As a parent of a toddler, who thinks poop in HILARIOUS, poop and farts and toilets are a common topic in my household.  Toothpaste, or toot-paste as she says and subsequently dies laughing, strangely enough, began a short and sordid look into the world of digestion and poop.  Afterall, toot-paste cleans the mouth, foods’ first stop on the digestion train.

Because Poop is Funny

If you’re about to click away because you’re grossed out and don’t see how this relates to food, give it a second.

Sure, poop is gross, and is often the butt of jokes (pun intended) and can be hilarious, but it has its place.  Without poop, our bodies wouldn’t function.  We’re people, we poop.  We poop because we eat.  We eat because we love food and because we’re hungry.  We’re hungry because we digested all the food we already ate and pooped it out.  You can distill life down to a poop cycle.  In and out.  Food goes in; poop comes out.  Good goes in; gross comes out.

Behind the curtain

The magic happens maybe not behind a curtain but beneath our skin.  Once that double bacon cheeseburger, side of fries and strawberry milkshake shimmy down your gullet, it’s time for the body to do it thing.  Cue the stomach gurgling and possible heartburn.

The digestive system is made of five body parts: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and last but not least, large intestines. Breaking food down into components our body needs to survive is boring but necessary.  Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water are all in food and all needed for survival.  Your small intestines work hard to dissolve and distill food down to its main elements to keep our bodies humming.  Interestingly enough, not all food is digested equally.

A Digestion Hierarchy

How long does it take to digest food?  The answer depends.  Did you know that meat takes longer to digest than a cupcake or an apple?  Steak can take up to two days to go from medium rare perfection to a part of your poop.  Fish too.  Both contain complex components that your body diligently works to convert to life-sustaining elements.   Urban myth believers – meat does not stay in the body for seven years.  Please continue to eat beef.

Cupcakes or vegetables pass through the body much faster – typically in a day or less.  Foods high in fiber or water or foods made of simple elements (like a cupcake) move right along.

Bottoms Up

While food takes its merry time traveling through your internal plumbing, alcohol, a drink of choice, gets digested on the ASAP.  Twenty percent is absorbed or digested in the stomach – unlike other food which is turned into mush in your tummy and doesn’t get absorbed until it reaches the small intestines.  Once absorbed, the alcohol goes straight to the blood system and gets you drunk.  Ever get the post-beer poops?  You’re not alone.  Alcohol encourages the system to, you know, go.

In the End

Funny or gross poop is a positive.  If you’re not pooping, you’re not digesting food, and you’re probably not eating.  Keep eating and keep shitting because without either life wouldn’t go on.