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4 Factors of a Healthy Poop

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013 | BY |
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Does it look right? Here’s how to tell.
It’s time to talk about poop in our society. Continuing to ignore this elephant is the easiest way to turn a small health problem into a full-blown health crisis.

The quantified self movement is starting to gain main-stream status. The use of fitbits, fuel bands and jaw bands is exploding, which clearly indicates that we love tracking our health. We want to be certain that all the energy, money and time we spend staying healthy is really paying off, right? Let’s put all of the technology aside for a moment and back up. There’s one simple tool that most people are ignoring today that can easily help you tell whether or not you are healthy. Yup, you guessed it! Poop.

If you aren’t having optimal poops, it means that one or more problems are present somewhere in your body.

The Digestive System Controls Your Health

Over 2,000 years ago, Hipporates said, “All disease begins in the gut,” and yet research has only really exploded on the gut and its relation to human health in the last 10 years.

Recent scientific breakthroughs are showing that your gut flora has the ability to communicate directly to your brain, thus affecting your moods, feeding your immune system information on how to act, and helping to control inflammation (1) (2) (3).

We also now know that healthy people have good production of short-chain fatty acids(SCFAs) in the colon. Some of these SCFAs, like butyrates, have anti-inflammatory effects, increase insulin sensitivity, and may help those with digestive disease (4).

Many people I talk with understand the importance of buying the best non-GMO, organic and locally sourced produce. But what they are ignoring is that simply eating high quality food isn’t enough. The body has to be able to break it down and then absorb the nutrients. And the most reliable indicator of your body’s ability to digest and absorb high quality food is your poop.

If you’re poop isn’t healthy, it means your digestion is too slow or too fast. Which means those foods aren’t being absorbed and you’ll be at risk of developing many types of chronic health conditions, including neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Tracking the health of your poop on a daily basis is a great way to find out if your body is truly healthy.

4 Signs Your Poop is Healthy

Perfect digestion creates perfect poops. You probably know the feeling; it leaves an unmistakable grin on your face as you close the bathroom door. It’s important to know exactly what an ideal poop is so you can see how you stack up.

1: The Poop Should Look Like This

The quality of your poop is the most important factor in gauging your digestive health. We have countless ways of describing our poop to one another. Until we begin using the same scale, it’s almost like we’re trying to talk about snowflakes. So if you haven’t heard of this nifty poop scale I want to Introduce the Bristol Stool Chart.

Bristol Stool Chart

As you can see, this chart makes it very easy for us to rate our poop, which then allows us to communicate with one other (most importantly medical practitioners). Looking at the picture above, anything from a 1 to a 3 on the chart is on the constipated side, while 6’s and 7’s are on the loose stool/diarrhea side of digestion.

The perfect number to shoot for is a 4, but 5′s are also very good.

2: You Should Poop Everyday

You wouldn’t appreciate it if the garbage man threw 90% of the trash back at your house while only taking 10% with him each week would you? The same can be said with your body. Poop is waste and it has to go. Getting rid of it at least once a day is a minimum. Having a bowel movement as often as every meal is, according to some experts, even better.

A general rule to remember is going one to three times a day is normal and healthy, while every other day or a few times a week isn’t good at all. This is constipation and will increase the toxin load within the body and can lead to increased risk of disease and physical problems such as hemorrhoids.

3: Pooping Should Be Fast, Fun and Easy

Do you get a smug smile on your face after a sweet number two? If so, it’s likely because the work you did was fast, easy and now you can’t hide your pride. Which is great because it shouldn’t feel like a workout in the bathroom (no sweating)! Pooping shouldn’t be thought of as a daily break either. The goal is to get in and out. Longer than 10 minutes is defiantly a problem.

A perfect poop is easy in every way possible. You get the urge, make your way to the bathroom, sit down and in a flash it’s over. There should be no pain, no pushing, no blood, no sweating and no wiping forever (nobody likes the poop of a thousand wipes).

If your experience in the bathroom isn’t fast and easy, then there is something wrong with your gut.

4: No Poop Left Behind

Don’t you hate it when your boss makes you re-do a project? No one likes to have to re-do a job they’ve already attempted and the same is true when it comes to pooping. A perfect poop is one that is complete. In other words, you feel like you got it all out.

There should be no need to return to the bathroom within a few minutes. The job should be completed properly the first time, otherwise you’re having an evacuation problem.

So the big question is: are you having perfect poops? Because if you’re not… it could be a sign of something bigger going on with your health.

For more information on meal plans, cooking tips, and best practices for the diet, please see the “SCD Lifestyle.”

Steve Wright

Steve Wright

Steve Wright – is an electrical engineer turned health engineer. Back in 2009, he was struggling with IBS symptoms, weight gain, acne and other severe health issues. When conventional medicine didn’t help, his friend Jordan Reasoner got him to start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. In just a few days his IBS symptoms were almost completely gone.

Since then, he’s focused on getting as healthy as possible and teaching others what works to get to the root causes of digestive problems, hormone dysregulation, and detox issues. He writes and helps people 1-on-1 over at Steve lives in Boulder, CO and likes to have fun while helping people poop better.


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  1. Name (required) says:

    And then there are the 7 macrobiotic criteria for perfect poop

    1- effortless
    2- in one piece
    3- large
    4- light brown color
    5- floats
    6- does not stick to the toilet porcelain
    7- although it’s in one piece, when you flush, it breaks up into 1000 pieces

  2. Thomas J. Emmer, Sr. D.D.S. says:

    Congratulation for discussing POOPS. Mothers know about children POOPS but literally nothing about adult POOPS.
    Oral Hygiene is openly discussed but Anal Hygiene FORGET it. Occasionally I would discuses with patients regarding chewing and there POOPS.
    This was always a touchy issue.

    I have come to the same conclusion you these illustrated pictorial. I had lactose intolerance along with Gluten allegories. After starting a gluten free diet for the past 20 yrs, the Lactose Intolerance has disappeared. This required an abundance of observation, POOPS, and no one to compare notes.

    I hope people will look at that AWFUl stuff left in the toilet bowl. All you have to do is take a peek at the portable Johns and recognize that there are many sick people walking around.

    Good Luck Spreading the Good News.

    Thomas J. Emmer,Sr., D.D.S., Retired

  3. Anne says:

    After I changed my diet (years ago), to many vegetables raw and steamed, rice and quinoa, and fresh fruits, since then I have been having at least 3 bowel movements a day. I rarely have constipation or diarrhea. I have heard that these are normal bowel habits. I am an omnivore but eat many more vegetables than the average person. All organic, mostly seasonal, fresh and local.

  4. Ruth Berman says:

    great picture of poops. proud to say, I’m a 4 and sometimes a 5. Once had Chrone’s disease and never again, so i put myself on the right track. Mostly Vegan. Designer supplements, great water, exercise, meditation and on and on. Not afraid to spend my money on my good health.

    80 years old, have all my teeth, no meds.

    In this day of political chaos I recommend two things.. Take care of your health, using complimentary alternative doc, excellent nutrition is part of one, and take care of your finances as best you can, without being cheap or frivolous.

    • James says:

      Very inspiring and so true! Keep it up. I’m sure you are serving as an example on how to thrive in this life in all respects. Peace to you.

  5. Linda middlesworth says:

    If we eat a whole foods, plant based diet which the optimal diet for us, our poop is everyday and perfect!

  6. Andy Miller says:

    I think it should also float!

  7. Cathy says:

    What about when the poo looks normal but I sometimes skip a day? I do get bloated sometimes, even though I’m so careful about my diet, consuming 7-8 fruits and vegies/day incl. some fermented vegies, no dairy, grains etc. Is it possible that when I had a colonoscopy three years ago that they jabbed my colon so it gets stuck? What should I do? I’ve tried everything from psyllium to liver flushes, and enemas.

    • Angelia says:

      Probiotics – I like Dr. Udos. Available at the health store. Also, try a periodic cleanse. I like “Clean” – there’s a book, raw foods for 14 days+, vegan for 30 days+. If you’re eating as well as you say and still having trouble then I’d guess you need more enzymes (raw foods and liquid meals) and, or, increase of the flora in your gut.

      • Cathy says:

        Thanks for the advice. I’ll up my probiotics although I was told by a health practitioner that I didnt’ have a problem with bacteria. I consume raw milk kefir every day and take bifido bacteria and Garden of Life probiotics. I follow a specific carb diet including about half raw foods (too much raw makes me so bloated even though I soak nuts, seeds, etc). I wish I could just go 80% raw but it doesn’t work for all women especially.

  8. Nadine says:

    Great article, pity it is avoided by most people as a no no discussion. I believe if taken more seriously less people would die from colon cancer period. :) Our body speak volumes to us and when ignored then suffer the consequences – you have only yourself to blame.

  9. Elene says:

    Hi Steve,

    What about having every style poop mentioned within a period of two weeks or a month. I am regular, every day, maybe even twice and no problems otherwise?

    What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? I try to have fruit, salads, slightly cooked veggies and some fish (pieces) and then also some pieces of chicken and eggs. I do not eat bread anymore and instead when I require that feeling of being filled, have potatoes?


  10. Lula says:

    In addition to all this vital info, check out the Squatty-Potty type foot-rests that help give a better position for best ‘release’….friends and family just love to poop at our house! All the better for us, as we turn it into humanure!!! Stay Shiiitwise!

  11. lenore says:

    can your living environment affect your bowel movements if you have mold in your house

  12. Jeanne says:

    Very informative. I was told that if your poop floats there are undigested proteins and it is not good. I started taking digestive enzymes as a result (enzymedica Digest Gold), and when I remember my poop tends to sink. Other wise it floats. It stresses me out some. Glad to hear the comment about how the macrobiotic way believes it should float. I am vegan and very health conscious. Any other thoughts or knowledge about sinking or floating?

  13. Anne says:

    Hey Steve!
    I found this to be a somewhat negative, problem based article.
    I know that poop is an importing thing to discuss, but it’s kinda depressing when you’re reminded every single day that you’re doing something wrong… Without getting some info on what you could start doing to improve it. And I know it’s often a myriad of issues, but it would nice if the article could end on some sort of positive note. :P
    Kinds regard,

  14. Gini says:

    I am like Anne- at the end of the article I was looking for the rest of the article with some helpful information. For example, I would have liked more information on what is mentioned in 4- no poop left behind. But thanks for at least starting the conversation.

  15. Ian Clements says:

    Reads well to me, but with the caution that supplements can have an effect. Graviola, for instance, moves me to nearer No. 1; wheatgrass etc nearer to No. 7. All this is a relatively short time, whilst, presumably, my interstinal bugs are much the same.

    I did read, some time back, that there’s no ‘normal’ frequency – it can vary from daily to even monthly (I once went 3 weeks between poops without any obvious problems, other than my worry about that).

  16. Jill Villalba says:

    YS coming out smaller than normal. This is something I’m going through. First of all, I ended up in the ER because I wasn’t having my normal, everyday poops. They had me get a prescription of that liquid stuff to drink over a 4 day period. It worked somewhat I guess. I gave myself a few enemas too.
    But its starting again. Looks similar to number 4 on the chart. I feel my stomach bloating.
    Now I know this is related to adrenal fatigue, but I have no health insurance and only have a part-time job, so moneys an issue. I’m also single, so no husband to help me. I’m only 52 yrs old and would love to be healthy. Im a tiny person, guess that doesn’t mean anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My email address is I’m not good at manuevering on sites very good. I don’t know if I’d be able to get back to this email and find your reply. Thank you and God bless you!!

  17. Zyxomma says:

    Thanks for publishing this. I’m a colonic hydrotherapist (among my other certifications in holistic health; I studied for years with a naturopath), so this falls in my area of interest. I’m usually a four, sometimes a five.

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