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Does a Bowel Movement Sink or Float with a High Fat Diet?

author image Stephanie Lee
Stephanie Lee began writing in 2000 with concentration on food, travel, fashion and real estate. She has written for Amnesty International and maintains three blogs. Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.B.A. from Concordia University.
Does a Bowel Movement Sink or Float with a High Fat Diet?
Floating stool is not indicative of a high fat diet. Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Discussing the gravity of fecal matter may not be the most appealing topic, but it is a necessary one as "floaters" may indicate serious health complications. A high fat diet will not necessarily result in floating dejection, according to the National Institutes of Health; however, dietary changes, diarrhea or inadequate absorption of nutrients may. If floating stool continues for several weeks and is accompanied by blood, dizziness or fever, consult your health care adviser for diet recommendations and treatment options.

Health Complications

According to New York Times Health Guides, digestive complications in the gastrointestinal tract may lead to floating stools. Such complications include celiac disease, cystic fibrosis or insufficient amounts of sugar-digesting enzymes lactase, sucrase or isomaltase. Individuals who are unable to effectively absorb fat and other nutrients may also experience floating stools.

Gaseous Content

The amount of gas produced by the bacteria found in the intestinal tract is the single-most common determination of floating or sinking stools. The more gaseous content present in fecal matter, the more likely it is to float. An increased production of gas may occur if food travels through the intestines too quickly or if there is an increased level of nutrients passing through the digestive tract have not been absorbed.

Medical Attention

While it is perfectly normal to have the occasional floater, consistently producing floating stool for longer than two weeks may require medical attention as this may indicate serious digestive issues. A stool sample or blood test may be necessary to evaluate the cause of the floating stool. Additional items to mention upon your visit to the physician include family medical history, diet, symptoms, abnormal discoloration, as well as time and frequency of occurrence.


Not all floating stools are serious, especially if the occurrence is infrequent. If you notice that you have made recent changes to your diet, the situation may be easily remedied by eliminating the offending food. If, for instance, you have increased your intake of fat, consider cutting back on your fat intake. While the fat content of your diet may not be directly related to floating stool, an increased intake of fat may hinder your body's ability to absorb the additional fat.

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