Food Mass Transit

Food Mass Transit
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Most women experience a four-day intestine transit time; likely too long to meet the target 200 gram (half pound) minimum fecal output for cancer prevention.

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How long it takes food to get from one end to the other depends on gender and eating style. If you’re a vegetarian male, it should just be a day or two, though if you eat meat, it could end up being five days. Female vegetarians, also mostly one or two days, but those who eat meat are most likely looking at four days.

If it’s just 24, 36 hours, your daily stool weight, which is what’s flushing out all that excess estrogen and cholesterol, is probably going to hit that half-pound target—though if it’s a couple days, you’ll likely never make it.

Now, if you have a really good bathroom scale, you can measure stool weight directly, to see if you hit that half pound minimum—by, of course, weighing yourself before and after.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr

How long it takes food to get from one end to the other depends on gender and eating style. If you’re a vegetarian male, it should just be a day or two, though if you eat meat, it could end up being five days. Female vegetarians, also mostly one or two days, but those who eat meat are most likely looking at four days.

If it’s just 24, 36 hours, your daily stool weight, which is what’s flushing out all that excess estrogen and cholesterol, is probably going to hit that half-pound target—though if it’s a couple days, you’ll likely never make it.

Now, if you have a really good bathroom scale, you can measure stool weight directly, to see if you hit that half pound minimum—by, of course, weighing yourself before and after.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr

21 responses to “Food Mass Transit

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  1. Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out the other videos on bowel movements. Also, there are 1,449 subjects covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!

    1. I have a question and I’ve not yet found an answer
      I’m often constipated unless i eat LOADS of leafy green veggies, especially kale, and even then its not that it’s a lot it’s just easier to push, to not go into that much detail. I’ve been vegan for almost 2 years now and I eat whole foods, nothing processed, low protein, low fat. I read that TOO MUCH fiber can be the cause and to scale back but it just sounds counter intuitive to me. i get anywhere between 30 and 60 grams of fiber

      Thanks so much for all your dedication to research and education for all of us its so greatly recognized and appreciated! :)

        1. Thanks for the suggestion! No interruption at all :) I drink 3L a day sometimes more. No alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine either. Appreciate the advice though, thank you

  2. Dr. Greger

    What advise do you have for those who need to transition from eating low-bulk meat based diet that has them severely constipated to a healthy whole food plant based diet.

    Specifically, I have an Aunt who has been doing the low-carb thing for years. She is very attractive and thin, but she is starting to notice the complications: severe constipation. She has seen my health and weight improve and allowed me to feed her Whole Food Plant Based for a few days. Unfortunately, I believe the bulk was very uncomfortable since she was so stopped up from her previous diet.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    1. Jeff, I’m not a doctor, but it will likely clear out in a couple of days and she’ll probably be fine with a high-fibre diet. I wouldn’t worry about transition, except perhaps staying away from bananas and perhaps potatos. Of course, prunes and prune juice are always good for regularity! My guess is it would only be in the rarest of cases after the prune juice trick has been tried that a real, true blockage, would require medical treatment such as enema. She could also contact a massage therapist trained in massage for constipation. This can be done over the clothes, in the abdominal area, but requires a knowledge of the anatomy of the large intestine and familiarity with the protocol.

    2. Hi Jeff, A serious enough condition is often the best “wake-up” call for the sufferer of that condition to make a change. Sounds like your Aunt has consulted with you about her discomfort already and she has identified you as someone who is doing it right when it comes to health. Here’s a few tips to help her: add more greens and beans daily and other great sources of fiber, drink plenty of water (1/2 her weight in ounces), exercise 30min- 1 hour daily. A green smoothy in the morning can really get her on a great start.
      Most likely her constipation is just the tip of the iceberg- there may be another undesireable condition or 2 lurking to spring up on her such as heart disease. Here’s a link that may give her more reason to changing asap:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/beans-beans-good-for-your-heart/

    3. Give her a salad made of purple cabbage, kale broccoli and spinach. It’ll blow her out one good time and she won’t feel any more discomfort from eating plant matter. Or as I like to call it – food.

  3. Dr Greger,

    I deal constantly with constipation (IBS + Crohn’s + med side effects). Scrounging the Internet one day in desperate need, I came across cureconstipationnow.com and the complementary book. If you haven’t heard of Dr Wes, he is a similar dr, complaining about the lack of nutritional and dietary advice given by doctors to their patients, and the subsequent lack of discussion on one’s bowel habits. Anyways, his “prescription” is fiber supplement 2x/day, either citrucel sugar free or benefiber (eventually working to psyllium), along with miralax as needed. (Apropos, i am already vegan and exercise several times a week). As long as I stick with the regimen (sometimes harder than you think to drink all those big glasses!), I’m more or less a consistent pooper. I recommend the book to anyone complaining about their bowel habits; it’s practically a miracle, yet so simple! I was just curious as to your take on these recommendations and any changes you would make. Thanks!

      1. Ah, wait, it looks like this chart only reflects 47 participants. So it could easily be something idiosyncratic with this particular sample. The authors even mention that, “The small numbers of observations precluded a reliable analysis of the results for the sexes separately.”

      2. Ah ha! Dr Gregor got this wrong in his book on page 65 and over-interpreted the sex difference (citation 22). Something to fix in the next edition.

  4. I am wondering if 15-18hours are enough for the body to get all necessary nutrition from the food. Is this a time span that can be considered too short? I tested the time (not only once) by eating red beets, and no, I am not adding anything to speed the process up, I eat only raw and cooked vegetables, legumes and some fruits and maybe I drink too much coffee and matcha tea. (+ I am female, so it is not necessarily true that men digest their food quicker than women do.)

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