In the first minute
The drink lands in your stomach. (Had the booze been accompanied by food, it would have taken a slower journey—via your bloodstream—to your liver. But you skipped the chips and guacamole.)
Andale! Your liver has to work so hard to break down the flood of alcohol that it puts a temporary hold on other key duties, such as processing calories.
Women and Alcohol: Are You Drinking Too Much?
In the next 30 minutes
The liver first converts the liquor into a known carcinogen called acetaldehyde and then breaks it down into acetate, which is a less harmful chemical. (Video: The worst sweet drinks)
Because your liver is overwhelmed, the alcohol backs up in your bloodstream and shoots up to your brain, where it disrupts nerve cells in the hippocampus (which controls memory), the cerebellum (which controls movement), and the prefrontal cortex (which controls mood). As a result, you may feel relaxed and suddenly charming. You may also feel warm and a bit flushed, thanks to expanded blood vessels in your skin.
Out of nowhere, you have to pee—like right now. A potent diuretic, alcohol speeds up the flow of fluids to the bladder.
Meanwhile, if your margarita was made with triple sec, the drink's sugar content has caused an insulin spike, which may lead to sweating or eating salty, fatty foods you'd normally avoid. (Search: High sugar foods)
After 60 minutes
The alcohol is neutralized, transformed by your liver from acetate to carbon dioxide (which you breathe out) and water (which you urinate).
Not gone are the 400-plus calories you took in. With your liver otherwise occupied, your body stored the calories as triglycerides (a type of fat). Those are now tucked mostly into cells around your abdomen, the unhealthiest place to pack pudge. (Instead of downing a margarita, try these 400-calorie meals that help you lose weight.)
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