With St. Patrick's Day coming up on Sunday, now's a good time to rethink the traditional approach to the Irish high holiday and give a second look at what all that boozing really does to your body.

The best tips from a recent post to the Bytesize Science YouTube channel: "One beer, one glass of wine or one ounce of distilled liquor per hour increases your [blood-alcohol content] by about 0.03 percent," and eating protein after hitting the sauce can help delay the effects and slow down the buzz if you've had a bit too much.

Not to be a downer, but the medical journal Lancet says that alcohol is the most harmful drug known to man, with more ill effects tied to boozing than to heroin use, prescription drug abuse and even cigarette smoking.

It's also the drug that most chronic abusers start with, given its ubiquitousness in most western societies. A study published last August in The Journal of School Health found that alcohol use is so pervasive that it is the real "gateway drug," and not marijuana as many have believed going back decades.

But what is it about the stinging elixir that has humans to inexorably hooked, and what exactly are the immediate physical consequences of going overboard? We'll let science break it down in the video below.

This video was published to YouTube on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.


Photo: Shutterstock.com.