When the average person eats too many carbs, the worst they can expect is to feel heavy and sleepy--and maybe to gain a few pounds. But for Nick Hess of Columbus, OH, the same dose of pasta, potato chips, or bread leaves him dizzy, sick, and--yes, really--drunk.
“I would slur my speech and stumble and appear as if I was drunk,” Hess said of these incidents that left his wife wondering if he was secretly an alcoholic. It took three years, multiple doctors, and his wife resorting to videotaping him to figure out that his near constant nausea and impairment had nothing to do with drinking.
Hess finally got a diagnosis that fit with his symptoms--and drinking habits. He has what’s called auto brewery syndrome, the medical term for having excessive yeast in your gut. Hess has so much yeast, in fact, that when carbs hit his stomach, it ferments into alcohol, causing his inebriation.
Luckily for Hess, a drastic diet change was able to banish the symptoms; the carbs in his diet have since been replaced with high-quality grass-fed beef and leafy greens.