When it comes to social media trends, there's no lack of "challenges" out there to keep folks entertained. Some are for great causes, Remember that viral Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014? (Have a bucket filled with ice water poured all over you and raise money for the ALS Association.) Some, like the Blackout Challenge, are downright dangerous. And others — like the Blue Poop Challenge — are just so bizarre sounding that people can't help but jump on the bandwagon.
So what is the Blue Poop Challenge, anyway? Let's take a closer look at this unique trend and how, exactly, you can participate. You know, if that's something you're interested in.
The Blue Poop Challenge involves eating muffins with food coloring.
Unsurprisingly, the Blue Poop Challenge is exactly what it sounds like: The end goal is to turn your poop a bluish hue. The real question here is why would someone purposely want to see that color staring back at them from the toilet bowl.
It all started with the research group ZOE, which officially launched the Blue Poop Challenge on May 18, 2021. The challenge is based on research from its PREDICT study, which was published in the medical journal Gut in March.
The study involved 863 healthy people eating food with blue dye in order to monitor their gut transit times — aka the time it takes for food to travel from your mouth to the porcelain throne — and it showed a link between gut transit times and gut health.
Tim Spector, who is a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, was a co-author of the ZOE study. As Spector explained, a person's gut microbiome (which is composed of bacteria, microorganisms, viruses, and fungi) is important for their overall health.
"There are trillions of these guys and they are crucial for many bits of our body running well,” he told . “This includes things like how well we digest food, how we deposit fat, our mental state, whether we’re hungry or full, and it’s really important for our immune system as well.”
Now, ZOE is calling for people to eat blue-colored muffins in order to monitor their gut transit times. The goal is to educate people about their gut health and to get people talking about their poop.
Here's how to participate in the Blue Poop Challenge.
Participating in the Blue Poop Challenge is pretty straightforward.
- First, make some muffins with blue food coloring added in. (You can find a recipe here.)
- Next, eat two of these blue muffins for breakfast.
- Finally, time how long it takes for you to have a bowel movement with a blue-green color — and write down the time.
- Go to the Blue Poop Challenge website to find out what your "poo personality’" is.
To give you an idea of the wait time to expect (and what it potentially means) when participating in the Blue Poop Challenge, shorter transit times of about 20 hours typically indicate a healthier gut and long transit times of 30-plus hours could indicate an unhealthy microbiome.
“We want to educate people so they start talking about gut health without embarrassment,” Spector — whose gut transit time is around 18 hours, in case you were wondering — told HuffPost UK. “It’s always a shock because I forget until I look in the toilet. It’s a shocking blue!”
So yeah. If your grocery store suddenly runs out of blue food coloring, at least you know why.
What do you think about the Blue Poop Challenge? Are you going to give it a try?