A lot of people ask me “can I drink alcohol while tracking macros?” The answer of course is yes- alcohol (responsibly) is absolutely fine! But how in the world do you track it?
Alcohol is technically its own macronutrient, which means our bodies use it for energy (calories). However, alcohol provides us with no nutritional value, so we can’t really count it as a macro.
1 gram of fat provides us with 9 calories, while 1 gram of carbs or protein provide 4 calories. Alcohol falls right in the middle at 7 calories per gram. Since it falls right between carbs & fat, you may choose to track it as either of those. I find it makes the most sense to count it as a little bit of both!
First things first- you need to account for any calories from mixers. If you have a rum & coke, you need to get the macros of the coke separately, so let’s assume you’re looking at JUST alcohol. What I like to do is simply cut the calories in half, and divide one half by 9 to get the grams of fat, and divide the other half by 4 to get the grams of carbs. It’s really that simple!
You can technically count alcohol as either all fats or all carbs, and you wouldn’t be wrong either way. Personally, I would lean towards counting it as carbs. In a lot of cases, people have specific fat & protein goals, but their carbs are less important. So you might want to track your drink as carbs to be sure you’re hitting your other macros.
The only way to be wrong here is to track your drink as protein. Protein is too important for us, so you don’t want to take away from your protein intake.
Alcohol can be a tricky thing to track, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be avoided. Don’t stress about it, just follow this guide and be merry.