Sometimes you spend your life looking for the answer to one of humankind’s biggest troubles, only to discover it was right there in front of you all along. Today, that trouble is beer shits, nature’s cruelest penalty for a fun night out.
Beer’s sneaky trifecta of alcohol, water and carbs goes down easy, but comes out like lava. We already know why: Alcohol stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, stomach muscles and rectal contractions, rushing you to the toilet. Alcohol also makes it harder for the colon to reabsorb water, so all that extra liquid courses through you faster than your body has time to turn it into properly formed waste. This is why a brilliant friend of mine always referred to this ordeal as the “Bud Muds.” Now you can, too.
And now you can also do something about the wet and wild morning after: take a fiber supplement before a night out.
Prior to this moment in human beer shit history, we were told to simply down a food blotter to soak up the juice, and drink water in between beers to stay hydrated. Digestive nutrition expert and dietician Tamara Duker Freuman writes at U.S. News and World Report that there is one more crucial step to add: a “preventive soluble fiber supplement” before drinking commences. Freuman writes:
If you are prone to this unpleasant after-effect of drinking alcohol, you can try to minimize its severity by taking a soluble fiber supplement like Citrucel or Benefiber in the evening before you go out drinking. Soluble fiber supplements absorb water in the bowel and hold onto it well, which should help ensure your stools are more formed than they otherwise would be the morning after having a few drinks.
Fiber! What can’t this stuff do? Fiber keeps cholesterol and blood sugar down, reducing our risk of heart disease and diabetes, and keeps our bowel movements regular. Sadly, most of us don’t get enough of it. Men have a particularly hard time meeting the daily recommendation of fiber: at least 25 grams a day (closer to 38 grams for an adult man). Why? Women eat healthier in general, but gendered food marketing has long pitched fiber-rich foods (veggies, salads, rice and superfoods) to women because they aid in weight loss.
It’s well known that foods rich in fiber are the best thing to eat before drinking because they slow digestion and keep you from getting too drunk. A big bowl of rice and beans, however, might ruin your night out—it’d prevent a buzz and leave you feeling lethargic, too. The great thing about a supplement is that you can ostensibly get the fiber (and poop) benefit without the sluggish effects of actual food. (Just don’t take too much, especially at first, or you could just spend the night uncomfortably bloated and farting.)
So why do guys stay away from fiber? Maybe because it’s perceived as effeminate. A manly man’s diet comprises nothing but beef ass seared for precisely 4 seconds on cast iron, right? But I would argue that nothing is more manly than healthy, firm, gloriously efficient poops. So tonight, before you toast to your beer, toast to some fiber. And, fingers crossed, to a morning movement so clean you don’t even have to wipe. (But you’ll still wipe. You’re a gentleman, after all.)