Do You Lose Weight By Going To The Bathroom?

Have you ever used the bathroom and emerged feeling like a new person, like you’re several pounds lighter? We feel so good after, which leads to a better day, overall. This feeling after finishing your business has led to the widespread belief that you lose weight when you poop.

Is that true, though?

Indeed, it's an interesting question. After all, a nice, productive bowel movement will often leave you feeling lighter, leaner, and more comfortable in your clothes. However, at the other end of the spectrum, when you are tied up or constipated, you typically feel full and bloated, and your pants are just a little bit tighter.

It turns out that this belief is partly based on fact. The feeling of lightness you sometimes experience after pooping is not just in your head. Depending on your body size and how frequently you have a bowel movement, your poop can make a slight difference in your weight.

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What is poop, and what happens when you go to the bathroom?

Since everyone’s digestive system is unique, there is no normal number of times for a person to use the bathroom. However, most healthcare professionals agree that the frequency range for normal bowel movements¹ may be as often as three times a day or as infrequent as three times a week.

When you have a bowel movement, your body also releases gas. The release of this gas reduces bloating and gives you the feeling that you have lost a little weight.

Note, however, that the weight lost from using the bathroom is temporary because the digestive system constantly processes food. You also replace the waste that leaves your body when you poop by eating more food.

How long it takes for your body to completely digest food and pass as waste is difficult to estimate. There is no way to track how long it takes for food to pass through the digestive system because every person’s body is unique, and every type of food breaks down differently.

Nonetheless, there have been several studies of the digestive process. Experts estimate that when a healthy adult eats a typical meal, it takes about four or five hours for the stomach to empty and around 30 to 40 hours for the waste to pass through the colon.²

Your stool is primarily composed of water.³ The rest is made up of undigested food, dead bacteria that aided in the digestion of your food, living bacteria, fats, salts, and other substances released by the intestines and liver.

While stool can be up to 75 percent water, the amount varies among individuals according to what they have eaten, how much fluid they consumed, and how long the waste stayed in the intestines.

How much weight do you lose when you poop?

It has been established that you can lose a small amount of weight when you poop; however, the weight loss is not significant. How much a person you lose varies based on several factors.

Also,  it is important to understand that it is more complicated than the general assumption that what goes in, must go out. Research on fecal weights has found that a person’s poop can weigh as little as 72 grams (about 2.5 ounces), or as much as 470 grams (about 16 ounces or 4 pounds).⁴ The weight of your stool is mainly dependent on your diet and the frequency of your bowel movements.

Now, dropping four pounds simply by using the bathroom sounds like a lot if you’re struggling to lose weight, but it's important to keep that in perspective. The number on your scale will fluctuate according to your bowel movement frequency.

In other words, when you are constipated or if you typically only poop every three days, your stool weight will increase a little. But if you usually have a bowel movement two or three times a day, the average weight of each stool is likely to be lower.

It’s not possible to determine the exact amount of waste that is in the body at any given time.⁵ Still, researchers estimate that the average adult produces about 128 grams, or 4.5 ounces, every day. The weight of your stool is dependent on several factors.

People who are taller or weigh more typically have heavier stools. The more fiber that you consume, the greater the weight of your stool.⁵ Additionally, increasing your fluid intake will typically cause you to produce heavier stools as the increased fluid passes through your body in your waste. The longer you wait to pass a stool, the drier and heavier it can get.

Why should you not rely on pooping for weight loss?

You do lose a small amount of weight when you poop, but it’s not an effective way to lose body fat, which is the weight that most dramatically affects your health. Experts say that visceral fat, the fat that accumulates around your waist, is the most dangerous.⁶

Unlike most fat that lies beneath the skin, visceral fat is stored deep in the abdominal cavity. It is associated with several medical conditions, including metabolism issues, increased risk of heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Research has also found a connection between abdominal fat and breast cancer as well as gallbladder disease in women.

Losing body fat requires the burning of more calories than is consumed. Therefore, the best way to lose body fat is through diet and exercise, rather than focusing on your bowel movements.

If you are overweight or obese and want to shed pounds, you should start by adding exercise to your daily routine. Try to get moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming, biking, or jogging, for about 30 minutes a day.

Increasing your activity level is also essential in keeping your bowel movements regular, and you may find that you poop more often after you start an exercise routine. Getting rid of your body wastes regularly contributes to a feeling of health and ensures a healthy gut. Thus, even if pooping does not lead to weight loss, it’s still a good idea to use the bathroom regularly.

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