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May 02

#AskSisyphus – Why does Honey Smacks or Golden Crisp make my urine smell like the cereal?

honey-smacks-golden-crisp-post

This week’s AskSisyphus question (and possibly the next nine weeks as well) comes from @JTIPhotos on Twitter. I’m not sure he meant this first one to be taken seriously or not but I figure even silly questions sometimes have interesting answers. JT sent me eight questions so far today and I think he’s planning on sending two more before the day is out. I want all of you to take note. His enthusiasm is something I want all of you to emulate.

Jumping right into it, JT reveals his breakfast preferences and a personal fact about his bathroom experiences in one simple question:

https://twitter.com/JTIPhotos/status/329634450671554561

“Why does Honey Smacks/Golden Crisp makes your pee smell exactly like the cereal? #AskSisyphus @SrslyAmusing

Well JT, I have a few answers for you on this one, some speculative, some based on science, some based on personal experience, and some based on the random miscellany of internet denizens. I really couldn’t find anything on any remotely scientific websites or medical evidence at all so you’ll have to take what I was able to find.

One site I thought made for an interesting read, and offered sentiments/opinions repeated elsewhere: http://isitnormal.com/story/my-pee-smeels-like-honey-smacks-44267/

Many people here offer the thought that two things are probably going on here. They mention that your urine is a reflection of what your body is disposing of, and that this phenomenon is an indication of one of, if not both of, two things. One, you’re dehydrated in the morning and need to drink more water throughout the day … the dehydration is leading to a more potent or concentrated urine and therefore you’re smelling its contents more. Two, if your urine smells sweet it’s because your body is bleeding off excess sugars. Your breath may also smell sweet if this is the case. If these two things sound familiar to you, go get yourself checked out as they are indicators of diabetes.

One false assumption and possible shred of logic here is that those cereals are very sugary and therefore they probably influence your urine. It’s worth noting though that what you’re eating in the morning has very little if anything to do what you pee out that morning.

That’s the “medical” answer, or as medical as I can get with this. I think it might be worth looking into what makes urine smell bad when you eat asparagus because the same basic biological effect is at work here.

Another thought which is far more speculative than the previous one is as follows. I eat Cheerios quite a bit in the morning, far more when I’m not rushing off to work. It’s just kinda hand in box to mouth over and over again until I’m not hungry anymore. When I get into the shower on those days later that morning I find that I smell Cheerios. I don’t think that it’s coming out of my pores (because A.) I don’t think Cheerios come out of people’s pores and B.) it’s far too soon for that sort of thing to happen even if they did) … but I do think that I ended up getting a significant amount of Cheerio dust on my face and body without being aware of it.

So I think the dust/particles of the cereal are perhaps being disturbed when I initially get into the shower and I’m smelling that. This too may be moderately related to your issue here, or it may not be at all.

The takeaway from all this is to do a little reading on asparagus then make sure your body is processing sugars properly.

Thanks for the great question JT! (More from him to come in the future)

 

Appendix:

http://isitnormal.com/story/my-pee-smeels-like-honey-smacks-44267/

http://www.wisegeek.com/why-does-asparagus-make-some-peoples-urine-smell-funny.htm

http://acurazine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776738

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=PWS (not a reliable source of any information other than slang)

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=663675

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketone

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11 comments

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  1. Jose

    I found this subject very interesting, but I’m not very happy with the explanation.
    First of all this happens to me since I have memory: I eat smacks in the morning an in the evening or the next day my urine smells exactly like smacks (not generic sweet smell, like smacks). I don’t have diabetes and it only happens to me with this specific product. I can eat 2 cakes and it doesn’t happen.
    I always though I was the only one…

  2. Sisyphus

    You’re definitely not the only one, and it would help if you were more specific about what in the explanation doesn’t work for you. I’d be happy to look into something more closely for you.

    What you mention lines up pretty well with the science and timing behind digestion. What you eat takes 6-8 hours to travel through your small intestine. From there it takes a good bit longer in your large intestine to finish processing and then be removed from your body through the colon in the way you might imagine. Your small intestine is primarily responsible for removing nutrients from the food you’ve ingested. There’s obviously some of that which occurs in your stomach and still a little more that goes on in the large intestine, but by and large the majority of this process is handled in the small intestine. This is important to the discussion because when you’ve eaten Smacks, it’ll take at least 12+ hours (if not 30-40 for the entire digestive process) to get to where those Smacks are leaving your system.

    My suspicion, and this is purely conjecture, is that there is some chemical or preservative in Smacks and Golden Crisp that exits your system in a given time period (12-24 hours). That ingredient is responsible, in part, for the smell we associate with the cereal, and when it’s leaving our system the odor is noticeable. This is just a guess and not based on any study or chemical research at all, but if the time frame lines up well it might explain the smell. As an example: for those people whose digestive time is a bit longer and the expulsion happens more in the 24 hour period, you can imagine that if they eat Smacks one day, they’ll smell it the next … which happens right after they’ve eaten it again so it seems as though there’s an immediate turn around between eating the cereal and experiencing the smell.

    Hopefully this helps a little bit and expands upon the original post. Ask away if you have any specific questions and I’ll do what I can to find answers for you.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/digestive-system/an00896
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_intestine
    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=16
    http://digestiveawareness.drupalgardens.com/content/small-intestine-processing-absorbing-nutrients

  3. Duke

    While it takes solid food many hours to pass through your system, it is not the same with liquids. My urine smells like smacks within a few hours of consumption just like if you drink a lot of water youll be going to the bathroom often for the next few hours.

  4. Sisyphus

    Also true, liquids do absorb into the body faster than solids. Most of this is just conjecture, trying to find logical reasons for the smell. Without an in-depth analysis of your urine, diet, and other aspects of your life it would be difficult to ascertain each person’s specific cause. If you/anyone finds out more, by all means let us know. =)

  5. Alex

    I’ve noticed the same smell as well. I’ll tell you one thing, whenever I drink an iced white chocolate mocha from Starbucks, they have almost the EXACT same smell. You should put it to the test for yourself. Makes me curious as to what exactly they put in the Golden Crisps besides sugar, wheat, corn syrup, and honey.

    Either way, it’s still good, so I’m still going to eat it!

  6. nuevajork@aol.com

    Same pee smell here so i noticed 4%copper in ingredients,

  7. Smacky Pee

    This happens to me too so…you need a better explanation lol.

  8. Ryan Creek

    I notice this exact same thing after eating sugar smacks/golden crisp. It happens every time, and only with those cereals. Somebody needs to do a study on it.

  9. Heather

    My pee smells like the smacks when I eat them too. It’s a sweet reminder later in the evening as to what I had for breakfast.

  10. Will

    OMG, I have always wondered about this. I actually found this forum after doing a search to find out why Sugar Smacks/Golden Crisps affect the odor of urine. Everyone in my family knows of this phenomenon; it’s like a running joke. I actually do not eat it as an adult anymore. There has got to be an explanation, and the response above is way off base.

  11. kim

    With in hours of consumption my pee also smells of sweet wheat. Also it happened today with fruit loops.

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