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  • Elianni Gaio

Carbohydrates Part 5 - The Percentage of Alcohol in Beverages and Their Calories

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Carbohydrate - Part 5

In this series of articles, I am talking about:

Part 1 - How to calculate our basal metabolic rate, and how a restrictive diet actually might not help lose weight.

Part 2 - How to estimate our daily calorie intake, an estimative of the number of calories we should daily consume in order to maintain optimal energy levels and vitality.

Part 3 - Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins). And why should you pay attention to macronutrients not calories.

Part 4 - How to estimate the right amount of carbs for you?

In this article, I will continue to talk about carbohydrate. In fact, this seams a simple topic, however, it has lots of details. Then, understanding the most important concepts about carbs helps us make better decisions in our daily diet. Consequently, improves our health and well-being.

In the last article, I described the four categories of carbohydrate consumption: very low carb intake, low-carb intake, moderate carb intake, and high intake of carbohydrates. Also, I encouraged you to take a close look in the benefits that each of these categories might have on our health, and according to your own personal conditions and goals, choose one category that is more appropriate to you.

The next step that I am about to explain to you is: How to convert the carbohydrate category/percentage intake you choose, into a quantity or a portion of carbohydrates in your plate.

Let me create an example using a client I will call Maria.

- Let's say that Marias’ daily caloric intake is 2,000 calories (If you want to calculate your daily calorie index, click here).

And let's say that Marias’ goal is to lose weight. For this reason, she chose a low-carb diet (10-15% of her total daily calories in carbs).

Doing the math:

Multiply 2,000 x 0.10 = 200 divided by 4 (number of calories in each gram of carbohydrate) = 50g of carbohydrate per day

Multiply 2,000 x 0.15 = 300 divided by 4 (number of calories in each gram of carbohydrate) = 75g of carbohydrate per day

Marias’ daily carbohydrate consumption will be between 50-75 grams per day

What does 50-75 grams of carbohydrates per day mean?

For Maria to reach to her target (50-75 grams of carbs per day), she needs to eat the following:

50g of carbohydrate = 1 cup of white rice OR

75g of carbohydrate = 1 large sweet potato (40g) + ½ cup of white rice (75g).

Maria also needs to split these portions into the number of meals she eats

To make easier, there are listed below some carbohydrate foods and an idea about their carbohydrate and calories content. However, to help you calculate your exact target range you can use an online calculator as calorie king (or anyone you want). In this app you also can find nutrition facts for your favorite brands and fast-foods restaurants.

Sugar, grains and roots:

1 teaspoon of sugar = 6g = 25 calories

1 tablespoon of sugar = 12.5g = 50 grams

1 cup of white rice, 50g = 223 calories

1 cup of brown rice, 50g = 223 calories

1 cup of pasta = 34 grams = 159 calories

1 large baked potato, 50g = 220 calories

1 large sweet potato, 40g = 160 calories

100 grams of cooked cassava = 400 calories

½ cup of green corn, 21g = 89 calories

½ cup of cooked beans, 20g = 108calories


1 Bagel, 31g = 165 calories

1 Biscuit, 13g = 103 calories

1 slice of white bread, 12g = 61 calories

1 slice of whole grain bread, 11g = 55 calories

1 cup of cereal, 24g = 110 calories

1 Hamburger bun, 21g = 119 calories

1 hot dog bread, 21g = 119 calories


1 cup of whole milk, 12g = 110 calories

1 cup of whole yogurt, 6g = varies a lot from brand to brand


1 medium apple, 21g = 81 calories

1 orange, 16g = 65 calories

1 banana, 27g = 105 calories

1 cup of melon, 14g = 57 calories

1 cup of grapes, 28g = 114 calories

1 cup of strawberries, 11g = 45 calories

1 cup of watermelon, 12g = 50 calories

Dried fruits:

10 units of dried plums, 53g = 201 calories

½ cup of raisins, 79g = 302 calories

Fruit juices:

1 glass of orange juice, 26g = 112 calories

1 cup of maca juice, 28g = 111 calories

1 glass of grape juice, 23g = 96 calories

Alcoholic beverages:

1 can of Budweiser beer, 29.7g = 154 calories

2/3 of a small glass of red wine, 4g = 125 calories

1 serving of whiskey, 0g (,ZERO carbohydrate), = 97 calories

As you can see above, the alcoholic beverages are very low sources of carbohydrates, but high sources of calories. And this means that if you need to lose weight, and don’t want to stop drinking, you need to know a few facts that will help you better decide what to be drinking (not that I encourage you to drink).

The percentage of alcohol in beverages and their calories

Many fermented drinks start their processes by fermenting plants rich in carbohydrates, such as: grapes, in the case of wine, grains in the case of beers, grains, potatoes and figs in the case of vodka, etc.

Also, in the manufacturing process of several alcoholic beverages, it is used yeasts or microorganisms that devour the carbohydrate or the glucose in the plants, producing ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, the bubbles in these beverages.

Below there are listed some points to be aware of:

1. Each alcoholic beverage has a percentage of pure alcohol that varies, according to the drink, between 1.5 to 40 percent of alcohol. And if you want to know more about the percentage of alcohol in your drink, click here.

Think that each gram of alcohol in a drink contain about 7 calories, and that alcoholic beverages lose in calorie density only for fats, that have 9 calories per gram, and zero nutritional value.

It is also worth to remember that the sweeter the drink, the more calories it has. For this reason, in many cases, consuming a drink in its original state will guarantee fewer calories than a drink full of sugar, juices, creams, fruits, soft drinks, etc (1).

2. Think that depending on the percentage of alcohol and what is mixed in a drink, an inoffensive cocktail, can be highly caloric. Meaning that two or three servings a day can easily increase the caloric intake in 500 calories or more.

3. Drinks that contain fruit or are diluted with soft drinks, juices, ice cream, creams, etc., often magnify the sugar content. Ant even though these drinks have less alcohol content but, they have more sugar, making many cocktails a glucose bomb. Or a cause of concern, as these drinks are rapidly absorbed by the digestive system, causing a significant rise in blood sugar.

4. As I mentioned above, a shot of whiskey contains around 97 calories and ZERO carbohydrate. No sugar and no fiber. And because whiskey has no carbohydrates, the glycemic index of a shot of whiskey is ZERO. So, do not be fooled by this fact.

Basically, the glycemic index, evaluates how the carbohydrates in our food will affect our blood sugar, and as we can see, the glycemic index cannot be fully trusted, and I will talk about this subject later.

5. Also, remember that all beers vary widely, both, in caloric content and alcohol content. Beers can have between 4 to 12 percent alcohol, ranging from 100 to 300 calories per can of beer. The higher the alcohol content, the greater the number of calories.

In addition, beers contain gluten, a protein found in most grains, such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), rice, corn, among other grains, and can cause serious health problems and sensitivities.

Consequently, if you want to lose weight, are diabetic, or want to control your blood sugar levels, keep these details in mind, and choose your battles.

In the next article I will explain how to better select our carbohydrates in our diet, and more.

Please, leave your comment or question below.

See you soon.

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