If you’re tracking macros, alcohol can be quite the mystery. But don’t worry, it’s actually very straightforward!
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 don’t count it with our main macronutrients: fat, carbs, and protein.
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 should say right off the bat that personally I don’t try to track macros from alcohol, but I take a very loose approach to tracking. I just log the calories and move on. That being said, I know that many people want to be as accurate as possible with their macro tracking, so this should help you!
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.
Let’s look at the Truly above. It’s 100 calories, but there are no macros to track. Yes, there are 2g of carbs, but for simplicity purposes, we’re going to assume they’re not there (it’s such a teeny number anyway). So, we need to find a place for those mysterious calories to go. You have 3 options here: track as carbs, track as fat, or a combination of both.
If I had to choose one, I would track it as carbs. Reason being is that carbs are typically the most flexible in our diets. That being said, it’s going to come down to your preferences!
When it comes to tracking as fat, I’d be careful. Fat is very important in our diets, so if your fat intake is on the lower side, I wouldn’t track alcohol as such. Instead, err on the side of carbs to make sure you’re hitting your fat target. But if you consume high amounts of fat and you’re lower on the carb side, you might prefer to track as fat!
When in doubt, track it as both. The only wrong way to track alcohol is tracking it as protein. It’s very important for us to get in enough protein, so we don’t want to jeopardize that!
If you’re gonna be enjoying a beverage or two this holiday weekend and are wanting to track ‘em, I hope this guide can help!