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Man Gets Drunk From Eating Cake Due To Rare Condition Which Turns Carbs Into Booze

Man Gets Drunk From Eating Cake Due To Rare Condition Which Turns Carbs Into Booze

Nick has auto brewery syndrome, where the body ferments carbs and turns them into alcohol in the stomach

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

A man has a rare condition that sees him get drunk from eating cake, as his body ferments carbohydrates and turns them into alcohol.

Nick Carson, 62, suffers from a disorder known as auto brewery syndrome (ABS), which means he can become blind drunk without touching a single drop of alcohol.

While it may sound pretty fun, the reality of ABS - where the body ferments carbs and turns them into alcohol in the stomach - can be very 'scary', as it could leave Nick three times over the legal driving limit within a matter of minutes.


It also means Nick, a cleaning business owner from Lowestoft in Suffolk, craves Victoria sponge cake in the same way that we might hanker after a pint - although eating it can get him so drunk that he passes out.

He developed the condition after being exposed to strong chemicals at work almost 20 years ago, but it took years until he was finally diagnosed after wife Karen learn about the syndrome in an episode of Doc Martin.

Nick, who has to carry a breathalyser with him at all times as he has no idea when he might get drunk, said: "I've basically become an involuntary alcoholic because this condition makes you one, whether you want to be or not.

"Having a little bit of sugar or carbohydrates can quickly make me become drunk.

"I try to stick to a Keto-based diet but it's hard because there are carbs in all sorts of foods.


"I can go from being stone cold sober to being three times over the driving limit in a matter of minutes which is quite scary.

"The effect isn't pleasant and I have sections of my memory where I have no idea what I've done. I just talk rubbish and walk around in circles.

"It's like sleepwalking with activities - you're not aware of what you're up to even though you're still functioning and doing stuff.

"One time I tried a small portion of low fat chips and I became so intoxicated that I lay in the living room, throwing up, before eventually passing out within 45 minutes of eating."

Nick first noticed the symptoms of ABS in 2003 when he was layering a strong flooring solvent while at work, and came home feeling unwell before passing out.

After his symptoms became worse, he and wife Karen had a lightbulb moment after an episode of Doc Martin featured an ABS storyline, and began to extensively research the condition.


Nick continued: "I started having horrendous cravings for Victoria sponge cake, and I don't usually have a sweet tooth.

"There are points where I would have killed for a slice of Victoria sponge and it's ridiculous - it triggers an appetite reflex in your brain."

Now Nick tries to avoid the triggers of ABS, but even the smallest bite of food can leave him worse for wear - with Karen regularly recording her husband during his uncontrollable outbursts of drunkenness to show him the next day.

Nick said he finds his condition 'unnerving', as it attacks his 'sense of self'.

"When you wake up on the other side, there's a whole lot of psychological damage because you feel so guilty about what you said and did the night before," he said.

"Sometimes people treat my condition as a joke and say that I'll be cheap to take out because I don't need a drink but actually it's horrible.

"As a general rule, I have a breathalyser that I use every hour. It's like tap dancing on a minefield and I'm constantly checking myself all the time."


But Nick is keen not to let his illness get him down, and has managed to control it with the help of his wife.

Now he's speaking out to help spread awareness of ABS, adding: "I hope that sharing my story will help people become more knowledgeable about ABS.

"I'm working on building up good bacteria through what I eat so we're trying to be as natural as possible. I'm sort of on a keto diet with lots of vegetables and protein and I feel much better.

"Now that I know a lot more about the condition it's become a little easier to manage. I think we're coping with it well and I want to keep the ball rolling."

Featured Image Credit: Mercury

Topics: UK News, News, Health