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Can the Keto Diet Cause You to Fail a Breathalyzer?

For fitness enthusiasts, the ketogenic (or keto) diet is an effective way to lose weight and reduce body fat. The diet restricts carbohydrate consumption and in turn, use the ketosis process to force your body to turn fat into energy. But in several recent cases, practitioners of the keto diet have found that their eating habits have caused a false positive from alcohol on a portable breathalyzer test.

How is that possible? During ketosis, your body fuels itself by breaking down fat in your liver. The byproduct created during this process is known as acetone. One of the ways your body will release acetone is through your breath in the form of isopropyl alcohol.

Can Breathalyzers Tell the Difference Between Isopropyl and Ethanol Alcohol?

The isopropyl alcohol released through your breath during ketosis is different than the ethanol alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, but not all breath testing devices can tell the difference between the two. While the breathalyzer machines used in police stations after a DUI arrest are typically sensitive enough to tell the difference, many portable breathalyzers used at traffic stops by police officers are unable to differentiate between ethanol and isopropyl alcohol on your breath.

Can the Keto Diet Lead to a DUI Arrest?

While it is possible that some portable breathalyzers will read ketosis-induced isopropyl alcohol as a sign you have been drinking, it is highly unlikely that it will push your blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. It is unlikely that your BAC would be pushed higher than .02 based on the isopropyl alcohol alone. While this might not be enough to lead to your arrest, it could lead to other complications. For instance, a .02 BAC could be enough to trigger an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. It could also push your BAC over the legal limit when you've only had a few drinks.

Avoiding a DUI Conviction in Tampa on the Keto Diet

The last thing you want from sticking with your diet is a false positive on a breathalyzer. That's why if you are adhering to the keto diet, you should take some steps to avoid the possibility of a false positive. For starters, never drink and drive. Driving with any alcohol in your system is risky for most people, but it can be especially risky for anyone going through ketosis.

If you are arrested under suspicion of DUI, your best bet is to request your BAC be tested at the police station using an infrared spectroscopy machine. These devices are more sensitive than roadside breathalyzers and can detect the difference between ethanol and isopropyl alcohol.

Finally, the most important step you can take to protect yourself for a false conviction is hiring an experienced Tampa DUI defense attorney. Omar Abdelghany is a former public defender that understands how devastating a false accusation can be. He is ready to use his extensive background in criminal law to help defend his clients to the best of his ability. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney that prides himself on his high level of service to his clients, contact the OA Law Firm today.

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