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Bit of a disgusting question - sorry!

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Old 02-22-2009, 01:22 PM   #1
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Default Bit of a disgusting question - sorry!

I lurrrv veggies, so had a huge plate of them with a small amount of roast pork for my Sunday lunch today. Now, I'm assuming I've just overdone the brussels sprouts, there was nothing wrong with the meat, but er um life has been somewhat 'urgent' for the last 2 hours

So my question is: if food doesn't stay around inside you that long, do the calories still count?

Just wondered.
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:40 PM   #2
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Yes, no, maybe.

Where diarrhea and/or vomiting are concerned, there's no easy way to determine how many, if any calories "counted."

Different folks have different strategies. Counting them all, counting none or trying to guestimate all have advantages and disadvantages. My personal strategy is generally to be very careful about what I choose to eat, but listen to my body, and consider the situation.

If it's just diarrhea, I assume that the calories have been absorbed, and what I'm losing is fluids, so that's whay I try to replace (by drinking non-caloric, or low calorie beverages).

If it's vomiting, I eat only if and when I am quite hungry and don't eat foods or amounts that I don't think will stay down. It's not only a matter of not wanting to try to decipher what if anything stayed down, it's just a comfort issue. I don't want to make myself sicker. Comfort and common sense, I think will take you a long way. If I'm feeling ok otherwise, I generally do still count everything and note on my journal page that I was sick. However, if I've reach my caloric limit and I'm still hungry, I don't try to figure out how much I threw up to decide how much I can still eat. I just make my choices carefully and "count" them all, realizing that the calorie count for the day isn't particularly accurate.


If I'm sick as a dog, I don't count calories (of course, I'm usually not eating much on those days either). I still pay at least some attention to what I eat, not using "I'm sick" as a reason to eat anything and everything in sight. Instead I try to make careful choices and rest. Out of habit, I run a calorie total in my head. I use an exchange plan, so an onplan day I'm checking off boxes on my journal page. However, 36 years of dieting means I've memorized the calorie content in virtually all of the foods I eat regularly. I don't worry too much if my "sick calories" are a little higher than my typical on plan day, but I'm careful not to turn a sick day into a binge day (Bad colds and sore throats are the worst, because I crave comfort foods really badly).
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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I would hazzard a guess and say Yes you must count it,
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
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I did a bit of research on a related question recently, and what I found out is this: It takes your digestive system approximately 20-24 hours (on average) to process food intake into .. um .. output. Every time you eat, however, it triggers the digestive process to move earlier .. input .. along.

In other words, what you are experiencing as "urgent" may very well be made urgent by the food you just ate - but it's yesterday's input, not today's.

Did that help? LOL.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:47 PM   #5
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I'd still count it. When you "went", it was probably mostly already digested food from before. You might have missed some nutrients or water absorption in the lower intestine, but not likely calories. The food you ate that night, even though it made you go, was probably still sitting in your stomach 2 hours later.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #6
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Like eileen said- food takes 24 hours to process- so that "urgent" feeling was from the food you ate the day before.

One time camping my mom's friend would go to the bathroom right after she ate- and she was thin- and my mom was like you always go right after? And she said "yup food just goes through me that fast- must be why I don't gain weight." After I laughed my arse off after her (it's a friend I could never stand) I explained to her that was impossible lol.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:07 AM   #7
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wow that's interesting, I did not know about how long it took food to process. I've learnt something here - I had honestly been just curious, I wasn't planning to erase the calories.

so just to help my education a bit more:

I'm generally Very Regular, every morning and every night, generally around mid-day too. Especially at mid-day, it's lunch that sets me off - about 30 - 60 minutes later, life becomes a bit urgent. I wonder what it is that sets things off then, if it's not the actual food consumed?
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:15 AM   #8
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http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dig...system/AN00896

explains it pretty well. If you think of the intestines as a long tube that is filled with (well, you know). When food leaves your stomach it's in a paste form and that paste pushes against the paste that's already in the intestines (from meals the day or days previously). In a sense it's like a tube of playdough. If the tube is filled with dough, pushing more dough into the tube pushed the dough out the other side, but what comes out isn't the dough you put just put in, it was the dough that was already in the tube.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:14 AM   #9
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I love the delicacy! 'dough' - fantastic, and thanks for the link.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:18 AM   #10
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Funny description!

20-24 hours seems like a long time, and I've noticed things going thru me faster, so I wonder if thats true all the time? And what about lactose issues? I accidently had too much milk with my dinner and spent quite a bit of time in the washroom afterwards... but it wasn't from yesterday's dinner, it was from today's, and I can guarantee that since I keep such a detailed food journal. I guess you could eat corn to really find out

As for your question... A calorie is a calorie, I'd definitely count it.

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Old 02-23-2009, 01:08 PM   #11
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I think everyone is different, and for some people there are some foods that go through quicker than others. I have some foods, like spinach for instance, and some berries, that go through me quicker, and if I am having problems in "that" department I will purposely eat them to move things along.

It also depends what you are eating. Soups, liquids obviously go through your body quicker than meats and heavier foods. But I do agree, what is coming through generally is not what you just ate at all, but the previous days.

I think it is better to count everything you eat, as your body is going to use some of it, and you can't know what calorie or carb amount that actually was...

Interesting thread, we talk about everything, don't we?
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:29 PM   #12
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Have you got irritable bowel syndrome? I think that can make things 'urgent' as you politely put it? =)
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:01 PM   #13
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Ok, I'll echo what everyone else has said about a normal bowel transit time (the "official" term for the time from eating to output, as it were), is about 20-24 hours, with some individual variations (18-36 hours is "normal").


(Warning: possible TMI details below!)



At the same time, I can definitely mention that personal experience with IBS issues that things can move along much, much faster under the wrong circumstances. With that said, anything under 12 hours usually means you can recognize "elements" of your food on its way out - you will be able to tell if things are digesting or not!

With that in mind, my approach is "if it looks like poo, it's poo" - if you're not seeing intact salad pieces and veggie bits coming out, you're probably processing and absorbing the vast majority of the nutrients from the food.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:01 PM   #14
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As a person with IBS, I do sometimes wonder if my body sometimes does process food more quickly and perhaps incompletely. As usually my "too fast" and "too slow" bouts occur fairly in proportion, but when I have a string of "too fast" days I do seem to lose more weight and more quickly, so I do wonder whether some of the calories "didn't count" (I never try too adjust the math though, I just still count as I always do).

Of course, the other possibility is that just "cleaning out the system" or water loss is responsible for the extra weight loss.
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