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How to Track Alcohol Into Your Macros

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In a previous article, we discussed how to decide whether or not your nutrition goals leave room for an alcoholic beverage in your “macro budget.” If the answer is yes, or will be in the future, then it’s important to know how to track it.

Doing the Math

When it comes to calories, alcohol has 7 calories per 1 gram. This is very dense especially compared to the main macronutrients:

1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of pure alcohol = 7 calories

To track alcohol, we will be allocating these calories to carbs and/or fats. Never substitute alcohol for protein (because that’s just cheating).

IMPORTANT: If you are using a “mix” in your drink that has carbs or fat in it track that first. Then with the calories left over from the alcohol, do the math:

Track as carb: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage and divide by 4.

Track as fat: Take the total amount of calories in your alcoholic beverage and divide by 9.

Or split between the two.

Example: If a drink has 200 calories you could track as:

Carbs 200/4 = 50 grams of carbs
Fats 200/9= 22.2 grams of fat
Both 100/4= 25 grams of carbs
100/9= 11.1 grams of fats

Use the WAG Alcohol Calculator

We made a handy Alcohol Calculator App! Simply select how you would like to track and then move the slider. Slide it all the way to the left to track the drink as all carbs, all the way to the right for fat or anywhere in between to spread between both macros.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on our WAG Live YouTube channel.

Step 1 Decide if you want to track by ABV & Size (volume of alcohol) or By Calories.

By ABV & Size

This is the default setting. To use this conversion option you will need to know the volume of alcohol in ounces (oz.). If you weigh your drink in grams or milliliters, convert it to oz.

Enter the amount in the Ounces section. It is set to 12 oz. by default. In this example, we are using a 5 oz. glass of wine.

You will see the numbers for Carbs and Fats update automatically.

By Calories

To allocate alcohol to your macros using a certain amount of calories, switch to the By Calories option.

It is set to 120 calories by default.

Update the default Calories to the calories that you would like to allocate to alcohol. In this example, we are using 121 calories, which is 5 oz. of wine.

You will see the numbers for Carbs and Fats update automatically.

Step 2 Track both by ABV & Size and By Calories

Determine if you want to allocate the alcohol to your carbs, fats or a mixture of both. You can adjust the allocation using the sliding scale.

To allocate to a combination of the two, move the scale in between carbs and fats until you’re happy with the allotment.

To allocate 100% to fat, slide the scale all the way to the right.

To allocate 100% to carbs, slide to scale all the way to the left.

We know that all of the math that comes along with tracking alcohol can get confusing, that’s why our one-on-one nutrition coaches are always here to help and answer questions about properly tracking your favorite adult beverages!

Get a Taste of WAG

The WAG Crash Course is OPEN for enrollment. This 30-day course will teach you the ins and outs of macro tracking, building healthy lifestyle habits and sustaining results without restricting the foods you love. Get personalized macros from a WAG Coach, join the members-only Facebook Group and participate in quarterly Live Q&A sessions with WAG Coaches.

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Posted by Dani Sheriff
Dani is the Project Director at WAG and has been a member since 2015. She is dedicated to creating amazing content for WAG clients and perfecting the client experience outside of coaching.

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