23. How to Calculate Alcohol
9/1/2011 6:03 PM
| COMMENTS (20)
Alcohol. It can really be the bane of any Weight Watcher’s existence.
Every now and then, we’ll see someone on the boards saying “omg, I calculated out a shot of vodka, and it’s 0pp!!!!” or “have you guys tried the Smirnoff Ice Light? It’s only 1pp!!!!”
Every time I see one of these people on the board, I feel like the spoiler of the party when I chime in with “unfortunately, alcohol can’t be calculated by the nutrition information because alcohol is metabolized as sugar in the body. The points calculator doesn’t account for the basic science of alcohol consumption, and blah blah blah” and I sound like the teacher who told you that we had to cancel recess because of the Hurricane ;)
Unfortunately, it is true that alcohol can’t be calculated on the points calculator because of the way it is metabolized in the body. HOWEVER – there IS a way to calculate the Points Plus values of your favorite alcoholic drink! Although it takes a little more math than the typical system, I have personally LOVED having the ability to figure out those pesky drinks that just aren’t in the tracker.
I originally found this formula on a WW message board and ran it by a meeting leader to confirm! Believe it or not, the system is RELATIVELY simple.
- Take the total calories in the drink and the total carbs in the drink
- Multiply the total carbs by 4 – this gives you the calories from carbs in the drink
- Subtract the calories from carbs from the total calories – this leaves you with the calories from alcohol
- Divide the calories from alcohol by 7 – this gives you the alcohol grams
- Add the alcohol grams to the total fat in the drink (often 0)
- In the points calculator you put the alcohol grams + fat in the “fat” box, the carbs in the “carbs” box, and any other nutrition info in their regular boxes (although most alcoholic drinks will not have protein or fiber)
And that’s it! Now, I’ll calculate some of our favorite drinks to demonstrate how the system works!
Calculating Some Favorite Drinks
11.2oz bottle MGD64 (to prove this works ;) ) – 2pp
- Calories: 64 - Carbs: 2.4g - Fat: 0g
- 2.4 x 4 = 9.6 (calories from carbs)
- 64 – 9.6 = 54.4 (calories from alcohol)
- 54.4 / 7 = 7.8 (alcohol grams)
- 7.8 + 0 = 7.8 (alcohol grams + fat)
- Fat: 7.8 , Carbs: 2.4 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 2pp
11.2oz bottle Mike’s Hard Lemonade – 6pp
- Calories: 220 - Carbs: 38g - Fat: 1g
- 38 x 4 = 152 (calories from carbs)
- 220 – 152 = 68 (calories from alcohol)
- 68 / 7 = 6.7 (alcohol grams)
- 6.7 + 1 = 7.7 (alcohol grams + fat)
- Fat: 7.7 , Carbs: 38 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 6pp
11.2oz bottle Mike’s Hard Lemonade Lite – 3pp
- Calories: 98 - Carbs: 6g - Fat: 0g
- 6 x 4 = 24 (calories from carbs)
- 98 – 24 = 74 (calories from carbs)
- 74 / 7 = 10.6 (alcohol grams)
- 10.6 + 0 = 10.6 (alcohol grams + fat)
- Fat: 10.6 , Carbs: 6 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 3pp
Pint of Guiness – 6pp
- Calories: 168 - Carbs: 13g - Protein: 1g - Fat: 0g
- 13 x 4 = 52 (calories from carbs)
- 168 – 52 = 116 (calories from alcohol)
- 116 / 7 = 16.6 (alcohol grams)
- 16.6 + 0 = 0 (alcohol grams + fat)
- Fat: 16.6 , Carbs: 13 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 1 = 6pp
w to Deal With Mixed Drinks
Unfortunately, the system ISN’T fool proof. Mixed drinks, when not made with calorie-free mixers, pose a whole new issue. The only way to calculate a mixed drink is to separate it out into its components.
For example – if you have a rum and pineapple you need to calculate the pp value of the rum, and then the pp value of the pineapple juice, and add them separately into your tracker. This is the only way I know how to do it. If someone else knows differently, definitely tell me!
And, of course, the easiest way is to use calorie-free mixers ;)
So I hope this helps!! Let me know if it’s confusing, or if you have questions :D:D