This Poop Chart Tells You What’s Happening in Your Gut and How to Fix It
By: Spencer Brooks
- Paying attention to your poop can help you build a stronger gut, check your organ function and boost nutrient absorption from the foods you eat.
- The color, shape, texture and consistency of your poop can tell you whether your diet needs adjusting. (Just take a glance in the toilet. This is not a hands-on exercise.)
- Check out the poop chart below to see where your stools fall on the spectrum. Then, get tips to improve your digestion and gut health.
Paying attention to your body and making small changes can make a huge difference in how you feel and perform. That’s what being Bulletproof is all about. Right now, you may be ignoring one of your body’s informational super-sources: your poop.
Your poop can tell you if you should adjust your diet, drink more water or see your doctor. Next time you’re in the bathroom, take a look in the toilet and then check the Bulletproof Poop Chart (below). A small change could help you build a stronger gut, absorb more nutrients from your food and improve your good gut bacteria, which will help you look and feel your best.
Read on to learn what different types of poop means about your biology, and how you can make adjustments to improve your gut health.
The ultimate gut health poop chart
1. Is it soft, hard or runny?
The first thing to check is your poop’s consistency. You’ve probably already noticed the extremes, like runny or hard. Now, notice the subtleties. Did you know that the firmness of your poop suggests a wealth of information about your body? Take a look at the Bulletproof Poop Chart. Basically, if your poop is a 4 or a 5, you’re good. Anything firmer or softer than that means there may be something going on with your biology.
If you’re constipated:
- Drink more water.
- Add magnesium to your list of daily supplements. It tells your body to send water to your bowels, which helps everything move more smoothly. You should probably take it anyway — most Americans are deficient.
- Eat a plate full of salad greens (or add to smoothies) at every meal to make stools softer and larger.
- Be sure you’re getting enough healthful foods to help soften stools. Eating prunes, apples and grapes can help. 
- If that doesn’t do the trick, see a doctor about testing your thyroid. You may be under-producing thyroid hormones that affect your gut function.
If you’re having frequent diarrhea:
- Fiber is a great way to firm up your stool. Eat plenty of fiber-rich veggies to make sure you’re still getting the nutrients you need, but cook them so they’re easier to digest.
- Eliminate grains, nuts, legumes, caffeine and alcohol, which can affect your stomach lining and impact the diversity of your gut bacteria. 
- Feed your biome with prebiotic-rich foods like sweet potato, carrots, and asparagus.
- Experiment with fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and (if you tolerate dairy) grass-fed kefir. These fermented foods contain bacteria and yeasts that may be beneficial for your gut — but keep in mind that fermented foods don’t work for everyone.
- To help eliminate toxins from your gut, take activated coconut charcoal between meals. Coconut charcoal binds with toxins and flushes them out.
- Take collagen protein to support your body’s tissues, including the mucous membrane lining your gut. Bulletproof Collagen Protein Gut Boost is specifically formulated for gut support.
- If it’s constant, get your thyroid checked. Diarrhea has been linked to hyperthyroidism.
- Track your poop over time. If it begins to look more like a 4 or a 5, you’re on the right track, and odds are your good gut bacteria are flourishing.
2. Does it float or sink?
The next thing to notice is whether your poop floats or sinks. Your stool’s buoyancy is especially useful info when you’re eating a lower-carb, high-fat diet like the Bulletproof Diet because it’s a good test of whether you’re metabolizing and absorbing the fat you eat.
Generally, poop should sink. If your poop is solid and occasionally floats, it could just be that you ate an especially large amount of fiber that day, which isn’t anything to write home about. But if your poop floats regularly, it could be a sign that you aren’t digesting fat. Watch for:
- Regularly soft, floating poop
- Oil slicks from the poop that coat the toilet bowl (like the grease left in the box when you pick up a piece of pizza. Yeah. That’s gross. Sorry.)
- Mucus in your poop
If your poop is oily once in a while, it could just be that you ate too much fat. If it happens regularly, check your diet. Did you just switch over to a higher-fat diet? If so, your body can take a couple weeks to start producing enough lipase, the enzyme you need to break down fat. To help in the meantime, taking lipase for a few days as a digestive supplement may help.
If you haven’t changed anything and your poop floats in an oil slick on a regular basis, visit a doctor. If you ever see mucus in your poop, definitely go to a doctor. Mucousy stools can be signs of gallbladder trouble, infection, or autoimmune issues.
3. Is there food in your poop?
Food in your poop could be totally normal, especially if it’s vegetable matter. A lot of veggies contain cellulose, which humans lack the enzymes to digest. The result is that they come out the same way they go in. The size and consistency depends on how well you chew your food.
Quick side note: Most seeds (like chia seeds and hemp seeds) have a cellulose covering that prevents you from digesting them, and they’ll come out of you intact. If you’re not just eating them for the fiber, be sure you grind them first — otherwise you won’t absorb any of their nutrients. And for the record, there are much better sources of omega-3s than chia or hemp, like krill and fish oil.
A little bit of food in your poop is fine, but if your poop is mostly undigested food, something’s going on. It’s likely that you lack the good gut bacteria that break down fibers.
4. What color is your poop?
Keep an eye on your poop’s color. It tells you how well your body is processing the food you eat. Here’s a handy reference for different poop colors:
- Brown, yellow, or green poop: The gold standard. Things look good. The difference in colors depends on what you eat and how much bile you’re producing. Generally, poop ranging in shades of brown to green is a good sign.
- Pale, clay-colored poop: Light gray, clay-like poop can suggest a problem with your digestion. Your gallbladder may not be dumping bile and red blood waste into your small intestine, or you may have an issue with your liver.  If your poop is regularly pale and gray, get yourself to a doctor.
- Red or black poop: Did you eat beets recently? If so, don’t worry about red poop. But if you haven’t eaten beets and your poop is red or black, you may have some kind of internal bleeding like an ulcer, internal hemorrhoids or you could be dealing with IBS (especially if you’re having red diarrhea). Red or black poop can also be a sign of E. coli infection. Again, see a doctor.
5. How often do you poop?
The final thing to note about your poop is frequency. One or two poops a day, or only three times a week?
If you’re on a fairly regular schedule, that’s a sign that your digestion is strong. Your poops should also generally feel “complete” — that is, like you’ve evacuated everything, and there isn’t more to come out.
- Less than three times a week: You’re constipated. Take magnesium to help your body send more water to your bowels. Drink lots of water and get your thyroid checked if things don’t become more regular.
- Three or more times a day: You should probably eat more fiber from vegetables. Fiber slows down food passage through your intestines, which gives you more time to absorb precious nutrients. If you’re getting lots of veggies and still pooping three or more times a day, see a doctor. You may have an infection (especially if most of your poops feel incomplete).
Poop is a treasure trove of information about what’s going on inside your body. It may seem strange, but taking note of your poop gives you valuable insight into your digestion, organ function, gut bacteria and more.
Keep tabs on your poop (or keep a poop journal, if you’re hardcore). It’s a great indicator of how small changes in your diet affect your gut — and it lets you know if you’re moving in the right direction.
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