Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?
A lot of you folks are a coffee lovers, but aside
from the buzz we get from a cup of joe, there
is often one other… noticeable side effect.
Why on Earth does coffee
make us have to poop?
So it’s widely understood that coffee
has a laxative effect on some people.
What’s not so clear is why.
For a while people blamed caffeine, but the
same effect can be had from decaf as well.
Not to mention, people don’t commonly have
this sort of response to energy drinks or sodas,
so what else is going on in a cup of joe?
When you drink coffee, its acidic nature
has an effect on your stomach.
Coffee causes the stomach to secrete a heightened
level of gastric acid, a digestive compound
that helps your body break down proteins.
Coffee also contains a compound called chlorogenic
acid that increases stomach acid levels.
This boost in acidity can cause the stomach to dump
its content more quickly into the intestines.
This could be one of many contributing factors.
It has been proven that coffee affects the movement
of the large intestines within four minutes of
ingestion, similar to the way a large meal does.
There are nearly 1000 different compounds
found inside a cup of coffee, and while scientists
can be certain that at least one of these is the
culprit, they still aren’t quite sure yet
which triggers this digestive call-to-arms.
On the other hand, they do have a sense of
what this mystery chemical or chemicals
are actually doing once inside your guts.
The body produces these two hormones to help
digest food (Show Gastrin and Cholecystokinin).
The consumption of coffee, decaf or not, has
been shown to increase the levels of these
compounds produced in our bodies,
enhancing their general effects.
Gastrin is a hormone that is released to help
get the colon up and running at full speed.
To do that, gastrin activates process called
peristalsis – the relaxation and contraction
of muscles that happens in waves to help move
waste to its final destination (show toilet).
Cholecystokinin also causes the release
of digestive enzymes and bile,
which help regulate the process of pooping.
By the way, this pooping effect has been shown to
only occur in about 3/10ths of the population, so
consider yourself special if you’re one of those three.
So we’ve kind of got the answer, but like many
things in the scientific world, we need more time
and more science to get the story straight!
Got any other food chemistry questions?
Post them down in the comments.
Interested in learning more about poop?
Check out gross science for their video on
what we can learn from ancient poop.
Also, make sure to check out Inside Science TV’s
new video on how visual illusions work.
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