BLUE #1 makes for blue #2
June 13, 2007 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Is there a supplement or other item I can ingest with breakfast that will help me digest BLUE #1?

I love my sweetened breakfast cereals (Cap'n Crunch w/ Crunchberries and Fruit Loops) but pooping bright blue or green later in the day honestly freaks me out. After some empirical eating I think I've narrowed down the blue poop culprit to the common cereal ingredient BLUE #1. What can I eat with my morning milk-filled bowl of delicious, sweet cereal that will keep my poop a 'normal' color and my delicate sensibilities intact come midday evacuation?

I know this sounds ridiculous, but I have to approach such a weird and intimate neurosis with a bit of humor. Please just answer the question, and if you need to address my querying style I have email or there's MetaTalk.
posted by carsonb to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think you're digesting Blue #1 just fine. If you don't want your poop to be blue, you probably will have to stop eating blue #1. Just as if you don't want corn kernels in your poop you'll have to stop eating corn.
posted by dead_ at 9:27 AM on June 13, 2007

Yeah, if you're wondering if its normal, it is. In fact, it is touted as one of the benefits of the dye. It just isn't digested.
posted by ALongDecember at 9:30 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Since it's just coloring additives, you could also eat more additives of other colors and thus give your poop an "average" shade of brown.
posted by junesix at 9:32 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think you would want the blue to come out. You certainly don't want it to stay in there. The blue dye is probably a nondigestible chemical, which is why it comes out so blue. The best way to avoid blue poo is to eat natural or at least non-dyed foods.

As for color correction, maybe you can try eating artificially orange foods. Orange is blue's color complement and may help dull the color to a more poo-like brownish tone. Hope you like Cheetos!
posted by boomchicka at 9:33 AM on June 13, 2007

Response by poster: you could also eat more additives of other colors
Orange is blue's color complement and may help dull the color to a more poo-like brownish tone.

OK, I looked a bit into food colorings and found that of the 7 FDA approved additives Yellow #6 aka Sunset Yellow is used as orange. I can't find any information as to whether it is digested or not (like Blue #1 is not), so I'll just have to try it out. I'm headed to the grocery right now to pick some up, and I will report back if adding some to the milk helps any.
posted by carsonb at 9:59 AM on June 13, 2007

Seconding trying other color additives. This is so excellent. I imagine people all over the world with color-wheels in grocery stores, trying to determine exactly what foods to consume in order to arrive at healthy burnt sienna- or raw umber-colored stools.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:08 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I tend to take CSPI's warnings with a grain of salt, but for the record, they warn that
Industry-sponsored animal tests indicated that this dye, the third most widely used, causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. In addition, small amounts of several carcinogens contaminate Yellow 6. However, the FDA reviewed those data and found reasons to conclude that Yellow 6 does not pose a significant cancer risk to humans. Yellow 6 may also cause occasional allergic reactions.
Of course that's probably no worse than half of the rest of the ingredients in those cereals, although there was a warning in Britain recently. Only one country (Norway) has banned its use so far.

I don't think you'll be able to buy Yellow 6 at the grocery store, though. It's an industrial food dye. Specifically, it's not the food colouring you buy in little vials for colouring icing.
posted by mendel at 10:10 AM on June 13, 2007

And stay away from eating too many beets, because that would probably scare the hell outta you the next morning...
posted by elendil71 at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2007

Poop is brown because of the iron in processed (by your body) dead blood cells. I think I would rather have nice blue poop, which has at least been FDA approved!

Anyway, eating orange dye may not produce the intended results, depending on how your body metabolizes different dyes (a fascinating read). (But perhaps you could find some other colour, possibly in individual packets prepared for mixing with solvent [water] and consumption!)
posted by anaelith at 10:28 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I too am very impressed by your idea of color compensating one's excrement, junesix.

Boomchicka's idea of orange would work perfectly, I bet, and I would also bet you'd get very satisfactory results from pills of turmeric, which you should probably be taking anyway.

But while you've still got the blues, why not sprinkle some very fine gold-leaf confetti on your cereal? Just for the sake of a single glittering memory amidst the endless dull rounds of compulsory daily inspection, you know.
posted by jamjam at 10:36 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can probably get liquid or gel food coloring at a baking supply store. Also anaelith is right, you might have to experiment until you find an orange that's not digested by the body, like the blue, in order for this shenanigan to work. Also while I have to admit I'm interested to hear if it does work, maybe don't keep it up for too long. I hate to think what all these chemicals are doing to you long-term.
posted by boomchicka at 10:40 AM on June 13, 2007

Try to increase Bilirubin levels?
posted by exlotuseater at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2007

Man, I get excited by variations in the color of my stool. It's like a festive intestinal decorator stopped by!
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:08 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Is there any real reason that you have to observe your own poop?
posted by nanojath at 1:12 PM on June 13, 2007

nanojath asked: Is there any real reason that you have to observe your own poop?
Perhaps for one of those popular year of pictures displays on Flickr?
posted by Cranberry at 2:25 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I ate a ton (probably literally) of Fruit Loops and associated cereals in my youth.

I do not once remember my poop coming out colored. And that is something I would remember.

Now it makes me wonder what my body is doing with all that blue.
posted by Ynoxas at 2:34 PM on June 13, 2007

I had a neighbor who's dog ate crayons. The yard had a whole rainbow of different poops, including silver and gold. Good times.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:29 AM on June 14, 2007

Response by poster: OK, I've spent the last couple of days having extremely concentrated Tang along with my Cap'n Crunch with (pirate shaped) Crunchberries. I am disappointed to report that countering Blue #2 with Yellow #5 has no effect on the outcome. Still blue. =(
posted by carsonb at 5:17 AM on August 15, 2007

I think you would want the blue to come out. You certainly don't want it to stay in there.

There's a third possibility: breaking it down chemically into component, non-harmful parts that do not have the property of being blue. Just because something goes through one's system harmlessly doesn't mean that one has "digested" it—that's the whole idea behind dietary fiber "roughage", in fact.

Pooping out without dying != digesting. Enzymatic breakdown of food into usable nutrients &c = digesting. And if there's no clever way to get Blue #1 to break down in the gut, it's gonna come out blue on the other end.
posted by cortex at 8:29 AM on August 15, 2007

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