The formula for calculating PointsPlus food values has taken into account more of the dietary information available to consumers, which is great. What's not so great is the lack of equivalent information on the contents of alcohol, making it very difficult to calculate alcohol points accurately.
To determine the PointsPlus value for alcohol, use the calculator below.
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Please note: this is not an official Weight Watchers calculation tool. Please join Weight Watchers to attain the official numbers.
This confusion has become increasingly more evident both on the Weight Watchers forums and on other social media sites, as people discuss and debate the PointsPlus values of their favourite alcoholic beverage. If you plug the available nutritional information regarding a bottle of wine or beer, it will often come out as a very low PointsPlus value, for example 0 PointsPlus for a light beer.
The official Weight Watchers instructions state that you shouldn’t use the Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator to determine the PointsPlus values for alcohol. Unfortunately the way the tools have been designed, allow participants to use the calculator without any prompts or warnings about the need to use a different calculation for alcohol.
The Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator uses the nutritional values of protein, fiber, fat and carbohydrates. This doesn't take into consideration the calories of the item being calculated. Because of the nutritional make up of alcohol with high calories and negligible values for the other components calculated, the PointsPlus calculator gives a false low reading.
In order to calculate the alcohol PointsPlus values you need to know the protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, alcohol content, and/or sugar alcohol. The fat, fiber and protein content for alcohol is generally zero.
However, given the number of alcoholic beverages that don't have alcohol content in grams available to use in calculating PointsPlus values, here are the steps you can use to find out this information yourself.
To find the calories of carbs, protein and fats to insert into the formula (total calories of nutrients), use the following calculations.
Once you have calculated the alcohol content in grams, use the Weight Watchers food calculator, and use the information to calculate your PointsPlus values. Use your alcohol (grams) + fat values as the “fat” input, and the protein, carbohydrate and fiber values where indicated in the calculator. Most alcoholic drinks will have a zero value for protein, fat and fiber.
See below for an example:
Corona Extra = 148 calories
Total calories of nutrients = 52 calories
Calories from alcohol = 148 – 52 = 96 calories
Alcohol content (grams) = 96/7 = 13.7 grams
Inputs for Weight Watchers Food Calculator
The PointsPlus value for a Corona Extra is 5
So what if you're having a mixed drink? You’ll need to calculate the Points Plus values of the alcohol, and then add it to whatever you’re mixing it with - soda, milk, cream, olives etc will all have a PointsPlus value that will need to be added to your calculations to have an accurate reading of your daily PointsPlus consumption.
If you can't find the information you need to accurately calculate the PointsPlus values for your alcoholic beverage, the best thing to do is keep a couple of easy general rules on hand.
Alternately you can use the following method. For a 12 Oz bottle of alcohol, check the percent alcohol and round up the number to the nearest whole number for a PointsPlus Value. For example, a beer with 4.80% alcohol content, would be rounded up to 5 PointsPlus. Remember, if the bottle is not 12 Oz, you need to adjust the PointsPlus value to reflect that. You can use the following simple formula:
PointsPlus = (size of bottle in Oz / 12 Oz) x Rounded up % alcohol content
By using the alcohol calculator, or the average Points Plus values and keeping an accurate record of your PointsPlus consumption, you have a much greater chance of achieving your weight loss goals.