Froot Loops. When you say the name, a myriad of colorful loops of cereal immediately comes to mind. You can’t seem to get enough of the delightful little round things dunked in milk and sweetened to taste. However, try to eat too much of them and the next time you go to the toilet, another thought will pop up: Froot Loops and green poop. Is there a connection?
In 1963, Froot Loops was introduced by Kellog’s, a US cereal company, to make up for the failure of its other brand, Oks. The management hated the thought that all of the equipment that they have invested so much money in would become useless, so they set out to invent a new brand that would be compatible to the machinery. They also gave Froot Loops a mascot named Toucan Sam.
The original name was supposed to be ‘Fruit Loops’ but it was later changed to ‘Froot Loops’ due to an alleged lawsuit about the lack of fruit in the cereal. When the product was first released, there were only red, orange, and yellow loops. The colors were meant to represent cherry, orange, and lemon respectively. Later on, more colors like green, purple and blue were added in the 1990s to mimic a blend of artificial fruit flavors.
What’s In The Froot Loops?
Froot Loops are fun to eat and you might remember taking too much time as a child sorting through the bright colors of your favorite breakfast cereal. Definitely eye-catching, and a bowl of the colorful offering is enough to start your day. But what are the ingredients behind those multi-colored loops?
Did you notice that you’re starting to have bright green poop? By green, we mean the shockingly bright and nearly phosphorescent type of green that looked like it came from an alien. If you happen to love eating Froot Loops in the morning, then the answer to the puzzle that originated from the toilet bowl is right there in your breakfast bowl!
This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that Froot Loops contains several food dyes:
- Red 40
- Blue 2
- Turmeric Color
- Yellow 6
- Annatto Color
- Blue 1
The dyes are all artificial except for the Turmeric Color which contributes to the shade of the bright yellow loops. The normal color of stool is brown which happens when bile, a yellowish-green digestive fluid from the liver, is metabolized by the intestines. Apparently, food dyes also interact with bile to cause certain unusual colors of poop.
The term ‘fruity poop’ came about to refer to the greenish feces of a person who is fond of consuming fruity breakfast cereals like Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, or Trix. Other possible sources of green poop are Jell-O, fruit snacks, and drinks like Kool-aid which contain a lot of artificial food coloring.
The Kool-aid Connection
As a rule, your stool color tends to come out the same color as the fluid that you have imbibed in. In a blind study conducted with 24 volunteers, they were made to drink between 1 to 24 glasses of Kool-aid containing blue and red dyes. They found out that the more glasses of Kool-aid the participants consumed, the brighter green their poop became.
Why From Blue To Green?
If you’re wondering why green came out from the experiment, PoopReport has a scientific explanation for this. The culprit is the blue dye. Just like when mixing blue paint and yellow paint makes green paint, so did the blue food coloring when combined with bile turn up weird-looking bright green poop.
In the study, they served purple Kool-aid which was the outcome when the blue and red dyes were merged. However, it was the blue dye that interacted with the bile pigments and certain enzymes in the participant’s stomach which produced the green stool. Eating blue-colored food can make you produce green poop.
Other Foods That Cause Green Poop
It’s a given that food dye can cause poop to turn green. The type of bright green that makes you want to run to the nearest doctor. However, there are other more natural shades of darker green poop that can result from ingesting common foods or medicine and they include:
- Green food powder
- Leafy greens, like kale and spinach
- Juice from fruit and vegetable juicing, especially while on a juicing fast
- Foods high in chlorophyll, a green pigment, like seaweed, algae and wheatgrass
- Iron Supplements
Poor Digestion Causes Green Poop
Aside from the food that you eat, green poop can also be sourced to having certain problems with digestion. Normally, as food travels along the GI tract and turns into stool, bile together with bacteria and enzymes in the colon slowly transform its color from green to yellow to brown.
However, there are times when the digestive process moves too fast. As a result, bile may not have sufficient time to be broken down the way it should be and your stool can come out colored green instead of brown. Here are some gastrointestinal issues that can cause you to pass green stool:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease
- Food Poisoning
- Gut Flora Imbalance
- Infections such as Giardia and Salmonella
Should You Worry?
Is having green poop something to be worried about? In general, your stool color can be attributed more to what you have recently eaten than to any type of disease. The only stool colors that you should worry about are red, white, and black (not dark green). Even then, not all black stools are a cause for concern as they may very well be due to your taking iron supplements or eating dark-colored foods like Oreos or liquorice candy.
Having green poop does not necessarily mean that you have a major gastrointestinal disorder. Rather, you should take a look at the ingredients of the food that you consume everyday, because it is almost always caused by food additives or food coloring. The only time you should go to your doctor after having green poop is when you feel sick at the same time.