Do humans burn alcohol for calories and are there other things besides carbohydrates, fat, and protein we get calories from?


I’ve always heard that calories are just from carbohydrates, fat, and protein. But I heard recently we get calories from alcohol. And that alcohol is not just a form of one of the other 3. We get a different amount of calories from alcohol than any of the other 3.

* Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories
* Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories
* Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories
* Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 calories

So do we get calories from alcohol as a separate type of substance than the other 3? And are there other things we can/do get calories from that are not normally listed?

In: Biology

Carbs, fat, and protein are most commonly in our food but anything our bodies can break down for energy has calories. Alcohol is one of those. We estimate the energy (caloric) content by burning the chemical or food component in a device that lets us measure how much energy is produced.

Calories is just a measurement of energy. You can get calories from anything. Gasoline has about 31000000 calories. Just that carbs, fat and protein are what we need to survive as human.

Edit: when big oils figure out how to metabolize gasoline, we’ll see it listed on the bottle too.


Alcohol is different because it won’t get stored as fat. Your body sees it as a toxin and burns it off first.

Alcohol is technically its very own macronutrient and could be put in the same category of other macronutrients like proteins, fats, and carbs. However, since it is nonessential and generally toxic to the body it’s not usually considered as a 4th macronutrient.