The New Year Low Calorie, High DUI Risk Dilemma

low calorie DUI riskHappy New Year, and best of luck with your resolutions! One of the top, “New Year, New Me” self-promises is the one to lose weight and be healthy. Often, that promise leads to new food and beverage choices, like diet drinks and low-calorie mixers at the bar. Before you get all excited about your new six-pack, remember that light beer sixer you just picked up can actually still cause you to gain weight, and possibly face a DUI risk at the same time.

Low-calorie or diet drinks with alcohol can have two unexpected effects on a person’s judgment, increasing the DUI risk:

  • When we believe we are consuming fewer calories, like with a light beer or skinny wine, we may actually drink more. Additional drinks, even with fewer calories, still contain alcohol, and many times those diet drinks are just as potent as their full-strength versions. The result is a somewhat less caloric happy hour with the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) risk. Some of those diet mixers, like sodas, can actually increase the impairment factor of a drink. So your rum and diet soda may actually be more potent than if you had skipped the soda entirely.

We all want to be healthy and still enjoy the pleasures of life. When those pleasures involve alcohol, remember to use your best judgment, and even keep the drinks to a minimum, at least when you’re out on the town. The DUI risk (and subsequent ignition interlock requirement) and likely is a much bigger mouthful to swallow than adding on a pound or two, and a criminal conviction will stick around much longer than those last five pounds you’ve been trying to lose. Make this year a year where the New You plans to be healthy, fit, and as far away from a DUI risk as you can possibly be.

Weird DUI: Diabetes and Blood Sugar

weird dui diabetes and blood sugarThere are legitimate health concerns that can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. In some cases, those health issues may also test the validity of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, whether a police breathalyzer or an ignition interlock device. A weird DUI myth about blood sugar may actually have some legs, particularly when it comes to the dangers of driving. However, blood sugar, hypoglycemia, or diabetes is still not an excuse for drinking and driving.

There is a weird DUI connection to blood sugar and BAC testing, both biologically and behaviorally.

Anyone who has hypoglycemia or low blood sugar understands the sluggish feeling and foggy head when sugar levels drop. Some people get headaches or cranky, others may pass out. All of that, when driving, can make it difficult to operate the vehicle safely. On top of that, it has been shown that hypoglycemic people produce more acetone, which can register on a BAC test (breathalyzer or interlock).

None of that means that a person with diabetes or hypoglycemia can be excused from a DUI or drunk driving charge. It is actually difficult, if not impossible, to use diabetes or blood sugar issues as an excuse for drinking and driving. No matter what, a drunk driving charge is based upon the presence of alcohol in the system. Even if the BAC reading is below the legal .08 percent limit, a person who is driving dangerously can still be charged with a DUI. If that danger is due to blood sugar problems, the consensus is that the driver already knew they had physical problems that could impair their driving. Then they chose to drink. That is not a weird DUI, that is just asking for trouble.

The risks of impaired driving, whether by BAC, bad health or just a bad mood are obvious. Taking care of your health means eating right, limiting alcohol, and never getting behind the wheel if you go over the limit.

Wake Up! An Energy Drink DUI is Just the Beginning

Energy drink DUI and alcohol dependenceEnergy drinks are great until the buzz wears off and you’re in the throes of more guarana than you can handle with your grappa.  Mixing liquor and energy drinks may give an extra boost to your party, but there are also plenty of cautionary tales about the dangers of this trendy mix. Not only are you risking an energy drink DUI; you could be on a fast road to an addiction, too.

Your afternoon pick-me-up, road trip companion or favorite fatigue-fighting energy drink has evolved from plain old coffee into a variety of chemical and natural drinks promising hours of additional energy. Probably around 30 seconds after the first energy drink hit the shelves, someone added a few shots of liquor just to see what would happen. The result was the false security of feeling a lot less intoxicated than a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would predict; the energy boost masked the effects of the alcohol.

Unfortunately, that effect does not necessarily make the person stop drinking their normal amount of alcohol. Instead, they are more likely to drink more of the deceptive combination, leading to energy drink DUI problems, a possible ignition interlock requirement, and a dependence on alcohol. Since the more a person drinks, the higher their tolerance can become, adding in energy drinks just encourages more alcohol consumption. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a natural result of those buzzy beverages.

The immediate problem of an energy drink DUI is obvious, but it is also the long term we must consider when getting our buzz on at a bar. As with any type of alcohol and any mixer used, be responsible and understand the risks that you take, even if you feel an extra pep in your step. Down the road, you will be grateful for taking things easy with the energy drinks.

Powdered Alcohol Isn’t ALL Bad

Powdered alcohol is good for the heart?It isn’t every day that people can say alcohol has big benefits. Mostly, that’s because the information is always changing about the potential negative and positive effects of our favorite wine or beer. Generally speaking, alcohol is pretty safe in moderation. It’s when there’s too much drinking that health and safety issues arise. Oddly enough, there seems to be a healthy benefit to one of the more controversial types of alcohol, and even more disturbing, it seems that powdered alcohol can kind of save lives.

According to a recent study, powdered alcohol is not only handy for water bottles at the gym or hiking through the desert. It can even take that nasty cholesterol in your arteries and make it vanish, leaving you with a nice buzz, better blood flow and fewer heart-related ambulance rides. There doesn’t seem to be much of a downside to the product, especially when you’re looking for squeaky-clean arteries, so why is it banned in so many places?

Common sense. Powdered alcohol may be convenient and heart-healthy, but there are fears that it could get into the wrong hands. Considering the example of Rohypnol, where countless victims have been (and still are) sexually abused and assaulted, a powdered form of alcohol could likely be used in the same way. Plus, there’s the obvious danger of a drunk driving catastrophe. Powdered alcohol is still alcohol, so the same effects are there as with the regular, liquid varieties. That means the same problems, including a DUI conviction and an ignition interlock requirement are very real possibilities.

So much for great arteries.

The problem with powdered alcohol doesn’t seem to be the product itself, but the misuse of the product and how difficult it would be to regulate. Even though alcohol benefits may change with each new day, that doesn’t mean the powdered form will ever be more than a fun idea for a weekend of camping with friends. With DUI and other dangers on the minds of lawmakers and in our communities, powdered alcohol doesn’t stand much of a chance as the next artery-cleansing superfood, no matter the ways it is promoted as a better tool for healthier hearts.

Shouldn’t Smoking Powdered Alcohol be Illegal?

Vaping or smoking powdered alcohol is dangerousPowdered alcohol is a controversial product. It’s currently going through the legislative process in several U.S. states to determine what, if any, legal restrictions should be placed on its use. To date, 27 states have banned the sale of powdered alcohol for various reasons, including the danger posed to underage minors. But, kids aren’t the only people in danger – adults who smoke the powder or inhale its vapor are also at risk for both drunk driving and alcohol poisoning.

In Chicago and Los Angeles, smoking alcohol (i.e. inhaling alcohol through vaping) is on the FDA’s radar. While Virginia has already outlawed alcohol vaping because of the danger it poses. Through inhalation, the body’s normal digestive and metabolic processes for alcohol are bypassed. The vapor travels from the lungs and into the blood, making a beeline directly to the brain. Without the normal stops in the digestive process that filter the alcohol, the effect is more immediate, which is where the danger in smoking or vaping the product lies. When we drink alcohol and hit our body’s limit, a few natural processes, such as vomiting or falling asleep, stop us from reaching the point of alcohol poisoning. Smoking alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning much faster because the body’s natural safeguards are compromised and even eliminated. The result could be deadly.

There are other concerns that powdered alcohol raises, like DUI and other drunk driving offenses. It can be easier to consume and conceal powdered alcohol, whether it is smoked, inhaled, sprinkled on food or mixed in a bottle of juice, making it easier to drink while driving. Penalties for DUI would be the same, including ignition interlock requirements, higher insurance rates and even substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment programs. However, the odds of facing a DUI from smoking powdered alcohol could be higher, due to the quick effects and subsequent decision making process.

Considering that powdered alcohol is here to stay, we can see plenty of legal issues on the horizon. As such, the damage that people could cause to their own body, not to mention on the road, calls for a serious look at just how to treat the vaping and smoking of powdered alcohol in all states.

Dry January: The No-DUI Starter Month of 2016

Dry January means less DUIEvery year, we make New Year’s resolutions. Every year, we struggle with following through with those resolutions. Life takes over, complicates our good intentions and by the end of January, we’re already seeing our resolve weaken. “Dry January” has long been held as a compromise between a New Year’s resolution and the reality of quitting drinking – if you can go the month of January without drinking, then you’re on the road to health and recovery after the holidays. As a side effect, there are far fewer DUIs for people who don’t drink alcohol… making “Dry January” the perfect No-DUI starter month for safe roads everywhere.

By now, you’ve already seen the benefit to “drying up” for the month:

  • You’re saving money.
  • Your body is in better shape.
  • You have less regrettable texts to re-read the next morning.
  • You’re also serving as an example to everyone who wants to know the best way to avoid a DUI, ignition interlock requirement and other penalties.
  • Plus, you’ve got bragging rights… and everyone loves to brag. You may even think you can keep it up for the next month, if not for the next year! YOU GO!

We just want to say how impressed we are with you, and if you plan to continue your winning streak against alcohol, we support your dedication. If you plan to pick up where you left off in February, we still think you’re swell – and we know you’ll continue to be responsible when you do drink again!

Not drinking alcohol is a personal decision that has many benefits, but so does drinking responsibly. If you have been a part of “Dry January” then you have already taken an important step in changing your life, and the lives of others. Once February arrives, give yourself props for a job well done, and consider the great strides you’ve made for yourself and for promoting a healthy relationship with alcohol!

How Binge Drinking Affects the Body

bigstock-Drunk-Woman-Drinking-Beer-Over-45072763Binge drinking is rarely considered a healthy behavior, regardless of age or gender. There are numerous studies that indicate binge drinking behaviors are a problem for women, as well as the older generations, perhaps even more so than the college-age drinkers who tend to be portrayed as the biggest binge drinkers of all. However, the actual demographics of binge drinking matter less than the effects of consuming more alcohol than the body can process within a limited time frame.  Binge drinking not only affects a person during the time of drinking, but, it can also have long-term effects on the body.

The body reacts to alcohol like it is a poison, which is what creates the feeling of a “buzz” or drunkenness if too much is consumed. This reaction is actually the body’s way of saying that it is consuming something unhealthy – almost a warning to stop drinking before further damage happens. Unfortunately, the buzz of drinking often leads to a person who is unable to make healthy choices, and can have the following long-term issues, and more, as a result:

  • Liver, nerve, or brain damage.
  • Injuries due to driving drunk, falling or other accidents.
  • Violence, uncontrolled behaviors.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Life-threatening heart conditions.
  • Digestive conditions, diabetes and/or malnutrition.
  • Death.

Binge drinking overloads the body with large amounts of alcohol that are too much to digest; leading to damage that continues to build with each episode that occurs. Most of the damage that is attributed to binge drinking cannot be reversed, and many people end up living with the consequences of too much drinking for the rest of their lives. With the damage that can occur by just limiting drinking to weekends or special events, including the risk of driving while intoxicated and the consequences of those actions, binge drinking remains a top health concern for everyone, regardless of age or gender.

Health Concerns over Binge Drinking

binge drinking health concernPerhaps the biggest factor in drunk driving statistics is the binge drinker. The dangers of binge drinking may seem to point to younger partygoers, but the reality is that people of all ages can easily be labeled a binge drinker. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 85% of drunk driving incidents were attributed to binge drinkers.

For women, consuming more than four drinks in about two hours is considered binge drinking.  For men, the number of drinks raises slightly to five drinks in about two hours. Both of these figures puts blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels at or about the legal limit of .08%, where the risk of an alcohol-related traffic accident is high. The .08% BAC limit is recognized across the country, and any person who is caught driving at that level, or higher, will immediately face license suspension, jail time, ignition interlock installation, fines, attorney fees or more.

In addition to the risks involved with binge drinking and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, there are further health concerns to consider. Binge drinking can easily affect a person’s overall physical well-being, as the body has a difficult time processing large amounts of alcohol. This can result in days of illness, a loss of work or even strife in relationships. For some, a night of binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and potential death, or, at the very least, a loss of motivation and productivity as the body tries to eliminate alcohol from the body. Recently, binge drinking has been linked to an increased potential for heart disease.

The biggest problem with binge drinking is that it exacerbates the tendency to make poor choices when drinking. As more drinks are consumed, especially at a rapid rate, the ability to make the choice to stop drinking is reduced significantly. Sadly, even those who drink on a regular basis have more of a tolerance to alcohol and have developed an ability to acclimate to the presence of alcohol, giving them a slight edge when it comes to making the choice to not drive while intoxicated. As such, it is no surprise that people who binge drink are credited as being the largest group of people who drink and drive.  The consequences involved with binge drinking and driving can be life-altering and even deadly. Making a smart choice to limit alcohol, enlist the help of a designated driver if drinking is part of a fun night on the down, or even entering into an alcohol abuse program can be some of the smartest choices a binge drinker can make.

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