What You May Not Have Realized About How Alcohol Affects Your Body

06/27/2014 08:23am ET | Updated December 6, 2017

Perhaps you've heard the old adage that our bodies can process one alcoholic drink an hour without significantly impairing our thoughts or actions.

But turns out, we actually process about 100 milligrams of alcohol per kilogram of bodyweight an hour, meaning it takes most of us more like two hours to metabolize one drink, Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), told HuffPost in May.

That means, depending on how fast he's throwing them back, a 180-pound man could have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.10 after just three drinks -- well above the 0.08 threshold over which one is considered legally drunk.

In the infographic below, statistics portal Statista details what exactly happens as BAC climbs -- and proves you probably don't want to get behind the wheel even after just a few.

(Click to enlarge)