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Is Inhaling Alcohol the New Pregnant Woman Pee Cure for Fatness? (God, I Hope Not)

June 10, 2013

Trigger warning: Discussion of idiotic weight loss technique.

I came across this article on CNN today. Here, let me give you a block quote. The emphasis is mine.

Nearly a decade later, clinicians are seeing evidence that the practice is gaining some traction — and not just among college kids and adolescent risk takers. It’s popular among people who want to lose weight and don’t want the calories that come from consuming alcohol. “People think it is a great way to get the effects of alcohol without gaining the weight because alcohol has an enormous amount of empty calories. You can’t be ingesting a lot of alcohol if you’re on a diet and want to lose weight,” says Dr. Deni Carise, the deputy chief clinical officer at CRC Health Group, a treatment- and educational-program provider for individuals struggling with behavioral issues, chemical dependency and eating disorders. “I think adolescents are also particularly susceptible to this because it is novel and exciting.”

So what’s so popular with people who want their buzz and their diet, too? Inhaling alcohol. Apparently this involves a fancy contraption or, if you’re more resourceful, either pouring it over dry ice and inhaling the fumes or using some Willy Wonka-like contraption involving a bicycle pump and a cork. You get the unmetabolized, pure effects of the alcohol with zero calories because it never hits your stomach.

Of course, you might also die.

Because we humans, we’re good at measuring with things like a glass or a bottle, but fumes? How do you know how many fumes you’ve inhaled from that bicycle pump? And without the liquid part of the alcohol, your body’s natural defenses against poisoning yourself with too many martinis are bypassed — you can’t puke if you haven’t put anything in your digestive system.

Also this:

“It’s also terrible for your lungs and nasal passages,” says Carise. “Your lungs are not meant to inhale something that can turn back into a liquid. When you think of liquid in the lungs, you think of drowning.”

Did you get that? The fumes could turn back into liquid alcohol. In your lungs.

I would assume that some risk-addicted kids are trying this just to be cool (if the cool kids were all drowning themselves in vodka fumes, would you do it, too?) or for the added high of getting drunk fast and flirting with death, I guess. But it’s particularly disturbing to me that this has started to catch on as yet another crazy, dangerous way for people to try to avoid The Fat.

The anti-fatty concern trolls are so worried about the health risks of being fat, but maybe they should think for a minute about the health risks of the insane things that people will do to avoid being fat. Or rather, to TRY to avoid being fat. People inject themselves with the urine of pregnant women, have things sewn onto their tongues, remove big chunks of vital internal organs, put themselves on a liquid diet that involves tubes up the nose 24/7  — there are people who will literally do anything to not be fat.

That article quotes a man who lost 80 pounds by giving up liquid alcohol in favor of fumigating himself. Maybe his risk of diabetes or heart disease is somewhat diminished (and maybe not), but he’s taking the risk of either drowning in reconstituted beer or killing himself with an alcohol overdose every time he wants a drink. What kind of a trade off is that?

If we catch up with that man in five years, will he still be 80 pounds lighter? Will he still be alive?

Do not inhale liquor fumes. I shouldn’t even have to tell you that.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. nof permalink
    June 10, 2013 2:01 pm

    I once accidentally inhaled alcohol (friend made me laugh as I took a shot of vodka, vodka ended up coming out my nose) and I cannot overstate how awful that experience was. Maybe it’s different with a nebulizer, but my experience was almost-instant vertigo, burning pain all over my face and down my throat that didn’t go away for hours, severe nausea, and a weird combo of both exhaustion and anxiety. I certainly got drunk, in a sense, but it was not a good drunk.


  2. vesta44 permalink
    June 10, 2013 3:10 pm

    Anything is better than being fat, up to and including dead.
    WTF! I mean really, I can’t drink because alcohol is a trigger for migraines for me. So if I can drink it for that reason, how much faster would it trigger a migraine if I inhaled it? Sorry, I have enough problems without adding to them by inhaling alcohol fumes. Anyone know how flammable those fumes are? I don’t think I’d recommend smoking while inhaling those fumes, but then again, it might remove a lot of stupidity from the gene pool. . . . .

  3. vesta44 permalink
    June 10, 2013 3:11 pm

    Sorry, that very first line was supposed to have (sarcasm) in front of it and (/sarcasm) behind it. Don’t know why WP removed it.

  4. JennyRose permalink
    June 10, 2013 7:35 pm

    I might have tried it when I was young and had an ED, if everyone was doing it of course. This can also be filed under things the media likes to write about to make parents worry.

  5. violetyoshi permalink
    June 11, 2013 4:12 am

    “Did you get that? The fumes could turn back into liquid alcohol. In your lungs.”

    Holy crap! I seriously, was like, “What in the, are these people, I don’t even..”

  6. Anne permalink
    June 14, 2013 8:36 am

    Woo! Let’s all get pneumonia! Woo! This is so incredibly stupid. Because guess what? If you’re so worried about getting fat from alcohol just don’t drink!

    Plus, a vodka and soda, or any spirit on the rocks or with soda, ain’t gonna make you fat. If you really need to get drunk, and are terrified of the calories or whatever, just choose spirits instead of beer or cocktails! I used to work at a mom and pop grocery which sold alcohol, and I sold to a lot of really sad alcoholics. And they were all rail thin (the ones who drank hard liquor). Though I probably shouldn’t mention that to people who would inhale their booze, since they’ll go on a liquid diet to lose weight!

  7. Dizzyd permalink
    July 9, 2013 8:53 pm

    Snorting alcohol? Shooting pregnant woman pee into your veins? What ever happened to good old-fashioned crack and heroin? Seriously, do ppl sit around making this stuff up? And even sadder is ppl would see this as a viable weight loss method. What’s next? ‘People Eat Crap to Lose Weight – Doctors conclude after studies show crap has fewer calories than regular food. ‘We think it has to do with the process it undergoes in the colon,’ they say.’ I know – disgusting, but not any more than the ‘acceptable’ methods out there. (I know – I’m bad!)

    • Elizabeth permalink
      July 10, 2013 9:28 am

      Dizzyd, ever heard of the Yes Men? They videotaped lecturing (marketing?) students on how to maximize profits in the fast-food industry: What goes down the toilet is simply repackaged and sold as burgers. The looks on the students’ faces were priceless! Yes Men, I LOVE YOU!

  8. Dizzyd permalink
    July 16, 2013 8:50 pm

    Elizabeth – disgusting, but I wouldn’t put it past corporations to cut corners any way possible to maximize profits. Corporations: truly the stuff that goes down the toilet of the earth.

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