Alcohol will likely affect you differently than it does someone else. That is true because everyone is different physically, inside and out. But every human being’s body goes through certain natural processes to break down food, and the same is true for alcohol.

So there are many ways in which alcohol, wine and beer will affect just about anyone. Drink in a large quantity, either as a single occurrence or over a period of time, and here is how alcohol will affect your body.

It can pack on the pounds … quickly
Alcohol is a poison. Your body identifies it as such. So when you drink even a little, your body starts to metabolize alcohol before it begins to burn fat and carbohydrates. And alcohol gives you an extra dose of weight gain, because it breaks down amino acids and stores them as … you guessed it … fat.

It plays havoc with your mind
Alcohol can actually affect the way your brain works. This is why some people act and behave totally different than they normally would after they ingest alcohol. This can include problems caused with your coordination because your brain is sending out the wrong signals.

Alcohol can cause heart problems
There is a lot of research out there that shows a moderate amount of alcohol can actually be healthy for fighting heart disease. The problem lies in the definition of moderation, which varies from one health and fitness organization or Doctor to another (more on this in the summary below). But too much alcohol can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat and other heart problems.

It cranks up your chances of contracting cancer
Drinking too much alcohol, and again this can be in a single instance or over time, can lead to cancer of your liver, your esophagus, your throat, your mouth and your breasts, whether you are a man or a woman.

Your immune system suffers
Too much alcohol causes immune system deficiencies, leaving you wide open to a host of diseases, conditions and ailments. Your ability to fight off infections is inhibited, even for up to a full 24 hours after drinking.

It makes your liver and pancreas hate you
Alcohol can negatively affect your pancreas and liver if you drink too much or too often. Fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver is common if you drink too much alcohol. And pancreatitis can lead to improper digestion and other digestive problems.

So the bottom line is, how much is too much?
The American Heart Association says women should not drink more than 1 unit per day, and men can have 2 alcoholic units each day. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says men should not exceed 4 drinks per day / 14 per week. They also recommend women not drink more than 3 drinks per day / 7 per week.

And if you live in Spain’s Basque region, your local doctor believes women and men can stay healthy while drinking a whopping 7 drinks each and every day. In the United Kingdom, 1 unit of alcohol is considered 8 grams. In the United States 14 grams makes up a unit in most cases.

The bottom line? Drink responsibly, know your personal limits, and understand the physical price that you are paying if you decide to drink alcohol, wine and beer.