Can a Keto Diet Really Get You Arrested Under Colorado’s Drunk Driving Laws?

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In recent discussions surrounding ketogenic diets and their potential impact on breathalyzer tests, questions have arisen about whether adhering to a keto diet could lead to false positives during alcohol breath tests, potentially resulting in legal consequences such as arrest under Colorado’s drunk driving laws. Let’s delve into the details and explore the nuances of this interesting and somewhat controversial topic.

Understanding the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, known for its low-carbohydrate and high-fat principles, can lead to a metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis, the body produces ketones as an alternative source of energy, derived from fat. These ketones can be detected in the breath, urine, and blood.

Breathalyzer Tests and Ketosis

Breathalyzer tests, commonly used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC), may detect acetone, one type of ketone, in the breath. Acetone is a byproduct of ketosis and can potentially register on breathalyzer devices. This has led to concerns that individuals on a keto diet might register a positive result even if they haven’t consumed alcohol.

Legal Implications

While the presence of acetone might theoretically interfere with breathalyzer results, law enforcement agencies are aware of this issue. Modern breathalyzer devices are designed to distinguish between acetone and ethanol, the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. However, variations in individual metabolism and the potential for technical errors can still introduce complexities.

Legal Precautions

If you are following a keto diet and concerned about potential legal ramifications, there are several precautions you can take:

  1. Inform Law Enforcement: If you are pulled over and have been following a keto diet, it may be helpful to inform law enforcement about your dietary choices. This transparency can facilitate a more informed assessment.
  2. Blood Tests: Requesting a blood test instead of relying solely on breathalyzer results can provide a more accurate measurement of blood alcohol content, mitigating the potential impact of ketosis.
  3. Legal Assistance: In the event of a false positive or legal complications, seeking legal advice from professionals experienced in DUI cases can be crucial.


While the ketogenic diet’s impact on breathalyzer tests has sparked discussions, it is essential to note that false positives are relatively rare. Law enforcement agencies are aware of potential interferences, and breathalyzer devices are designed to account for them. However, individual variations and technical errors can introduce complexities, highlighting the importance of legal precautions and transparency.

Navigating the intersection of keto diets and legal considerations requires a nuanced understanding of both realms. Individuals should stay informed, communicate openly with law enforcement when necessary, and seek legal advice if faced with potential legal consequences.


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