Counting Macros

Drinking Alcohol and Counting Macros

By Ted KallmyerUpdated May 23, 2023

Alcohol can be included macro counting diet as long as you track it like other drinks that provide energy to your body.

In this article, I’ll explain the best way to keep track of your macros when you have a wine or a beer and other things to consider when adding alcohol to your macros diet.

Alcohol, classified as toxic, is not an essential nutrient or chemical necessary for the human body.

Is alchol a macronutrient?

Alcohol is not a carb, a fat, or a protein – and therefore is not a macronutrient. However, it does have a caloric value. The liver breaks it down into metabolites that are converted to energy.

One gram of alcohol is about 7 calories.

How to count alcohol macros

Food trackers like MyFitnessPal will not include alcohol in your macros but will count toward your total calories

Your macro counts alone cannot reliably indicate the correct calorie intake on days when you choose to have a drink.

Here’s an approach that will help:

  1. Record the alcoholic drink in your food diary like any other food or beverage.
  2. On days you drink, shift your focus to tracking only total calories and protein.
    You’ll want to stay within your calorie and protein goal on these days.
  3. Allow your carbs and fat to come up short for the day to make up for the alcohol grams you consumed.

This way, the drink won’t hinder your progress and will be accounted for nutritionally.

Alcohol will inhibit fat loss

Drinking alcohol should be classified as something to enjoy occasionally and not a regular part of your diet.

Alcohol is toxic, addictive, and places stress on your liver. While your liver is busy processing the alcohol, secondary processes are put on hold. This includes glycogen production and fat oxidation.

Alcohol has a lot of additional calories

Calories from drinks can quickly add up and push you into a surplus for the day, leading to fat storage. They will not satisfy hunger and have low nutritional value.

Macro-friendly alcoholic drinks

In this context, macro-friendly means low in carbohydrates. Carbs and fats are the easiest macros to overshoot.

So, go for low-carb or light beers and dry rather than sweet wines. If you’re having a gin and tonic – use diet tonic water.

Wine macros

A 5-ounce serving of wine (about 150 ml), which is considered to be one standard drink, typically contains:

  • Calories: 120-130
  • Carbohydrates: 4-5 grams
  • Protein: 0.1 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Alcohol: 14-16 grams

Calories in common wines, beers, and other drinks

DrinkCaloriesFluid Ounces
Red wine1235
White wine1215
Lite Beer10312
Gin and Tonic1436
White Claw10012
Pina Colada4368

It’s fine to enjoy a night out or in from time to time with a few drinks,

If you’re tossing back drinks on the regular, it might be time to ask yourself if the effects on your goals and your overall health are worth it.

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