Happy Monday, and apologies for the in-depth discussion we’re about to have on how you should and shouldn’t be pooping.
We owe this discussion to The Gut Stuff, a start-up that’s very committed to ensuring that your gut is healthy, with a campaign to teach you how to analyse your poo so that you can make better life choices.
This has sparked a trend called ‘stool-gazing’.
The Guardian‘s Hannah Marriott’s interest was piqued when she spotted an advert showing the different shapes and sizes of stools that you might find in your loo.
They also encourage you to keep a diary, and have one on offer for only £10.
If you’re thinking that The Gut Stuff has cornered the market on this one, you’d be wrong. Stool-gazers have a variety of options when it comes to finding a poo guru.
Another company, Seed, which sells high-end probiotics in sleek frosted glass containers, often posts illustrations of number twos on Instagram. Unfortunately, Gwyneth Paltrow is involved as well, with a recent blog post on the Goop website promising to answer all of your “poop questions”.
It ends with the option to “Goop your Poop”.
Many of these companies draw on the Bristol Stool Chart, here for your consideration:
Look, I’m knocking it, mostly because it’s a Monday. It took a while to inhale my cup of coffee because of load shedding, and thinking about poo wasn’t high on the list of ways I wanted to kick off the week, but gut health is important.
The status of your stool could be useful for figuring out when something has gone wrong, or if you need to introduce a little more fibre into your diet.
Just don’t overdo it. It shouldn’t become a lifestyle.
“The Bristol stool chart wasn’t designed for this,” say Dr Duane Mellor, a British Dietetic Association spokesman and registered dietitian, referring to what he terms “lifestyle stool-gazing”.
Clinically, the Bristol scale is used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, or to help doctors diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), among other things. But Mellor has concerns about consumers using it, and focusing on poo too much, which may cause other symptoms and conditions to be overlooked.
The ins and outs (sorry) of gut health are incredibly complicated and best left to the professionals, not folks posting images like this on social media:
And, as a general rule, don’t ‘Goop’ anything, ever.
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