23. How to Calculate Alcohol

Written by crowsgirl15 (lana) on 9/1/2011 6:03 PM | COMMENTS (20)

EDITED: The formula has been edited just slightly because M_IN_MD2 showed me a flaw! The edits are in italics :D I only edited calculations that had fat or protein (Mikes Hard Reg.)

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 this post on a 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, but here 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.

The Formula
I originally found this formula on a WW message board. Believe it or not, the system is RELATIVELY simple.

  1. Take the total calories in the drink, the total carbs in the drink, the total fat in the drink (usually 0), and the total protein in the drink (usually 0).
  2. Multiply the total carbs by 4 – this gives you calories from carbs
    • Multiply the total fat by 9 - this gives you calories from fat
    • Multiply the total protein by 4 - this gives you calories from protein
    • Add all 3 numbers to get calories not from alcohol
  3. Subtract calories not from alcohol from the total calories – this leaves you with calories from alcohol
  4. Divide calories from alcohol by 7 – this gives you alcohol grams
  5. Add alcohol grams to the total fat in the drink (often 0)
  6. In the points calculator put alcohol grams + fat in the “fat” box, the carbs in the “carbs” box, and any other nutrition info in the other boxes (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 – 2pp

  1. Calories: 64 - Carbs: 2.4g - Fat: 0g
  2. 2.4 x 4 = 9.6 (calories from carbs/not from alcohol)
  3. 64 – 9.6 = 54.4 (calories from alcohol)
  4. 54.4 / 7 = 7.8 (alcohol grams)
  5. 7.8 + 0 = 7.8 (alcohol grams + fat)
  6. Fat: 7.8 , Carbs: 2.4 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 2pp

11.2oz bottle Mike’s Hard Lemonade – 7pp

  1. Calories: 220 - Carbs: 38g - Fat: 1g
  2. 38 x 4 = 152 (calories from carbs)
  3. 1 x 4 = 4 (calories from fat)
  4. 4 + 152 = 156 (calories not from alcohol)
  5. 220 – 156 = 64 (calories from alcohol)
  6. 64 / 7 = 9.1 (alcohol grams)
  7. 9.1 + 1 = 10.1 (alcohol grams + fat)
  8. Fat: 10.1 , Carbs: 38 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 7pp

11.2oz bottle Mike’s Hard Lemonade Lite – 3pp

  1. Calories: 98 - Carbs: 6g - Fat: 0g
  2. 6 x 4 = 24 (calories fr om carbs/not from alcohol)
  3. 98 – 24 = 74 (calories from carbs)
  4. 74 / 7 = 10.6 (alcohol grams)
  5. 10.6 + 0 = 10.6 (alcohol grams + fat)
  6. Fat: 10.6 , Carbs: 6 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 0 = 3pp

Pint of Guiness – 6pp
  1. Calories: 168 - Carbs: 13g - Protein: 1g - Fat: 0g
  2. 13 x 4 = 52 (calories from carbs/not from alcohol)
  3. 168 – 52 = 116 (calories from alcohol)
  4. 116 / 7 = 16.6 (alcohol grams)
  5. 16.6 + 0 = 0 (alcohol grams + fat)
  6. Fat: 16.6 , Carbs: 13 , Fiber: 0 , Protein: 1 = 6pp

How to Deal With Mixed Drinks
Unfortunately, the system ISN’T fool proof. The only way to calculate a mixed drink is to separate it out into its components.

E.g. - if you have 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 the tracker. This is the only way I know how to do it. If someone else knows differently, 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

Categories: Food


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  • Post Image tepperfan

    4/13/2014 8:37 PM
    Thank you for this! I've always just figured 3PP for a shot of hard liquor, plus any mixer--or 4PP for 4 oz of wine. But then I'm not very adventurous!


  • Post Image crowsgirl15 (lana)

    4/12/2014 9:26 PM
    Brian - A lot of those brands are listed, this just works for anything that isn't!


  • Post Image crowsgirl15 (lana)

    4/12/2014 9:13 PM
    You are so very right, and I am correcting the formula right now!!! Thank you SO much!


  • Post Image m_in_md2

    4/12/2014 10:26 AM
    You are on the right track, but your formula is incomplete for any drink that contains fat or protein. I realize those are usually less of a factor, but it does make a difference for some beverages. The formula needs to subtract out fat and protein calories before figuring alcohol grams. (9 cal. per gram for fat, 4 for protein)


  • Post Image bks1632 (brian)

    4/1/2014 11:55 AM
    I like to drink alcohol on the rocks, no mixer - etc. Is there a cheat sheet for this, besides that stupid interactive bar, which isn't really interactive, because you can't pop in an alcohol, you have to look at their list of just mixed drinks. For example - hennessey on the rocks, or dewars on the rocks, or just Kettle-one on the rocks. It looks like citrus vodka, might be less points than normal vodka? Why don't they just list that out like they list everything else?


  • Post Image bks1632 (brian)

    4/1/2014 11:27 AM
    I like to drink alcohol on the rocks, no mixer - etc. Is there a cheat sheet for this, besides that stupid interactive bar, which isn't really interactive, because you can't pop in an alcohol, you have to look at their list of just mixed drinks. For example - hennessey on the rocks, or dewars on the rocks, or just Kettle-one on the rocks. It looks like citrus vodka, might be less points than normal vodka? Why don't they just list that out like they list everything else?


  • Post Image 3greenvillegirls (krista)

    3/31/2014 9:14 PM
    Thank you! I have been trying to figure out how much Mike's hard lemonade was forever!!


  • Post Image kei_sha (keisha)

    3/30/2014 5:53 PM
    Thank you for allowing me to face reality I thought I drank 3 points worth if wine but it just didn't feel right and I googled wine and points calculator to discover this article so my wine was 11 points gladly I was able to use some of my weekly points I can't have much of anything else until tomorrow.


  • Post Image arkmom811 (amy)

    3/15/2014 2:06 PM
    Since It's St. Patrick's day weekend, I wanted to point out that I used the above formula to calculate the points for Murphy's Irish Stout, and its 4pp. In case any one was looking to imbibe with a stout, this is 2 less points than Guiness :)


  • Post Image kerilotion (keri)

    3/1/2014 5:06 PM
    thanks! the beer I thought was 2 pts, is 6!


  • Post Image emhi2013 (emelia)

    2/22/2014 10:24 PM
    thank you so much! This sadly means a bottle of moscato is 22pp :(


  • Post Image crowsgirl15 (lana)

    9/30/2013 11:53 AM
    82 calories with 0s across the board means 82 calories from alcohol! So you divide that by 7, which leaves you with 11.7 g of alcohol. You put 11.7 in the fat box, 0s in all the other boxes, and that leaves you with: 3pp per ounce!


  • Post Image jmj0711 (jamie)

    9/28/2013 6:23 PM
    So how DO you calculate something like Smirnoff blue label vodka, which has 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0 protein, etc, and is 82 calories per ounce?


  • Post Image megetroy (megan)

    9/17/2013 2:13 PM
    This is genius, thanks so much for sharing! Going to the Harpoon Brewery tomorrow night and it's great to be able to calculate the PP of their Pumpkin Cider in advance so I can budget for it (5PPs).


  • Post Image crowsgirl15 (lana)

    9/17/2013 1:20 PM
    1 carbohydrate is 4 calories, so it would be impossible to have 50 carbs in something that is 197 calories! Are you sure the NI is correct?


  • Post Image wanderingwriter (elizabeth)

    8/6/2013 6:24 PM
    Thanks for this! Anyone tracked down the nutrition info of Kinky Liqueur? I've just emailed the company but I'd like to track it the actual day I drink it, instead of weeks later when they will inevitably get back to me. If anyone knows the PPV, or even where I can find the info, I'd really appreciate it. All I can find online is JUST the calories from places like MyFitnessPal.


  • Post Image gottabaloser3 (susan)

    7/23/2013 5:33 PM
    Love the info! Sometimes I treat myself to a martini. Does anyone know pp value for a shot of raspberry or chocolate liqueur??


  • Post Image froggydog

    7/20/2013 1:25 AM
    What happens when the calories are 197, but carbs are 50? By this calculation, I am getting negative fat grams


  • Post Image sknutson777 (shawna)

    7/8/2013 5:59 PM
    This blog completely burst my bubble of thinking that the Smirnoff Sorbet Light vodka flavors were truly ZERO pp by themselves, but I'm glad that I found this BEFORE going crazy with it! :) Thanks for being honest and keeping us informed!


  • Post Image loriesharpe55 (lora)

    6/3/2013 5:49 PM
    Anyone know the points for Regular Malibu Rum?




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