) Many of the debaters are doctors, but many are not, and most are full of it. (You know what "it" I mean.) While it can get confusing, there is a slew of fecal professionals (poo-fessionals) that are available to give us the skinny. One guy, Ted Loftness who is an internist in Minnesota said, "Nothing is so underrated as a good bowl movement." (I bet he gives great gifts on Valentine's Day.)
The debate has lead to a large number of people tracking their poop qualities and starting blogs about how concerned they are about their poo. Some of them have even posted disturbing descriptions of their bowel movements for online doctors.
...an explosion of foaming bio-warfare spewed from "Mount St. Helens" and preceeded by an "earthquake" in the bowels....
Why Does Poo Float?
The obvious answer is that poo floats when it is less dense than water. But what causes this, and is it the pereferred delivery type? I saw goals on the internet... "I am shooting for 3 floaters this week."
Floaters maintain that if your crap floats then your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, and that you are getting enough fiber. (You can't keep a good poop down is their motto) Some Vegans have claimed that sinking poo is evil and is caused by contamination of the body with animal parts. Not to worry; if your poo does not float, there are all sorts of herbs, chemicals, "cleansing" products and packing peanuts that some people will sell you to force those little guys to stop sinking. Floaters are obviously against the Sinkers. They feel that crapping a rock (literally) is dangerous to the health and less righteous than their poo-duckling floating on toilet-lake. I even read one snooty commentator which said, "American poo sinks and European poo floats; it is more pure."
Sinkers claim basically, the opposite. Sinking is better for you, and we should not hang out with people who produce floaters. Poop should sink if you are getting enough fiber, because the bulk will weigh it down. One thing the Sinkers have going for them though is... They are much funnier. Listed below are some of the reasons I found on the internet for why poop floats:
1. Leaking Breast Implants
2. Negative Vibes
3. Bilderberger plots against free society
4. Mind control xrays being produced in a secret Illuminati lab
5. Microscopic radioactive nano-spiders from the Galatic Core invading the brain (This always puts me in a crappy mood.)
All of this is pretty confusing. What IS the Skinny on Poop? (What is the scoop on poop?)
Here's the deal: Stools should be like an unripe banana in size and texture (but not color). If you in fact crap a banana, you need to start chewing your food more. Some have suggested that poo should be the texture (but not flavor) of toothpaste.
Poo is 75% water. When you eat more fiber, the fiber holds onto more water, and makes the stool less dense. If the fiber content is high enough, this can cause poo to float. That part is true enough. While some claim that you do not have enough fiber in your diet if your poop sinks, there are many doctors that disagree. So don't get all freaked out and start making Metamucil cookies.
Most crap is 1% fat. If you eat out a lot, you might get it up to 7% or so. This causes steatorrhea. It sounds nice but it means your poo comes out like cookie dough and sticks everywhere. Fat can also make your crap float because fat is less dense than water. You get enough fat in your logs, and VOILA! you have floatery.
The truth is that air also make poop float. You get a little gaseous, and instead of forming a nice, comforting bubble of flatulence, it stays diffused in your crud. This makes Mr. Hankey lighter and he floats. Just a change in diet can increase the bacteria caused gasses to increase. This type of floating may be the easiest to accomplish.
Unlike what some people say, floating poo can actually be a sign of malabsorption. It can mean your body isn't absorbing nutrients properly. This is not a "Gosh I wish I were more absorbent" type of problem. This is not a "I should see my naturopath" kind of problem. This is a "I might have Pancreatic Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Celiac Disease or Abetalipoprotenimia" type of problem. But don't panic too much - a nice GI infection can also cause "the floats". Malabsorption floaters are not like cute little duckies though. Often they are abnormally large flotillas, and leave a greasy film on the water.
Changes in diet, like with fats or fiber, can make a difference in your "floatability". If you are passing bricks, then yeah fiber may the answer. But don't spend your life on a quest to always be a floater... Sinkers have it right. Consistently dropping floaters can be a sign of very serious medical conditions and should be discussed with a doctor. A REAL doctor. (IE One that went to medical school.) PS As a general rule, you shouldn't trust a "doctor" who sells things over the internet...
Loftness, the dude I quoted at the beginning says, "Most stools sink; whether it floats or not doesn't seem to make any difference [in healthy people]."