Whether it’s after a long day or week of work, a birthday party or a holiday celebration alcoholic beverages can be involved. A popular question I get quite frequently is, “Can I drink alcohol while counting macros?” The answer is, YES you can – but it’s important to count it into your macros.
Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Calories from alcohol are NOT classified under any of these macronutrients as they are empty calories containing zero essential nutrients. To give you a better a picture on how this looks, if you scan or look up a light beer on My Fitness Pal, it will contain about 95 calories/ 3g carb/0 g fat/ 0g protein. Let’s break this down macros to calories and see if this equals out to 95 calories.
4 calories per 1 gram of carbohydrate
4 calories per 1 gram of protein
9 calories per 1 gram of fat
If the above is calculated out mathematically.. This is what it shows from your light beer.
3 g carbohydrate x 4 calories per gram = 12 calories coming from carbohydrates
95 calories from the light beer – 12 calories = 83 calories that are simply not accounted for within those macros. We have to account for those 83 calories some way into our macros – – – > here’s how to properly track that light beer.
You can track 3 different ways. As a carbohydrate, fat or both carbohydrate AND fat.
Tracking as a carbohydrate: 95 cal / 4 cal/g = 24 g carbohydrate
Tracking as a fat: 9 cal / 9cal/g = 11 g fat
Tracking as a carb + fat =
Carb = 47.5 cal / 4 cal/g = 12 g carbohydrate
Fat = 47.5 cal / 9 cal/g = 5 g fat
Keep in mind that alcohol contains empty calories so we must account for it as a carbohydrate, fat or both carb + fat. Once you calculate what your usual drink contains, it will become like clockwork! In My Fitness Pal there is a simple way to create drinks or recipes that you can quickly add into your macros without doing the calculations each and every time you want a beverage. Quick add option is available as well!
**If calculating for a mixed drink, calculate based off of the liquor calories and make sure to add in the mixer. **
Take a Peak at some Macro Friendly Valentine’s Day Cocktails and/or Mocktails!
Love Bug Cocktail
4 oz Red Cranberry Juice (14C, 0.5F, 0.5P)
2 oz Lime LaCroix (0C, 0F, 0P) *Can use diet Lime Soda as well*
1 oz Vodka ~ 64 cal – Tracked as a fat 64 cal/ 9 cal/g = 7 g fat (0C, 7F, 0P)
Lime for Garnish
Total Macros: (14C, 7.5F, 0.5P)
Makes 1 Serving
“Be Mine” – Moscow Mule
2 oz Vodka ~128 cal – Tracked as Carb + Fat – 64 cal/ 9 cal/g = 7g fat & 64 cal / 4 cal/g = 16gC
3 oz Diet Ginger Beer
1 tbsp grenadine – (14C, 0F, 0P)
½ c halved Strawberries (6C, 0F, 0P) – Cut in half, mix in drink
Add Ice & Serve in Copper Cups
Total Macros: (36C, 7F, 0P)
Makes 1 Serving
**Any of the above drinks can be made into Mocktails, simply take out the alcohol.**
Be sure to grab our guides at check out consisting of Travel, Restaurant/Fast Food, How to calculate alcohol and macro cheat sheet! Click here for these guides.