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WW Points Plus For Alcohol

Calculating Weight Watchers Points Plus for alcohol is not the same formula as for foods. While we wish it was (because the points would be reasonable), sadly they are different.

When determining the points values of alcohol, you need to consider the amount of alcohol in the beverage.

While the foods use protein, fats, carbs and fiber to give you the points plus values, alcohol uses  a different approach when figuring the values.

The reason for this different method (which is explained below) is that alcohol is metabolized as sugar in the body.

So even if the carbs and calories seem low, the amount of alcohol can get you on the points. Before you pour yourself a little bit of spirits, keep reading to make sure that drink won't put you over your allowance.

Points Plus For Alcohol/ Sugar Alcohol

With the introduction of Points Plus, the formula to calculate values on foods changed. While the old system only considered calories, fat and fiber, the new method encourages healthier choices by taking into account carbs and protein in addition to fats and fiber.

By rating the importance of the nutrients that make up the calories, the values for two foods items equal in calories would come up with different amounts.

For example, a 100 calorie snack pack of chocolate chip cookies (higher in fats and carbs) would have a higher points plus value versus a 100 calorie Cobb salad higher in fiber and lower in carbohydrates. This new method then encourages people to make better food selections.

alcoholic drinkWith this same concept in mind, Weight Watchers changed the way points plus for alcohol is calculated. Rather than just taking the macronutritents of fat, fiber, protein and carbs, they are also taking into account the amount of alcohol calories.

Since alcohol is metabolized as sugar in your body, similar to the way fats are metabolized, the alcohol content is weighted heavier than normal carb or protein calories.

Because of this, the formula for calculating points plus for alcohol needs to take into consideration the alcohol in grams for your beverages.

For foods that contain sugar alcohol, which reduces the amount of sugars, the formula also takes this into consideration. So items like your sugar free cookies, candies, etc., cannot be calculated using the basic food formula, but would need to use the formula for alcohol / sugar alcohol content.


So let's take a look at the formula. First, here is the basic formula used for foods.

Food
PointsPlu
s  = (protein/10.9375) + (carbohydrates/9.2105) + (fat/3.8889 - (fiber/12.5)

Now let's look at the formula for items that have alcohol or sugar alcohol in them.

Alcohol / Sugar Alcohol
PointsPlu
s  = (protein (g) /10.9375) + (carbs (g) /9.2105) + (fat (g) /3.8889 -
(fiber (g) /12.5) + (alcohol (g) /3.0147) - (sugar alcohol (g) /23.0263).

For items that use sugar alcohol, it would be fairly easy to calculate the points since this is readily available on food labels.

However, for alcoholic beverages, the amount of alcohol in grams is not always listed. So how would you determine the points if not all the information is available? Well there is a way using the basic macronutrient information which is discussed in the next section.

How to Calculate Points Plus for Alcoholic Beverages

beerThere are many times when people may want a drink or two for special occasions. While drinking while trying to lose weight is not recommended, it is acceptable to have an occasional drink without ruining your diet.

If you are on Weight Watchers and counting points plus, then knowing the values to track is important to stay within your allowance. But what do you do when that bottle of beer does not show the grams of alcohol?

Well, there is a formula for calculating points plus for alcohol that will work and is fairly accurate. So you can get the points for that drink. Here are the steps to calculate the points plus values;

  1. Multiply the total carbohydrates in the drink by 4. This will give you the calories from carbs for your drink.

  2. Subtract these calories from the total calories in the drink. This will leave you with the calories from alcohol.

  3. Divide this number (calories from alcohol) by 7. This will give you the alcohol grams.
At this point, you could just calculate the points using the formula in the above section.

However, if you want to use your points plus calculator (which only has input for carbs, protein, fat and fiber), then follow these steps below;

  1. Add the alcohol grams to the total fat grams in the drink. Most often the drink will have 0 fat grams.

  2. In the WW Points Plus calculator input the alcohol grams + fat in the “fat” box.

  3. Put carbs in the carbs box and any protein or fiber in their boxes (if the drink has these elements).

  4. Then just hit calculate to get your Weight Watchers Points for alcohol.
If you want to give this a try, use this calculator to find out the WW points plus for alcohol.

Note: The above link will open in a new window.

Calculating Points Plus for Mixed Drinks

While the above method works for alcoholic drinks like beer and wine, it doesn't work for mixed drinks. This is because you have the "mixer" in the equation.


So if your drink of choice is a rum and coke or a 7 and 7, then you have the mixers (soda) to take into consideration.

If you use calorie free mixers like diet sodas or diet juices, then all you need to calculate is the points plus for the alcohol in your drink.

However, if your mixer has some calories to it, then you need to figure out the total points for your drink.

To do this you have to calculate each component separately.

So calculate the points plus for your mixer and then the points plus for alcohol. Then just add the two together to get the total for your drink.

So enjoy your drink and toast to your weight loss success by knowing the values in your drinks.

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