I’m getting a lot of hits on this article, so before I go into my spiel, let me just say this: yes, eating too many cashews CAN send your poop white!
I found this out after I had a shock one day. I won’t go into graphic detail, but let’s just say after I’d been to take a dump, I almost had another unscheduled one when I saw what colour my poop was! And I almost had a third when I Googled it.
The internet is a great thing, but it must be a nightmare if you’re a hypochondriac. I mean, you get a pimple, you look it up… and it could be cancer. You get a toothache and you look that up… cancer again. A headache? Yep, cancer – or possibly a stroke, a heart attack, cirrhosis of the liver, or mange. And so it goes on. Fortunately, I’m not a hypochondriac, although I could easily become one if I was to believe everything I read through Google.
You see, the way the internet works for most people is this. You have a headache and you Google it. Some online doctor says it means you have a brain tumour, even though you were hit over the head with a baseball bat that afternoon – which prompted you to look it up in the first place. Evidently, the baseball bat did more damage than is immediately apparent, because you now believe the online medic and are subsequently convinced you have a tumour. But you don’t.
I’m not like that. The secret to good Googling is to know what to believe and what not to. Or rather, to sift out the crap and dig into the facts. Sometimes, though, you have to go in the other direction and sift through the utter crap and siphon off the lesser crap.
That’s what I had to do here. My starting point was that I had done something sufficiently different from normal – namely, I made some salted, roasted cashews and ate some. Well, when I say “some”, what I actually mean was about 500g of them over a period of about 24 hours (and about two thirds of that in one go). As you can probably tell, I like cashews, and since I hadn’t had any for about a year, I suddenly got a hankering for some. They were nice, and I didn’t give it much thought until my stomach started rumbling an hour or two later.
When I Googled the subject of “stool colour and cashew nuts” I was surprised at how many results came up. There was no bona fide medical stuff (other than dire warnings about cancer and scrofula), but lots of cases of people questioning poop colour after eating cashews. So many, in fact, that there was absolutely no way that there couldn’t be a connection.
So, to anyone out there who almost faints when they look in the bowl and see pure white number twos, the answer is categorically yes: eating too many cashew nuts can do that to your poop. And it would appear that there are other nuts and pulses which can do the same.
Incidentally, I have also discovered that eating a lot of black grapes can give your poop a green tinge.
Can eating a lot of cashews affect a child’s poop/stool colour?
Yes. And it wouldn’t need anywhere near as many nuts as it would for it to affect an adult.
Can eating a lot of walnuts affect your poop/stool colour?
Yes. From what I have been able to find out, eating a lot of any nut, pulse, and some dark-coloured fruits and vegetables can make your poop change colour. Green, very pale, even reddish/orange have been mentioned in the various sources I checked.
You need to be careful with red (and black) just in case it is due to blood in your poop rather than merely a pigmentation effect. If you see blood, get checked out by your GP.
[Disclaimer: if any problem lasts more than a day, go and see your GP. The cashew-related problem goes away once you’ve got rid of everything, but pale stools could be a sign of something else needing medical attention].