Green Poop: The Implications Of Food Dye On Poop Color

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Editor's note: here's the short answer -- blue food coloring turns your poop green. Keep reading to find out more, and then peruse the many, many comments for corroboration.

Since my freshman year in college (a small liberal arts college in
northern Vermont), I've been fascinated with the correlation between the ingestion of
food-coloring and the color of the poop produced. Lest you think I'm fabricating, here's the background:

The year was 1996. I was a biochem major at St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont.
I had consumed copious quantities of Purplesaurus Rex
Kool-aid in a one night time frame. A few hours later, I pooped. It was
green. Bright green. I was fascinated, and called as many of my
floor-mates as would come into the stall to marvel at the miracle of the
"not brown, not bloody shit".












I was a bit of a celeb for a while, until others replicated my
"experiment". Similar results ensued, with me being notified of each event
via e-mail. So, a craze started.

As the progenitor of the new species of poo, I was caught in the middle. Research spread far and wide; of
a campus of 2700 students, I was receiving up to 45 e-mails a day from
poopexplorers.

Anyway, enough drivel. Here's the science:

The dye used in purplesaurus Rex is FDA Blue #5, and dye-lake
red. Turns out that when metabolized in sufficient quantity, the blue dye combines
with bile, and forms a brilliant green. The red, absorbing at a 595nm
spectrum, is harmlessly eliminated.

What matters is quantity. I consumed 6
liters of the Kool-aid in the night in question (sans alcohol, that comes
later). I set up a study in the dorm, with people consuming anywhere from
(1) 250mL glass of the stuff (approximately (1) 8oz glass) to the maximum tested
so far, 6L. The experiment was structured on a single-blind study (won't get FDA
approval, but sufficient), with only myself knowing what each was consuming.

How did the experiment come into being, you might ask? Well, I campaigned for 24 "volunteers"
(the first consuming 1 glass, the last consuming 24 glasses). How did they
not know what they were drinking? Well, since it was only single-blind,
they essentially did -- though all were required to drink 6L of fluid total,
and ordered not to defecate at all in the 6 hours of the experiment.

Example: Subject 1 received 250mL of the subjected test substance, and
5.75L of water. Subject 2 received 500mL of the stuff and 5.5L of water.

Everyone was agreeable at first, but soon dissention reigned prime. But order
was maintained. After 6 hours, orders were given to poop, supervised (more or less).
Since I had unrestricted access to the chem and bio labs, samples of each
"extrusion" were taken, in the amount of 2g.

The results were heartening. I plan on getting a PhD (which, in this instance would probably mean, "PUSH
HARDER, DUMMY!") on this someday, so I won't post my final data, just enough
to give an idea:


  • Subject 1: 250mL Purplesaurus Rex with 5750mL water:

    Stool, firm and brown. Spectrophotometer reading: normal.

  • Subject 12: 3000mL Purplesaurus Rex with 3000mL water:

    Stool, firm(ish) and green(ish). Spec reading 550nm (definitely Green...just not GREEN)
  • Subject 24: 6000mL Purplesaurus Rex with 0mL water:

    Stool, Firm(ish) and
    Green, resplendent of original test subject (me). Spec reading, 535nm. Definition of GREEN confirmed.

  • Further experiments considered fruit punch (mostly synthetic, only 2.5%
    fruit juice), Hi-C of various persuasions, and various and sundry other
    store-bought concoctions.

    If you're interested in my results, let me know...I'll gladly share them for
    the good of society.

    -- Dave J




    On May 27 2003, PoopReport.com received this email. Dave J, the author of the above piece, was so happy that he wanted this added to his story as proof that writing for PoopReport can improve people's lives.

    dear poopreport,

    i know you may find this hard to believe, but you just eased my mind tremendously about our daughter's "poop situation." beginning yesterday about 5p.m. our daughter began having bright green dirty diapers. she has had four in a 24 hour period and i (being an over paranoid mom) have contacted everyone i know, including our pediatrician, and no one had any answers other than it will probably go away. that response just does not cut it with me. i had to have answers. i have been on-line non-stop trying to dig up a possible answer. i told our doctor that the only new food or drink she had consumed was "purple kool-aid" and lots of it. he told me that purple kool aid would not produce green stool. after reading your article i realize it can. thank you soooo much. after hours of searching and worrying, i am off to bed.

    -- grateful mom


    1629 Comments on "Green Poop: The Implications Of Food Dye On Poop Color"

    Anonymous's picture

    How long does the poop stay colored? after a late snack Saturday night & then breakfast Sunday AM of Market Pantry Frosted Fruit O's (Target branded fruit loops), my son's poop was bright green and still is. It's now Tuesday night. It even colors the toilet water green.
    Need colored poop duration please :)
    Thank You,
    Sherry
    ecomdesigns@gmail.com

    ChiefThunderbutt's picture
    PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

    There is no definitive answer to your question. Sarah Lefkowitz, a registered dietitian, offers the following;

    "Average intestinal transit time (how long it takes for your food to become poo) is about 40 – 45 hours."

    Note that the key word is "average" some people may have a faster rate of peristalsis and some people may be slower.

    If I had two faces do you think I'd be wearing this one?

    Anonymous's picture

    I ate blue-colored shave ice and had perfectly green loose poop for a couple of days. My boyfriend took only a bite from my shave ice and had a hint of green color in his poop. It was great to read this study. Good luck with the PhD.

    Anonymous's picture

    Frosting with a tonne of blue food coloring does it too. My 4 year old had cake with bright blue frosting that I made and her poop was bright green. [I found this website by looking online to see if I should call her Dr in the morning]

    Anonymous's picture

    I made coconut popsicles with blue food colouring to distinguish them from my white soursop popsicles. I had about 6 yesterday and this morning I got the bright green poo. I was so amazed that I invited everyone I came into contact with to see it (only my aunt came. The others were grossed out...lol). Its awesome!!

    Anonymous's picture

    I just pooped and my poop was like St. Patrick's Day green!!! I was tripping out trying to figure out if I had eaten any green food but then I remembered that I had drank a blue raspberry kool aid bottle!!!!!!! My poop looked kool

    Anonymous's picture

    I've eaten about half a kilo of blue bon-bons over the last few days and it has definitely caused some side effects. I thought I'd shat a bullfrog.

    ChiefThunderbutt's picture
    PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

    I once worked for a large store that had a custom bakery. Occasionally a customer would not pick up a special order and it would be placed in the break room for the enjoyment of the employees.

    Once, a cake that was decorated with black icing was left for us to consume. The next day all the buzz was about the brilliant green poops literally all of us had taken. Mine was the color of green creme de menthe and was lovely to behold. Unfortunately its aroma was not improved.

    If I had two faces do you think I'd be wearing this one?

    Anonymous's picture

    This is sooooooo true! I found out this past weekend.

    Anonymous's picture

    The Black Whopper at Burger King makes your poop green!

    Anonymous's picture

    Are you familiar with the hub bub going on with the black bun Burger King whoppers? Everyone is freaking out over their green poo!

    Anonymous's picture

    I've had a 16oz cup of blue raspberry slush and about 10 hrs later my stool came out deep blue-green. This did cause me some concern. Maybe I'm just being overly paranoid.

    Anonymous's picture

    Voortman's cookies and creme wafers. Nothing else to say.

    Anonymous's picture

    Well thank goodness I found this yesterday me and my best friend ate a lot of blue candy and this morning I completely freaked out when I went to the bathroom and realized that green, bright green, was the color of my poop. I asked my bff if this had happened to him and he said he hasn't pooped yet and I was like well look forward to it lol! Anyway thank you this morning I was literally begging God to spare me because I thought I was going to die so panic over ,

    Anonymous's picture

    Another happy pooper here! I ate a couple of little cakes from Walmart with black icing on and had stunningly green poop this morning. I suspected it was the icing, but nice to know that other people have had similar experiences and it's not going to cause me a rough time on my flight home tomorrow.

    Anonymous's picture

    12 years of green poop scares and reports. Congrats on the single most prolific article I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

    p.s. Electric Blue Energy and More! 12oz cans, fiance and I had at least 3 each.

    Anonymous's picture

    So relieved to finds this! Lifelong Mets fan, World Series, bagel store making blue and orange bagels...you see where this is going, don't you? Thank you!

    Anonymous's picture

    Hi! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4.
    I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any recommendations, please share.

    Thank you!

    Anonymous's picture

    Super delayed comment, but I ate tri-colored nachos 3 nights ago and I'm still pooping bright green. Needless to say, most of the nachos I ate were a dark blue color. I am never eating food coloring again. >_<

    Anonymous's picture

    I drank a 44oz Ocean Water twice in two days and was having a panic attack over the GREEN poop! This post just saved me from calling in sick and going to the doctor in a panic! THANKS!!!

    Anonymous's picture

    best choice brand "blueberry" fruit & grain cereal bars!!! You only need a few.

    Anonymous's picture

    On the subject of rainbow poop has anyone tried Guinness. Unfortunately, it does turn your poop a brighter shade of pale but deeper demon altogether, almost black.

    Anonymous's picture

    Fruity pebbles...lots of it. Everyday. My shit is glowing neon green.

    Anonymous's picture

    Drank 4 glasses of red wine then a grape bylaws pop and for 3 days have had emerald green poop. Should I be concerned??

    ChiefThunderbutt's picture
    PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

    I don't know what a "grape bylaws pop" is but I would be concerned that the wine supply might be getting low.

    I just read about a Spanish man who recently died at the age of 107 and never drank water. He did however drink four bottles of wine each day.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/man-lives-to-107-by-only-drinking-red-wine-a6854906.html

    If I had two faces do you think I'd be wearing this one?

    Anonymous's picture

    You saved my life. I was horrified I was sick when I saw bright green poo and hadn't eaten veggies. It was grape Crush drink water enhancer in their tiny purse size bottles. It's so purple you don't have to drink but 3 or 4 drinks. Thanks for this important info. Otherwise I'd been at the Dr for nothing.

    Anonymous's picture

    Can't believe this site is still active after 13 years, but thanks for the gross experiment you did! I ate a couple pieces of cake with bright blue frosting last night at my brothers birthday and today I had very green stool. Took me a while to figure it out, and your site confirmed it.

    Thanks!

    Anonymous's picture

    I can confirm the same results with licorice flavored ice cream!

    Anonymous's picture

    It's the Lucky Charms. Same thing happens to me if I eat them.

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