They Want Fat People To Eat Poop Now

You Cannot Be SeriousElaine Yu, an assistant professor and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be conducting a clinical trial to see if taking pills containing the freeze dried fecal matter of thin people will make fat people thin.  If you’re thinking “How the everlovingcrap did this happen?”  let me assure you, you are not alone.

Here is how the everlovingcrap this happened:

A series of studies (of mice and humans) found that thin and fat subjects had differences in their gut microbes. Then in a 2013 study, microbes were taken from four sets of human twins. In each set of twins, one was thin and one was fat.  Those microbes were then transplanted into mice.  Those mice who received microbes from the fat twin gained weight regardless of which of three diets they were fed (my favorite part of this study may be the use of the phrase “mouse chow” but that’s obviously beside the point.)

Fecal transplants have been found to a legitimate, and very helpful, treatment to help people with bacterial infections, and the freeze-dried poo pill technology was developed as a way to facilitate these transplants. So now Professor Yu is going to give 20 fat people 6 weekly doses of poop pills (far fewer than in the bacterial infection studies where subjects were given 15 pills a day for 2 days), then track their weight at 3, 6,  and 12 months, telling subjects not to make changes to their eating and exercise habits (obviously, that’s difficult to determine, and I imagine that knowing that you are ingesting poo might have an effect on appetite – I know that researching ingesting poo did for me.)

Let’s talk about the issues with this:

The research upon which this  study rests is all correlational, with all  the inherent issues and weaknesses. There’s a lot we don’t know about gut microbes. According to Yu “we have no idea what the result will be.” That creates risk, since according to Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann – who did the research on bacterial infection and freeze-dried fecal matter -“There’s always the possibility that unknown infectious agents could be transmitted this way, we screen these people to be as healthy as we can determine in 2014, but who knows?”

This risk is even riskier when you consider that even if it makes fat people thinner, we have no way to know if it will make them healthier.   The entire thing is based upon the untested hypothesis that making fat people thinner (though a gut microbe transplant or some other reason) will make us healthier.  The keywords here being untested hypothesis. There is no study of fat people who have maintained long-term weight loss compared to those who stay fat, or compared to those who practice Health at Every Size to show that weight loss makes people healthier, the research simply doesn’t exist.

Consider this:  male pattern baldness is strongly correlated with cardiac incidents, but even if taking poo pills made these men grow hair, it wouldn’t make them less likely to have a heart attack, because trying to imitate health outcomes by making one group of people look like another group of people is not good science.  Especially when research shows that behaviors are a much better predictor of future health than body size (knowing, of course, that health isn’t an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances.)

So while this poo pill study isn’t as bad as, say, the FDA approving a weight loss drug that is absolutely horrifying and possibly deadly,  I think this study isn’t worth the contents of the acid-resistant capsules. I would be very happy if all the time, money, and energy that goes into researching how to eradicate fat people would go into eradicating actual diseases.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.


29 thoughts on “They Want Fat People To Eat Poop Now

  1. Just when you think weight loss industry “research” can’t get lower, they prove you wrong and make you want to plant your face into a brick wall repeatedly until you lose consciousness so you don’t have to think about how utterly insane and sick this is.

    They want fat people to eat the shit of thin people ….that’s. I have no words.

  2. I see this in the same light as so-called weight loss surgery. How people can ever think it’s perfectly OK to chop pieces out of someone’s body, or shut off certain parts of their body, simply to achieve weight loss, regardless of any other consequences, is quite beyond my comprehension. What also bothers me is that the people on whom such hideousness is performed have been convinced that they will die prematurely if they DON’T have it done, it’s their “last chance” – the same applies to the poop pills. There are so many people out there who have been shamed and guilt-tripped for being fat/overweight/obese and have become desperate, that I fear they will literally jump at the chance of simply popping a pill, regardless of what horrors it contains. Oh, and the likes of Prof Yu know that, of course, and when the first tragedy occurs as a result, she will be able to say, “Well, Ms A entered into this trial of her own free will, she was keen to try anything to become slim and healthy, blah, blah, blah”. In more ways than one, this totally stinks.

  3. Are they doing it the other way around too (do different bacteria help one to gain weight)? When it comes to intestinal bacteria, I would expect that “causing thinness” might be related to malabsorption or inability to digest as effectively. (Laxative abuse causes thinness too…)

  4. While they’re at it, why don’t they just include the pills that contain tapeworm eggs? Sure, tapeworms cause all kinds of other health issues, but they can help people lose weight!


  5. I guess I’m not as weirded out by this as others because of my experience with guinea pigs. It’s very common to feed an ailing guinea pig the poop from a healthy guinea pig. (Now, admittedly, guinea pigs already have a digestive system that requires them to eat some of their own poop.) What I want to see is an identifier of a specific condition – what are the bacteria in the “unhealthy” person doing wrong? – and then maybe they could target specific bacteria or something. I mean… if they could give me something to lower my triglycerides that wasn’t as scary as those statins, I’d be okay with that.

    1. What do you get when you cross a human with a guinea pig?

      Absolutely nothing, because they are completely different species, and not biologically compatible!

      Just because they’re both mammals doesn’t mean they can breed together.

      Scientists will recognize this as a basic, irrefutable fact. And yet, when it comes to studies about weight loss, they’ll take animals that MUST consume fecal matter, as a basis for saying humans SHOULD consume fecal matter. Because logic.

  6. This treatment has been a lifesaver for some people suffering from serious digestive issues. The heart of the problem here is the assumption that having “extra” fat is in itself a disease state that must be “cured.”

    1. If they have an anti fat agenda, then that’s not acceptable, but if what they are trying to do is learn about whether and how gut microbes control intestinal absorbtion, in order to be able to help people be healthy, that is a good object for research.
      And it does sound like this is research, not trickery or bullying.

  7. I look at this and I think of the two most effortlessly thinpretty people I ever knew. They both ate a lot, were active, were graceful, and got compliments wherever they went, so obvs. they must have had perfect poop, right?

    Except that one of them had a metabolism so ridiculously high that she could not keep her fat reserves up, so an illness that would put you or me on the couch for a few days might land her in the hospital, plus she would have it for a lot longer than most folks. The other one had the worst case of endometriosis her surgeon had ever seen: the disease was eating her all up.

  8. I was planning a late lunch since I haven’t eaten yet today, but I think my appetite just disappeared. Maybe that could be a new diet plan for those into pushing them on fat people, just read stories about poop supplements! 😦

  9. Fecal transplant (by various methods, not necessarily oral) does sound gross but it can be a life-saving treatment for patients with infections like C. Diff. I know one person who had this treatment.

    In the case of serious infections, often after high doses of antibiotics used to kill another deadly infection, patients can be very weak, can’t eat or absorb nutrients, and are often near death. I support research into fecal transplants used for those serious situations.

    But I agree that using this method to try to make fat people thin makes no sense at all. Many serious risks just to make a patient look like what society prefers? And it might not even work? Nope.

  10. Fecal transplant was done 100 yrs ago by the German Army in WW1. Except they only cultivated the bacteria, not the fecal matter, and then gave that to sick soldiers. It was slightly perfected a bit more during WW2, and Hitler also made use of it (as an example).

    It was discussed on the series Apocalypse, and Hitler the Junkie.

    1. Isolating and cultivating the beneficial bacteria, themselves, without the risk of whatever else might be in that fecal matter (which the scientists ADMIT in the subject of this post), is a completely different thing.

      I totally support isolating and cultivating beneficial bacteria. I know that there really are cases when introducing such beneficial bacteria can be… BENEFICIAL!

      This isn’t one of those cases.

  11. I don’t see a problem with this, honestly. Fecal transplants are real science, and gut bacteria are looking increasingly important to metabolic issues. If taking freeze-dried poop pills causes weight loss in a randomized clinical trial, that’s good to know–and it’s a lot less harmful than stomach amputation or forced starvation.

    The Underpants rule applies to clinical study participants too, right?

    1. This puts more time, energy, and money into pathologizing fat bodies and trying to “cure” them by making them into thin bodies – which is doing something that nobody has proven is possible for a reason nobody has proven is valid. This wastes money that could be directed at actual health problems, and these dollars get added to the bullshit list of “health expenses of fat people.” Since the technology is so new, the risks are also unknown and even if it “works” (ie: makes fat people less fat) there is no proven health benefit at all. I don’t believe they would get IRB approval for this treatment for other completely cosmetic changes because the downside risk would outweigh the possible benefit.

    2. Yeah, I’m not that opposed to this so much as I’m worried about the focus becoming fat loss. Gut microbes are poorly understood and knowing more about their interaction with immune components (which includes mucosal epithelia) and ability to influence metabolism (not the same thing as ability to digest food) is very exciting to me!

      I just hear about weight loss trials and feel like all the money is going to go there and it’ll die out as fad science. :/

      *I just finished my bachelor of biomedical science and my first postgrad project is going to be in cancer but I’m very interested in immunology and loved the stuff we learned about mucosal immunity. There are also signalling pathways that are predominant in gut mucosa that directly influence fat metabolism so my very very small amount of knowledge in this area makes me really interested in these trials.

  12. Fecal transplants can seem to be helpful for C.Diff. Possibly this can be useful for treating other infections. However the field of dietetic aides for losing weight is littered with phony statistics and junk science.It doesn’t take much to skew results and obtain a biased end “proving’ almost anything.This certainly could be the case here. The government will not monitor the pills, assuming it”worked” and anything could cheaply be put in them and then sold for a substantial profit. The severe social pressure against fat women in particular will cause many fat women to desperately try anything to lose weight. It truly is an attempt to eradicate fat people.The medical field and most doctors basically refuse to treat fat people for most diseases they suffer from properly. They basically are doing their best to kill them off. Making money may be a partial reason but there is no money earned by not treating patients properly. It is violation of their ethics not that that matters to them. The better fat women and fat men understand this fact, the more likely pressure will build against all forms of fat discrimination and abuse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.