There’s nothing quite like a good ol’ fashioned poop race, and if you’ve been looking for a fun one to participate in, may we suggest the #bluepoopchallenge? All you need to do is eat a couple of bright blue muffins, set your watch, and keep your eyes peeled for a big blue poop in your toilet. Once your extra festive doo doo plops out of your bum, head to bluepoopchallenge.com and enter your race time, and see if you’re a winner! (And by winner, we mean “have a healthy balance of gut bacteria,” and your prize is “bragging rights.”)
No matter how long it takes you to blast blue out your butt, you’re guaranteed to learn more about the wild, wild world of gut bacteria, thanks to host of the #bluepoopchallenge: ZOE, a healthcare company that focuses on gastrointestinal health. Earlier this year ZOE published the results of a study in which researchers fed blue muffins to thousands of participants and measured how long it took the blue dye to travel between inbox and outbox; additionally every single participant in the study had their poop individually analyzed by ZOE’s cutting-edge technology.
The results were wildly varied, with some participants dropping their blue kids off at the pool in as little as 12 hours, and some holding on to their Stinky Smurfs for several days, with an average time around 29 hours. The study also found that diet, hydration, and lifestyle aren’t the things that affect digestive speed; to keep things moving smoothly, the body relies on trillions of microbiomes that live in the human gut, and there are specific strains of bacteria that are associated with different poop speeds. Fast poopers showed they had a healthy balance of functional gut bacteria that allowed things to run smoothly. Slow poopers had more microbes that feed on protein, and fewer fiber-loving microbes that produce short-chain fatty acids that improve gut health, but they also had a greater diversity of microbes, which implies that having a huge variety of micromes in your poop shoot may not always translate into better health.
ZOE started the #bluepoopchallenge in hopes of educating the public about gut health, and, of course, to entice the public into signing up for their personalized poop-analysis services. The company will test your poop for all sorts of exciting things, then use the findings to suggests ways to improve your gut health through diet and lifestyle changes. Maybe, if you take good care of yourself, you, too, can one day become a blue poop champion.