Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! May it be a week full of joy, quality time with family and friends, and remembrance all the blessings you have to be thankful for. I hope you allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love without guilt this Thursday and also remember how fortunate you are to be able to worry about what you eat.
Many of us enjoy an alcoholic beverage to celebrate a special occasion. Alcohol itself contains calories, 7 per gram to be exact, just as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, contain calories. Alcoholic beverages often also contain carbohydrates, but alcohol itself is metabolized similarly to fat. If you’re tracking macros, you should absolutely track alcohol. It can be tracked as a fat, a carbohydrate, or both.
If you use My Fitness Pal, I would not recommend just scanning or entering the drink- it’s possible that the calories will be subtracted from your total, but your macros will stay the same (since there is no alcohol macro category in the app).
Look up the calories online and “Create a Food” on the app. Let’s say you’re going to drink a 150-calorie glass of wine.
- To track it as a fat (which has 9 calories per gram), divide the 150 calories by 9 to get 17 grams of fat.
- To track it as a carbohydrate (which has 4 calories per gram), divide the 150 calories by 4 to get 38 grams of carbohydrate.
- To track it as mixed carbohydrate/fat, divide 150 by 2 to get 75 calories each, and 75/9 for 8 grams of fat and 75/4 for 19 grams of carbohydrate.
^This is just for tracking the alcohol in the drink. If consuming a mixed drink, track mixers/soda/juice separately.
All this being said, keep in mind:
- Don’t consume a large amount of calories from beverages- the act of chewing food increases satiety, and alcohol itself may increase your appetite or otherwise lead to eating more.
- Hydration can become even more of an issue when consuming alcohol, so make sure you’re drinking at least one H2O on the rocks for each alcoholic drink (in addition to your baseline water intake goal).
- Practice moderation here- while it can be nice to enjoy a couple of drinks at a special occasion, no matter how you spin it alcohol is simply not good for you.
Katy, RD, LDN, CPT