Can Low-Carb Get You Arrested For DUI?
It is quite possible to fail a breathalyzer test because of low-carb
You decided to start livin' la vida low-carb and you're losing an incredible amount of weight. Everything is going great for you when all of a sudden you are driving down the road one day and you see blue lights flashing at you in your rearview mirror. You pull off to the side of the road and the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle for a breathalyzer test. Despite the fact that you haven't drunk a single drop of alcohol whatsoever, lo and behold your blood alcohol content registers a whopping 0.09%--higher than the legal limit. You are handcuffed, hauled down to the local jail and treated like a criminal for driving under the influence.
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! I'M NOT DRUNK!
Don't laugh at this story because it is very serious and could happen to YOU if you are in the right set of circumstances. It seems the breathalyzer tests used by law enforcement officials can register a false reading based on elevated ketone levels in your body. As you know, people who are on the low-carb lifestyle, especially in the most ketogenic stages eating around 20-40g carbs daily, induce heavy ketosis in their body to begin burning all that stored fat that's inside of them. That's what makes low-carb work so spectacular!
But a recent experiment by a scientist friend of mine showed those excess ketones that come from livin' la vida low-carb can actually show up on the breathalyzer test in a negative way and create a false positive for the presence of alcohol.
Conducted over several weeks, the scientist first made sure his body was not in ketosis and tested his blood alcohol content. Predictably, it came back with a ZERO reading. Then he allowed his body to get into ketosis and ran a series of tests with the breathalyzer. He scored as high as a 0.04% blood alchol content, which is about half of what the legal limit is in most states.
Keep in mind that he consumed no alcoholic beverages, no cough syrup, no mouthwash, and had no residual starch/sugars fermenting in his mouth. This reading he obtained was based solely on the ketones his body was producing.
The conclusion of the scientist was that some people could yield even higher results that would push them at or above the legal limit for being drunk if they were administered a breathalyzer test by a police officer. In other words, without drinking a single drop of alcohol, it is very possible that someone who is livin' la vida low-carb could be arrested for DUI, convicted, have their driver's licensed suspended or revoked and quite possibly jailed all because of their low-carb diet.
Here's a scary thought: Can you imagine what the reading would be for those low-carbers who DO drink alcohol?! Yikeseroo! This might be a good reason to STOP drinking now, eh? :)
One way to possibly get around this problem with the breathalyzer test producing a false positive for alcohol in your system as a result of being in ketosis is to request a blood test instead of a breath test since ketones do not produce the same results on a blood test. It could save you the embarassment of being arrested for a crime you did not commit.
This may all sound so bizarre to you, but I highly recommend you take it seriously and protect yourself from being falsely accused of driving under the influence. I'm not drinking and driving, officer, I'm just livin' la vida low-carb! See if that one will hold up in court! :-O
9-26-06 UPDATE: Want more proof that this is true? Check out #27 on this legal web site. Or how about #3 on this legal web site? See, I wasn't joking!