The Real Reason Beets Turn Your Urine Red

If you've ever eaten beets and been alarmed by what you later saw in the bathroom, chances are you've experienced beeturia, a phenomenon that affects about 10 to 14 percent of people. Basically, it means that eating beets turns your urine pink or red (via CBC). Even though it can be alarming to see the porcelain bowl full of scarlet liquid post-beet binge, it's nothing to be worried about, and is just one of the many weird things that food can do to your body.

Beets contain betanin, a compound that's responsible for the root vegetable's deep red hue. However, some people can't fully digest betanin. When that's the case, the betanin is flushed through the kidneys along with the rest of your urine, turning it pink or red on the way. 

Beets can also make your bowel movements an interesting pink or crimson hue. In fact, eating beets can be used to help you track the processing time of your digestive system, as the colorful waste produced can tell you how long it takes after eating for your body to rid itself of waste (via The Globe and Mail). 

Thankfully, beeturia doesn't seem to indicate any serious health problems. Limited research has been done about it, but some theorize that low stomach acid could be a culprit. Whatever the cause, it isn't considered a harmless condition.

Beets aren't the only food that can change the color of your urine. Blackberries and rhubarb can also make your urine come out pink or red, carrots and other foods high in vitamin C can make your urine turn orange, vitamin B (and multivitamins containing it) can turn your urine a neon yellow-green, and along with the signature smell of asparagus-tinged urine occasionally comes a greenish tint (via Harvard Health Online). Ah, the joys of the human body.