Is Your Gut Motility Normal?

May 15, 2024 ,

“Gut motility” refers to the movements of the intestine. Assessing intestinal transit time, which refers to the movement of food along the digestive system, is commonly used as a marker of gut motility and gut function. It is measured as the time between the ingestion of a food and its first fecal excretion event.

Several factors can alter intestinal motility, including certain diseases and the use of certain medications. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including a balanced diet, adequate hydration and regular physical activity, can promote optimal motility.


Motility and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Studies have shown that a large proportion of people with IBS have abnormal motility. This can mean that the bowel constricts and moves foods too quickly (fast transit time, leading to diarrhea) or too slowly (slow transit time, contributing to constipation). Particularly strong and frequent contractions in the large intestine are also thought to be one of the main contributing factors to abdominal pain in people with IBS.

Motility, Gut Microbiome and Visceral Fat

A study that evaluated the gut transit time of 863 healthy individuals found links between intestinal transit time and certain health markers. As part of the study, subjects consumed two muffins containing blue food coloring. The time elapsed between their ingestion and the excretion of blue stools was measured to assess transit time.

The study found that intestinal transit time was strongly correlated with stool consistency and frequency, as well as microbial diversity, and gut microbiome composition. The study also found a link between gut transit time and visceral fat (fat around the organs), a slow transit time being associated with a higher visceral fat content.

How To Determine If Your Gut Motility Is Normal?

People can be classified into three categories based on the measurement of their gut transit time:

  • Normal transit time: between 14 and 58 hours
  • Fast transit time: < 14 hours
  • Slow transit time: > 58 hours

A simple way to measure your gut transit time is to consume one to two tablespoons of corn kernels and measure the time it takes for the kernels to start appearing in your stool. Another option is to bake ‘blue muffins’ by adding 1 tsp (6g) of royal blue food dye to your own muffin recipe or to one of ours.

In Conclusion

SOSCuisine offers weekly meal plans, all based on the Mediterranean diet and customizable according to allergies, intolerances, and individual preferences. This is a simple and effective way to gradually adopt a varied and balanced diet with little or no processed foods. Should you need more support, we do offer consultations with registered dietitians.


1) Asnicar et al. (2021) Blue poo: impact of gut transit time on the gut microbiome using a novel marker. Gut;70:1665–1674.

2) Mantides (2002) Gut motility and visceral perception in IBS patients. Annals of Gastroenterology.

3) DuPont et al (2014). Motility Abnormalities in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Digestion;89(2):119-23.


Kathryn Adel
Kathryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition as well as a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Kinesiology, all from Laval University. She is a Registered Dietitian and active member of the Ordre professionnel des Diététistes Nutritionnistes du Québec (ODNQ) and of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds the Monash University's certification for the FODMAP diet and IBS, and has considerable clinical experience in that area. She is also an accomplished athlete, having ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health.

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