If you are reading this article, chances are you have combed the Internet for answers to one of life’s most intriguing questions: “What does poop taste like?”
Well, I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that poop tastes just as terrible as you might expect.
The bad news is that no one knows what it actually tastes like because well-meaning scientists can’t stomach the idea of tasting their own concoctions.
I’ve been asked this question before, and I can’t answer it for you.
Well, if you are asking me what my poop tastes like then that would be a pretty personal question to ask someone.
So let’s just assume that this is the first time you have ever thought about what your poop tastes like and we will go from there.
Here are things that may affect your poop taste
There are three things that may affect the taste of your poop: medications, diet drinks/soda/fruit juice, and food allergies or sensitivities.
Let’s start with medication: some medicines cause changes in bowel habits as well as change the way something might taste when passed through the digestive tract; this includes everything from birth control pills to chemotherapy drugs such as cyclophosphamide.
To explore this question further, we need to follow the path of your food in order to find out what it tastes like when it comes back up and exits through your mouth: let’s start with orange.
When you eat a piece of fruit such as orange, much of its taste is due to citric acid which gives citrus fruits their tart flavor.
When you bite down on the orange, your teeth break open the cells of the fruit releasing its juice and breaking apart all of those tasty little acid molecules that give it a nice zesty taste.
Once inside your mouth, this acidic fluid begins to be mixed with saliva which contains enzymes like salivary amylase (ptyalin).
These enzymes begin to break down the sugars in your mouth, creating an even more pleasant sweet taste.
Along with this comes another enzyme called lingual lipase which breaks apart long fatty acids into shorter ones that are easier for your body to absorb and use as well.
When it comes time for digestion, however, these little guys (amylase and lipase) are no longer needed.
Your stomach acid begins to break apart the fruit into its smaller components, which is why you start tasting that orange more than ever before.
As you swallow it down, your esophagus contracts in order to move things along while also pushing food toward your stomach with peristalsis.
The journey doesn’t end here, folks!
In the stomach, things continue to get more complicated.
The orange is mixed with gastric acid and enzymes while being broken down into a slurry-like consistency called chyme by the stomach’s muscular contractions.
At this point in your body’s digestive process, you can expect some pretty significant changes: pepsin (a digestive enzyme) begins to break apart proteins, gastric lipase starts to break down the long fatty acids in the orange into shorter ones for easier use by your body.
But wait! There’s more: ptyalin continues its work from earlier and breaks down starches that were not broken down enough to be absorbed through salivary action.
As a result of all this mixing and breaking down going on in your stomach, you can expect the taste to change yet again.
So what does poop taste like?
Most people describe fecal matter as having a not-unpleasant taste and some descriptions such as “nutty” or “earthy”.
Overall, though, the fecal matter usually doesn’t have great flavor.
Well by now it’s chyme (a mixture of chewed food plus gastric acid/enzymes) which has been moved from the stomach to the small intestine.
The duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) contains bicarbonate which neutralizes the acidity coming from your stomach.
This also kills off any bacteria that you don’t want to be eating, so they are killed by this high pH environment; it is for this reason that chyme entering into the duodenum does not need to be acidic and is actually more alkaline than the chyme that came from your stomach.
Along with this, bile (a fluid made of water, electrolytes such as sodium and chloride ions, bicarbonate ions, fatty acids like cholesterol) which was secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder begins to mix with the chyme in order to break apart fats into fatty acids and glycerol.
The gallbladder also contains a digestive enzyme called cholecystokinin which helps this process along by signaling your stomach to empty out its contents once it has reached a certain consistency so that more bile can be released from the gallbladder and added to the mix.
By this time, you’re starting to get an idea of what your poop tastes like: but we haven’t even gotten into the anal stage yet.
As chyme moves from the duodenum through various parts of your small intestine (the jejunum & ileum), it’s being broken down even further by enzymes that are unique to each area of the small intestine which produces more acids, bicarbonate ions, and other digestive chemicals.
At this point, you’re ready for absorption.
As chyme moves through these various parts of your intestines it’s being broken apart into smaller components (amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars) which are easily absorbed by your intestinal cells.
As these components move through the lining of your intestines, some (like amino acids and fatty acids) will be taken up as nutrients for use in various places such as muscle tissue, while others like glucose are released into the bloodstream where it can travel to other parts of the body that need it most.
The journey doesn’t end here, folks.
Once the components of chyme are absorbed into your bloodstream for use by your body’s cells they will continue to be broken down further until eventually… poop is what you see in the toilet bowl after number two.
But really now…what does that taste like?