The New Weight Watchers PointsPlus Program

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • If you've been a member of Weight Watchers recently, or if you have simply followed their diet plan, then you have been a point counter.  Experts in the fields of diet and nutrition have like the ease and convenience of the approach to eating.  Points were assigned based on calories per serving of thousands of foods.  But certain participants who only counted points without factoring in the quality or health benefits of foods that are being chosen on a regular basis, could conceivably lose weight or maintain weight but be eating somewhat unhealthy food on a regular basis.  Now Weight Watchers introduces the PointsPlus program, which uses the latest scientific research to go just beyond calorie counting. Specific food choices will be encouraged based on

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    • How hard the body has to work during digestion, meaning extra calories burned to digest these specific foods
    • Satiation factor, meaning foods that really do fill you up and keep you full longer
    • Whether they are "natural" meaning less processed
    • The reality that we still need indulgences but there needs to be an understanding of "special times"

    The new formula takes into account food groups like proteins, fats, carbohydrates and the energy component of each, as well as fiber content.  Most fresh fruits and vegetables are now assigned zero points; foods with lower sugar-salt/healthier fat get the Power Foods label, which also covers foods with higher eating satisfaction that are healthier.  The program still emphasizes exercise, behavior modification and the buddy support concept as cornerstones of the program.  It's important to understand that even clinically proven programs like this one, may not work for every overweight person.  Still, Weight Watchers International, Inc. has also beta-tested the new program on thousands of individuals.  Many participants shifted their basic food choices from highly processed, energy dense foods (high calorie) to more fruits, vegetables, whole grain/high fiber and lean protein choices.  The new program has just launched.


    My comments: I've written before that the original Weight Watchers program I followed when I was sixteen, that helped me to lose almost 45 pounds, was a spreadsheet favoring fruits and vegetables and then, based on your gender, amount of weight you wanted to lose and current weight, a personalized number of servings of protein, fat, dairy and carbohydrates.  It was a simple counting system and as you lost weight, it allowed you to drop a serving from one or two food groups, keeping the weight loss ongoing without a prolonged plateau and without starving you.  It was well balanced and clearly allowed for variety, eating out and celebrating life - without feeling like you needed to constantly restrict yourself.  This new program being released echoes elements of the program I followed.  I'm delighted, because I was a detractor of the Points system since many dieters I know were managing their points daily, while eating pizza, processed foods, burgers and foods that should be enjoyed less frequently. 


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    Do you think you'll be trying this new program?  Why or why not?  What are you doing to try and lose weight or maintain weight during the holiday season?


Published On: December 06, 2010