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How to Track Alcohol with Flexible Dieting & Macros

Updated: Mar 4, 2022



⚠️ Important to note: If you are serious about your goals and are in a position where you are wanting to lose fat or are trying to gain muscle (or both) in the best way possible, I HIGHLY discourage you from drinking while trying to achieve those goals. It hinders the body's ability to build efficiently, is essentially wasted calories because the body can't use it to benefit itself in any way, and overall it diminishes your feeling of well-being and slows down our body. It can take a full day or more for your body to return to its prior state before drinking.


With that said, once you are in a position where you are MAINTAINING (aka you're simply living a healthy, balanced life and want to enjoy a drink), you can account for your drinks while still hitting your macro goals (and not packing on pounds from drinking).


Alcohol is its own Macro and has a value of 7 calories per gram.

However, no one is measuring their drinks out in grams (at least I hope not), and there is no way to input alcohol macros individually within MyFitnessPal (since it's not an essential nutrient).



The easiest way to track your drinks is by taking the total caloric value of the drink (let's say it's 100 calories to make it easy) and either:


OPTION 1: Use some of your CARB macros (4 calories per gram) and divide the drink total by 4.

EXAMPLE: 100 calories / 4 carb calories = 25 grams that you will subtract from your carb allotment. You can manually enter this into MFP using Quick Add.


OPTION 2: Use some of your FAT macros (9 calories per gram) and divide the drink total by 9.

EXAMPLE: 100 calories / 9 fat calories = 11.1 grams that you will subtract from your fat allotment. You can manually enter this into MFP using Quick Add.


  • You NEVER ever use your PROTEIN macros for alcohol.

  • You can also use a combination of carb and fat macros (this tool makes it easier to calculate: https://www.iifym.com/alcohol-macro-calculator/- keep in mind that mixed drinks such as a "4oz margarita" can vary greatly depending on where you get it and how they make it)

  • You would then track it by going to QUICK ADD in MyFitnessPal (screenshots below) and taking it away from the macros you chose. You cannot just scan a barcode or search for the drink, because though it will account for the calories, you will end up overeating for the day by not taking it away from your macros.


* You still need to measure the alcohol out to account for it accurately (i.e. a 1oz shot of vodka, a 5oz glass of wine). Also, any mixers need to be tracked as well (cranberry juice, coke, etc).


With alllllll of that said, you can see how drinking can really add up and cause a hindrance to our progress (and be annoying to try to track). I truly recommend keeping it to as little as possible (or not at all) while you are seriously trying to achieve a goal.


Aside from that, I suggest drinking in moderation and not worrying about tracking it on those occasions, but simply make smarter choices when you do drink. 😊



LIGHTER OPTIONS:

  • Clear liquors (single shot)

  • Spiked seltzers (White Claws, Truly, etc)

  • Light beers

  • Red semi-dry to dry wine

  • Water or soda water instead of Tonic as a mixer

  • Light juices instead of regular juice (or half water/half juice)


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