Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-16-2004, 10:41 PM
plushgrass plushgrass is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Food "going right through you" (prob TMI)

Background info: I am on a diet (not Atkins crap, just straight watching calories and exercising). Been doing great, have lost 20 of the 40 or so pounds I need to lose. But yesterday was my b'day and a friend took me out to lunch at a Thai restaurant. Blew my diet eating Pad Thai (rice noodles and veggies in sauce), probably over 1000 calories. With a sampling of their various delicious hot sauces and condiments to boot. Dam it was good though.

Got home, and within 20 minutes or so, I can tell something is...not right downstairs. Gut is rumbling. Long story short, I spend the next hour and a half on and off the toilet with recurrent diarrhea, and it is no doubt the Pad Thai, since their unique spices make just as much of an announcement going in as coming out.

That all sucked. But being on this diet and all, and having lots of time to think while sitting on the throne yesterday, I got to wondering. I know that some people (bulimics and anorexics especially) abuse laxatives in the false belief that they can lose weight that way. They don't understand that during normal digestion, by the time the food gets to their colon, all the calories/nutrients have already been absorbed by the body. All they are losing is feces they'd normally lose the next day anyway if they had normal daily BM's and they are also losing water which just dehydrates them.

But, does this still hold true if your food literally "goes through you" in a very short time frame? Like an hour or two? Assuming I ate approximately 1000 calories worth of this Thai food, and could feel it leaving an hour or so later, did I absorb all the calories of it, the same as I would have if I'd taken all day and night to digest it and hadn't had a BM until the next morning as usual?

Sorry if this is TMI, but like I said, I had lots of time to think (and regret the Thai binge), but I still love that food darn it. )

Just wondering...
Old 06-16-2004, 11:04 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Naugatuck, CT
Posts: 6,760
A tangential question I asked a bit ago: Can you eat so much food that your body can't process it all?
Old 06-17-2004, 11:15 AM
plushgrass plushgrass is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Update: I was expecting to have gained a little weight from yesterday due to the Thai binge, but interestingly, this morning the scale shows a weight drop of a quarter-pound from yesterday...

The Thai food was the only thing I ate yesterday.

So perhaps its true that food that goes right through you doesn't get a chance to be absorbed.
Old 06-17-2004, 11:39 AM
BiblioCat BiblioCat is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 10,877
I think yesterday's weight loss is more than likely due to dehydration from the diarrhea than the food "going right through you."
Old 06-17-2004, 12:57 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 29,638
Look up "gastrocolic reflex".

This is the signal that the body sends to the colon to let it know that food is entering the stomach and that the long process of digestion is beginning again.

For various reasons, not all of them fully understood, some things in some foods can trigger the reflex almost immediately after eating. Thai food is notorious for this, at least in my household.

But here's the point relative to the OP. What comes out is what you ate earlier - lunch, breakfast, last night's dinner, whatever. Not what you just ate. The only real different between this and a normal bowel movement is that the water that is normally absorbed into the system by the time the food reaches the colon is still present. You lose water weight from diarrhea as BiblioCat noted, but this is a false loss: you'll gain it right back next time you hydrate yourself.

So you haven't lost any nutrition from the earlier food, and the new food will still go through the system in the ordinary way,
Old 06-17-2004, 06:05 PM
FilmGeek FilmGeek is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Obamagon
Posts: 5,165
Being afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome, my food often 'goes right through me' and at any point from halfway through a meal to 10 minutes after I usually have to make several trips to the bathroom. (not every meal, just the ones that set off the IBS).

I was thinking that it was the food I just ate that was... emerging. So, I ate a ton of corn at one meal. (corn... the best and tastiest feces identifier there is). The first bout had no corn, but the fourth or fifth did. So, my food stays in my body for an hour or so when I do have an attack.

Ardred (similarly afflicted) and I have a joke centering around the fact that we can't lose weight even though we never keep anything in our systems long enough to digest it completely.

Interesting? Hardly. But it might inform this discussion a bit.
Old 06-17-2004, 07:47 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
Originally Posted by plushgrass
interestingly, this morning the scale shows a weight drop of a quarter-pound from yesterday.
How much did you pay for your scale? I would guess most scales sold for home use are accurate +/- one pound.
Old 06-17-2004, 08:10 PM
Apricot Apricot is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 570
When it looks the same going out as it does going in, that's when you know there has been very little absorption of nutrients (or calories). Yes, you can crap noodles. If'n it's brown at all, there's been a lot of calories and nutrients absorbed.
Old 06-18-2004, 01:18 AM
Ilsa_Lund Ilsa_Lund is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Not here.
Posts: 4,153
Originally Posted by plushgrass
Update: I was expecting to have gained a little weight from yesterday due to the Thai binge, but interestingly, this morning the scale shows a weight drop of a quarter-pound from yesterday...
Remember, a pound of fat is around 3500 calories above your daily TCB, which, depending on your weight is probably around 2000 calories. So you'd have to consume nearly 6000 calories to gain a pound in one day, and you would still probably pass a great deal of it before it was all converted to fat.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017