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Why is Poop Brown?

poop, why is poop brown
Poop gets its color from the things that make it up. (Image credit: Stock.Xchng.)

Feces are fascinating. Flush down your initial grade-school scatological silliness and you'll discover in poop a world of energy efficiency and unparalleled waste management.

If machines, industries and nations ran as well as your stomach, intestines and colon, we could say goodbye to a lot of landfills. But why is poop brown?

The complex digestion process ensures that almost no useful energy goes unused. The average bowel movement is three parts water to one part solid matter. Bacteria make up 30 percent of the solid stuff. The same goes for indigestible foods like cellulose and extra fiber.

The remaining 40 percent contains various inorganic wastes, fats and used-up body substances like red blood cells, which are released from the liver in an orange-brown compound called bilirubin.

Bilirubin mixes with another liver product, yellowish bile, to give poop its distinctive brown hue.

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