Why doesn’t corn digest?
Why does corn come out whole when I have a bowel movement? We’re sure it’s a question you’ve asked yourself… maybe even one you asked out loud. No food other than corn (or very few others) seems to show up whole in your poop. First of all, don’t feel bad about looking in the toilet in the first place — looking at your poop, corn or no corn, is a good way to monitor your health.
We use AdBlockers too!
But only on sites with annoying pop-ups, pop-unders, and other irritating ads. We know that if you want information about poop, you're probably in a hurry. So we only have simple unobtrusive ads to help keep this content free and updated.
Turning off your AdBlocker is a FREE and simple way to say thanks for anything you find here.
Of course, you might tell yourself, “I chewed the corn… even if it shows up in my poop, why is it whole?” It would make sense, if you just swallowed the corn whole, that it would go through your digestive system whole and come out in your bowel movement the same way. You’re pretty sure that you chewed the corn with the rest of your food but it seems to come out whole.
If you reread the above you’ll notice we said the corn SEEMS to come out whole. You’re thinking corn doesn’t digest so comes out whole in your poop, but there’s a trick. Not a trick that requires an abracadabra but a visual trick.
First, let’s talk about how corn is built. The outer layer of corn, called the hull, is made up of a rubbery substance that doesn’t break down easily — while chewing or in your digestive system. The inside of the corn kernel — the part that has the most nutrition — is much easier to chew and digest. Think of chewing a miniature balloon with mashed potatoes in it. Chewing releases the potato, but the balloon remains largely intact.
However, we’re not talking about balloons or potatoes in your poop… we’re talking about corn showing up whole in the toilet.
Your body lacks an enzyme that’s required to break down the cellulose in the corn hull. Like the balloon above the corn hull goes through your digestive deflated and, because it can’t be broken down it retains its color and general shape. But, while the hull is moving through your bowels, it gets packed with all the other stuff in your system. So, the corn you find IN your poop is actually corn hulls PACKED with poop.
Just because you find corn in your poop doesn’t mean corn is bad for your digestion. Although the high amount of cellulose might cause cramps or gas you’d usually have to eat very large amounts of it for that to happen.
Corn in your poop? Not a problem! In fact some people have been heard to say that corn is just nature’s way of letting you time your digestive cycle.
Is there a pooping question we haven’t answered?
Or anything else you’d like to see on Poopular Mechanics?
Please let us know on the contact page.
SORRY! Our contact form is broken at the moment, but we’re trying to fix it!