Are you facing DUI or DWI charges in the state of Texas? It is extremely important to build the strongest defense you can, and may involve making an argument about how your diet affects blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Indeed, according to an article in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), meal composition can have an enormous impact on a person’s BAC. Certain diets that are low in carbohydrates or high in protein, as well as certain medical conditions, can lead to a false BAC reading. If you were stopped in Texas and a DWI breath test was administered, you should learn more about challenging one of the results if your diet could have resulted in an inaccurate breath test.

Low Carb High in Protein  Diets Resulting in BAC Misreading

Were you charged with a DWI or a DUI after you took a breath test and it registered a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher? You may be able to build a strong defense if you were on a diet low in carbohydrates or high in protein. For instance, the Atkins diet is a popular low-carbohydrate diet, but it can lead to false BAC readings. As the NIH article clarifies, individuals who are on the Atkins diet or other low-carbohydrate diets can lead to higher BAC readings.

Another article in the International Journal of Obesity explained that people who are trying to lose weight and choose the Atkins diet can end up being charged with a DUI or DWI due to the way in which this kind of food intake affects a breath test.

Ketones, Isopropyl Alcohol, and How Breath Tests Get “Tricked”

Specifically, individuals on these diets produce ketones or ketone bodies—it is this production that can lead to a false BAC reading, even if you have not consumed any alcohol at all. A blog entry in Protein Power, a nutritional science blog, clarifies that “the body has three ways of dealing with ketones: it can burn them for energy (which it does with great success), it can release them in the urine . . . and it can vent them through the lungs (ketones can be detected in the breath of one in ketosis.” Ketones ultimately convert to isopropyl alcohol.

What does all of this mean? In brief, “ketones riding out on expired air can trip the trigger of a breathalyzer.” To be clear, low-carb diets produce isopropyl alcohol, and that isopropyl alcohol can lead to a falsely high BAC reading. In addition to Atkins diets, ketones and isopropyl alcohol can also be produced in individuals who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Whether you are on a low-carb or high-protein diet or dealing with a medical condition like hypoglycemia or diabetes, you should know that breath tests typically cannot distinguish between alcohol you have consumed in a drink and isopropyl alcohol. If you were recently charged with a DUI or DWI and the breath test could have been impacted by your diet, you should discuss your options for a diet defense with an Austin DWI defense attorney.