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How to track alcohol macros

How to track alcohol macros. Written by noah quezada registered dietitian nutritionist denver colorado

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Is it possible to enjoy a night out on the town and have a cocktail (or two) without blowing your calories and macros?

ABSOLUTELY! With a little planning and background knowledge, you can track your drinks and stay aligned with your health and fitness goals. 

We are going to answer the questions that I routinely get asked.

  • How to count alcohol macros
  • How to track alcohol
  • Should you track your alcohol as carbs or fat? 
  • how to track macros in wine, beer, Vodka, White Claw, tequila, and gin.

Plus we will cover the calories and macros for each type of alcohol listed above. 

I have helped hundreds learn how to create a healthy sustainable routine that fits THEIR lifestyle. 

If you have tried to lose weight and be healthier but are stuck, schedule a call today, I’d love to chat. 

Let’s jump in.

How to count alcohol macros

How to count alcohol macros. First find the amount of calories in one serving. Find the number of carbohydrates in grams. Multiply the number of carbs by four because 4 cal per gram of carbohydrate subtract calories per serving and calories from carbohydrates step three remaining calories from alcohol divide the remaining calories by seven to get the number of grams of alcohol.

One of the main concerns people have when they start counting alcohol macros is how to accurately track their intake. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips that can help.

First, it is important to be aware that alcohol is a macronutrient. This means that just like proteins fats and carbs, alcohol contains calories and can impact your daily intake. (1)

To be more specific and if you are a beginner at counting macros to serve as a reminder, per gram protein, fats, and carbohydrates have the following calorie amounts: (2)

Protein- 4 calories per gram

Fat- 9 calories per gram

Carbohydrates- 4 calories per gram

Alcohol is the second most energy-dense or has the second-highest calories per gram macro at 7 calories. (fat being the highest in calories)

Alcohol- 7 calories per gram (1)

Although alcohol provides the second-highest amount of calories unlike fat protein or carbs:

1. Our body does not the molecule ethanol (alcohol, SHOTS!, booze, etc) to survive.

2. Alcohol typically does not provide any nutritional benefit. Meaning no vitamins minerals, fiber, or protein.

Second, when counting alcohol macros, it is important to be mindful of the type of alcoholic beverage you are consuming. For example, a margarita (mixed drink) is going to have different macro amounts than a shot of tequila (clear liquor).

This is because mixed drinks often contain added sugars, fruit juices, and other mixers that can impact the overall calorie and typically carbohydrate content.

On the other hand, straight or clear liquors like vodka, gin, and tequila typically have only the calories coming from alcohol rather than from the alcohol + mixer.

Now that we know how many calories are in each macronutrient, we can move on to discussing how to track alcohol macros. As we mentioned before, alcohol is a macronutrient and should be tracked as such.

How to track alcohol 

To track your alcohol intake, you will need to count the number of grams of alcohol in each drink.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism one serving of alcohol includes,

– 12 fluid ounces of beer (about 360ml)

– Five fluid ounces of wine (about 150 ml)

– One and a half fluid ounces or a “shot” of 80 proof liquor (about 44 ml)

All of which contain 14 grams of alcohol. Each gram of alcohol is 7 calories. So if we do the math,

7 calories X 14 grams = 98 calories for one standard serving of alcohol.

Any additional calories in that one serving come from additional carbohydrates, the mixers, or other added ingredients.

To help you understand how to find the macros in alcohol let’s walk through an example.

Carbs vs alcohol in White Claws

White Claw has quickly become a popular hard seltzer. If we take a look at the can, it tells us that one serving is 12 fluid ounces or one can.

On the top of the can in very small print, it says each can has 100 calories and 2 grams of carbs.

White claw nutrition information noah quezada registered Dietitian nutritionist denver colorado

Carbohydrates (sweeteners most likely) and alcohol are the only calorie-containing ingredients, we can do some simple math to find out how many grams of alcohol are in one can of White Claw.

2 grams of carbohydrates = 8 calories (4 calories/per gram)

100 calories – 8 calories from carbohydrate = 92 calories remaining and solely coming from alcohol.

92 calories divided by 7 calories per gram of alcohol = 13.14 grams of alcohol in one serving/can of White Claw.

I would not recommend tracking your grams of alcohol, instead, apply those calories to your total carbohydrates of fats.

Should you track your alcohol as carbs or fat? 

This really comes down to personal preference and how your current macronutrient ratio is split.

It is important to mention that you do not want to replace calories coming from protein with alcohol.

With that being said I like to use macro ratio options:

The macro ratio split for alcohol:

1. Split up the calories consumed from alcohol according to your daily macro split.

If consuming the recommended daily allowance for fats and carbs is 35% and 65% and multiply them by the number of calories coming from alcohol.

For example, if you drank 100 calories worth of alcohol,

35% of 100 calories from alcohol = 35 calories

2. Then divide 35 calories by 9 (the number of calories in a gram of fat) to find how many grams of alcohol come from fat.

35 calories /  9 calories = 4 grams of fat approximately         

This would be your “fat grams” from alcohol.

65% of 100 calories from alcohol = 65 calories

3. Then divide 65 calories by four (the number of calories in a gram of carbohydrate) to find how many grams of alcohol come from carbs.

65 calories / 4 calories = about 16 grams of carbs

This would be your “carb grams” from alcohol.

4. You would track these macros the same way you would track any other macronutrient, simply add them to your daily total.

Now that we know how to track our alcohol macros and how many calories are in one standard serving, let’s move on to discussing some of the most popular types of alcoholic beverages and their calorie and macronutrient content.

How to track wine macros

How to track wine calories 3 grams of carbs in a glass of wine 6 grams of carbs in a glass of wine.

Wine is a really general term for alcoholic beverages made from fermented grapes. There are red wines, white wines, and sparkling wines.

The calorie and carb content in wine can vary depending on the type of wine, but in general, a five-ounce serving of wine (about 150 ml) has about 120-130 calories and three to six grams of carbs.

To track your wine macros, simply count the number of grams of carbs in your serving and multiply them by 4 (There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates).

You are then left with the total calories and calories coming from carbs to find the calories coming from alcohol and subtract these two.

The remaining calories are the calories that you are getting from the alcohol.

Divide the calories coming from booze by 7 to get the total number of grams of alcohol for that number of calories.

From there you can decide if you want to use apply those calories to either alcohol and

Calories and macros in wine

Wine type Serving sizeCalories Carbohydrates Grams of alcohol Calories from alcohol
Chardonnay5 fl oz (147 g)123 calories3.2 grams15.7 grams 109.9 calories
Sauvignon Blanc5 fl oz (147 g)119 calories 3.0 grams 15.4 grams 107.8 calories
Cabernet Sauvignon5 fl oz (147 g)122 calories 3.8 grams 15.4 grams 107.8 calories
Riesling5 fl oz (147 g)118 calories 5.5 grams14.1 grams 98.7 calories
Pinot Noir5 fl oz (147 g)121 calories 3.4 grams 15.3 grams 107.1 calories
Syrah5 fl oz (147 g)122 calories 3.8 grams 15.4 grams 107.8 calories
Malbec5 fl oz (147 g)125 calories3.8 grams 13.5 grams 94.5 calories
Pinot Grigio5 fl oz (147 g)122 calories3.0 grams15.7 grams 109.9 calories
Zinfandel5 fl oz (147 g)129 calories4.2 grams 16.3 grams 114.1 calories
Merlot5 fl oz (147 g)127 calories3.69 grams 15.6 grams 109.2 calories

How to track beer macros

Beer can be trickery than wine to track because there is such a wide variety and within that variety, there are high carb and high-calorie options and low carb and calorie options.

For example, a 12-ounce can of Budweiser has 145 calories and 13 grams of carbs, while a 12-ounce can of Michelob Ultra has 95 calories and two grams of carbs.

The calorie and carb content in beer can vary depending on the type of beer, but in general, a 12-ounce serving of beer has about 150 calories and 13 grams of carbs.

To track your beer macros, simply count the number of grams of carbs in your serving and multiply them by four (There are four calories per gram of carbohydrates).

You are then left with the total calories and calories coming from carbs to find the calories coming from alcohol and subtract these two.

The remaining calories are the calories that you are getting from the alcohol.

Divide the calories coming from booze by seven to get the total number of grams of alcohol for that number of calories.

From there you can decide if you want to use apply those calories to either your carb or fat macros for the day.

With either carb or fat, remember to divide by 4 or 9 depending on which you choose.

Macros in light beer vs darker beer (IPA)

Light Beer

Light BeerServing size CaloriesCarbohydratesGrams of alcoholCalories from alcohol
Bud light12 fl oz (354 g)Calories 103Carbohydrate 4.6 g11.7 grams 81.9 calories
Michelob Ultra12 fl oz (360 g)Calories 97.2Carbohydrate 2.6 g11.9 grams 83.3 calories

Dark Beer and IPA

Dark BeerServing sizeCaloriesCarbohydratesGrams of alcoholCalories from alcohol
Voodoo Ranger IPA12 fl oz (354 g)Calories 200Carbohydrate 15 g18.8 grams131.6 calories
Fat Tire12 fl oz (354 g)Calories 155Carbohydrate 13.7 g14.3 grams100.1 calories

How to track hard seltzer macros

Hard seltzer is all the rave right now, and according to an article written for NBC, hard seltzer sales grew more than 50% between 2019 and 2020.

With so many people drinking hard seltzer, you may be wondering how to track the macros in hard seltzer.

Here’s what you need to know:

With it being that all companies seem to be producing a similar product that is 5%-8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) 100-120 calories per can and 2-5 grams of carbs the approach applies to almost all 100-calorie hard seltzer products.

Calories and macros in hard seltzer

Hard Seltzer Serving sizeCaloriesCarbohydrateGrams of alcoholCalories from alcohol
White Claws1 can 12 fl oz (355 ml)Calories 100Carbohydrate 2 g13 grams 91 calories
Bud Light Seltzer1 can 12 fl oz (355 ml)Calories 100Carbohydrate 2 g13 grams 91 calories
Truly Hard Seltzer1 can 12 fl oz (355 ml)Calories 110Carbohydrate 2 g13 grams 91 calories

How to track hard alcohol macros

Strait alcohol is, in my opinion, the easiest to track.

The calorie and carb content of straight alcohol is the same no matter what type of alcohol it is.

One gram of alcohol contains seven calories, so to find the number of calories in a given alcoholic beverage, simply multiply the number of grams of alcohol by seven.

For example, a shot of vodka (30 ml) contains about 14 grams of alcohol, so it has 98 calories (14 x 7 calories per gram of alcohol).

Calories and macros in gin, tequila, whiskey, and vodka

Hard alcoholServing sizeCaloriesCarbohydrates Grams of alcoholCalories from alcohol
Gin 1 shot 1.5 fl oz (42 g)Calories 97Carbohydrate 0 g14 grams 97 calories
Tequila 1 shot 1.5 fl oz (42 g)Calories 97Carbohydrate 0 g14 grams 97 calories
Whiskey 1 shot 1.5 fl oz (42 g)Calories 97Carbohydrate 0 g14 grams 97 calories
Vodka 1 shot 1.5 fl oz (42 g)Calories 97Carbohydrate 0 g14 grams 97 calories

TIPS: 

1. Use a tracking app to keep track of your alcohol macros. This is the easiest way to keep track of your intake and make sure you’re staying within your daily limits.

2. According to the USDA Dietary Health Guideline both men and women should limit alcohol intake to 1 drink per day.

3. Be mindful of additional ingredients in cocktails. The calories from mixers and other ingredients can quickly add up, especially on top of the calories from macros

Following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your alcoholic beverages while staying on track with your diet and fitness goals! Cheers!

Conclusion

As you can see, tracking alcohol macros is not as difficult as it may seem. By knowing how to track the calories and carbs in your favorite alcoholic beverages, you can easily stay on track with your diet and fitness goals.

Keep the tips we’ve provided in mind, and you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite drinks while still reaching your desired results! Cheers!​

Now that you know how to track alcohol macros, put these tips into practice the next time you enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or mixed drink. Remember, moderation is key! Enjoy your drinks responsibly and always drink responsibly.

Looking for support on tracking your macros? Please feel free to reach out.

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