How to Calculate Alcohol When Tracking Macros

Feb 22, 2023

 by Isabelle Birdsall

Have you ever wondered how to account for alcohol when tracking your macronutrients? Does it belong with the fats? How about carbohydrates? Maybe it’s a protein? Unfortunately, that bottle of Champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion provides none of these. In fact, alcohol is actually a sneaky, fourth macronutrient. By sneaky, I mean that it contributes calories to our body without providing any beneficial nutrients. 

So, if it’s its own macronutrient, how do I track it? Although alcohol is technically a macronutrient, it is not essential for survival. So, you get to decide which macronutrient you would like your beverage to account for! 

How do I decide? Consider the three macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Which would be the easiest and smartest option to eat less of to accommodate for an alcoholic beverage. Hint: Protein is not an option! Protein is the most important macronutrient and cheating your body of it will only decrease muscle mass and overall strength. So, we now have it narrowed down to fats and carbohydrates, two more flexible options when considering budgeting for alcohol. To decide between these macronutrients, it is important to consider your own eating habits and daily routine. Would you prefer to eat less carbohydrates throughout the day to accommodate for a cocktail at dinner, or would you be willing to give up some fats for a glass of wine? 


  • Determine total calories in your beverage 
  • Calculate grams of preferred macronutrient 
  • Carbohydrate = 4 calories/gram
  • Fat = 9 calories/gram
  • Divide total calories by calories/gram of preferred macronutrient 
  • Log!

Counting towards carbs:

So, you’ve cracked open a cold White Claw and have decided to count your alcohol towards carbohydrates! Let’s do some quick math to determine how many grams of carbs you will then track:

A standard White Claw contains 100 calories. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories/g. 

100/4 = 25 g of carbs. Track it!

Counting towards fats:

The next weekend, you decided that you can give up some fats in exchange for another White Claw. Let’s do some quick math to determine how many grams of fats you will track: 

A standard White Claw contains 100 calories. Fats contain 9 calories/g

100/9 = 11.1 g of fats. 

What if I want to count it towards a mix of both? Easy! You can count it towards both by using free software such as WAG’s alcohol macro calculator, adjusting the sliding scale to fit your personal preference!

How do I get the most out of my carbs? 

  • Choose lean sources of protein that are lower in carbs such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, and fish 
  • Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Focus on whole foods that are high in fiber and nutrients. 
  • Limit added sugars in food and drink, avoid soda, fruit juice, candy, and desserts to reduce total carb intake. 
  • Look for low-carb alternatives such as cauliflower rice, lettuce wraps, and zucchini noodles. 

How do I get the most out of my fat? 

  • Choose lean sources of protein that are lower in fat such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, and fish. Red meat would be an example of a higher fat source.
  • Choose healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon. 
  • Choose low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt and skim milk
  • Look for lower-fat alternatives such as hummus, whole fruits, and mashed avocado.