With Summer now upon us and the festive season looming, most Australians tend to drastically increase their alcohol intake over the coming weeks and months. But what is this traditional Aussie pastime really doing to your body as well as your beach-ready goals?

When you drink alcohol, your body works quickly to convert it to acetate. And with so much acetate in your blood stream, any potential fat-loss is unfortunately completely halted until the acetate has been excreted.

When it comes to your exercise, alcohol negatively affects hormone production, strength gains and muscle repair/growth. As all of this leads to a suppressed metabolism it’s best to avoid any alcohol on the evening after any exercise session.

Researchers at Tufts University also concluded that 2 drinks can lead to lower bone mineral density as well as an impaired immune system leading to more frequent illness (and greater length of illness).

Alcohol is also very calorie dense, packing a hefty 7 calories for each and every gram. Cutting back on your consumption could save you hundreds (and potentially thousands) of empty calories each week that are likely standing in the way of achieving your beach-ready-body. Beer can range from 60 to 250 calories per serve and liquors up to 200 calories per serve. And when you combine that with juices or soft drinks, then the calories (and extra sugar) really pile up.

Studies have shown that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep patterns are disrupted by alcohol which in turn limits hormone production, therefore impeding metabolism and fat-burning potential. Whilst it may seem that a couple of drinks will help you to relax and fall asleep, it really is affecting your sleep quality and fat-burning ability.

So, how can you reduce the negative affects of alcohol whilst still enjoying your festive season?
Always look for ways to reduce the unnecessary calories you consume when drinking by choosing soda water or other sugar free mixer options. Be sure to eat a decent healthy and balanced meal rich in vegetable, good fats and proteins before your first drink. And obviously not drinking to excess in any one sitting is also an ideal way to reduce the potential damage caused, plus your morning-self will be thankful too.