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This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Tequila

If it's your drink of choice a few times a week, you might want to rethink your consumption.
Tequila neat with lime lemon and salt

Most people like to unwind with a refreshing margarita on a warm day at the beach or a tequila sunrise to wash down a plate of eggs Benedict for brunch, but the aftermath the following day? Not so much. Sure, tequila tastes great, but it can leave you pretty hungover—especially when you're downing shots or adding it to pre-made mixes that are packed with sugar and calories.

Beyond feeling lethargic and bloated, there's a whole lot more you might not realize happens to your body when you drink tequila.

If you like to indulge in your favorite tequila cocktails every once in a while, that's not all bad, as you don't want to make drinking tequila a regular, everyday habit. The consequences can add up and lead to health risks in the future, as with drinking any booze too often or in excess quantities.

Read below to uncover exactly what happens to your body when you drink tequila. And in case you've ever wondered What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day, we've got you covered there, too.

You can have a poor blood sugar response.

shot of tequila with salt rim and lime wedge
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"As is the case with regular intake of most forms of alcohol, a study showed that when healthy men consumed 1 ounce of tequila for 30 days, their insulin sensitivity was decreased, leading to elevated blood glucose levels," says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.

Since insulin helps the body get energy into cells, poor sensitivity to tequila can lead to a build-up of glucose and fats that will stay in the bloodstream, rather than go into the cells in order to work efficiently in the body.

"Over time, this contributes to the risk of both diabetes and heart disease," Jones says, so you want to keep tequila drinking in moderation to protect your heart and keep blood sugar regulation in check.

You can cause damage to your arteries.

man having heart attack
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"In the same study [mentioned above] on healthy men, 30 days of moderate tequila intake led to higher levels of homocysteine, a compound that indicates damage to artery walls," says Jones. When you experience arterial damage, the arteries become weak and it's easier for plaque to build up on them, which can further increase risk your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood sugar, and other heart complications.

Of course, you can sip on that margarita or two when you go out to drink with friends, but just keep the number of drinks low and take a few days off in the week from the hard stuff. (Go with water or perhaps one glass of red wine—it has antioxidants!)

You can end up with dry, aging skin.

Aging woman looking at wrinkles
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You know how you wake up after a night of drinking tequila with a puffy face, bags under the eyes, and dry skin? Well, that's because you're dehydrated—yes, that tequila can be a disaster for healthy, glowing skin.

"As with regular alcohol intake in any form, tequila acts as a diuretic both during intake and in the days following high intake. While this may lead to thirst, it is also dehydrating your cells, leading skin to become more dry," Jones says. This also accentuates wrinkles, which can make you look older and more tired, she adds.

So, when drinking tequila, pair each glass with water to keep yourself and your skin hydrated. And consider hydrating face products as well—remember to speak to your dermatologist for some good recommendations.

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Your stomach gets irritated.

stomach pain
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"Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach, and it tends to have a more pronounced impact when taken in as hard liquor versus beer or wine," Jones explains. "When the lining is irritated, over time heartburn, ulcers, and poor digestion can result."

This can be bad for your gut and lead to tummy troubles.

"Ultimately, this can negatively impact the lower digestive tract and those good bacteria that we want to protect," she says. And good gut health is important for keeping your immune system high (goodbye common cold!) and your bowels regular.

Your sleep quality gets worse.

Tired man
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Even though a few drinks can help you fall asleep hard (although it's not for the right reasons!), the quality of your sleep might not be great, and you could wake up often in the night, not really getting the REM cycle sleep you need to function well the next day.

"It really is more like 'passing out' than falling asleep to get rest. One night of disruption in circadian rhythm may not seem like a big deal, but over-indulging may impact sleep up to 48 hours and regular intake can wreak havoc on your rest processes long term," Jones explains. So, give yourself a cut-off to power down, and go some nights without drinking tequila to really catch those Zzz's.

Isadora Baum
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. Read more
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