Weight Watchers Points Plus: Diet Review
Out with the old and in with new. In 2010, Weight Watchers retired its old points system and started a totally new program, called Points Plus, to keep up with the trends and science behind successful weight loss.
Weight Watchers Chief Science Officer Karen Miller-Kovach, RD, describes the program as a complete makeover. It is not a hybrid but an entirely new approach to safe, effective, and steady weight loss that takes advantage of cutting-edge weight loss science.
“With the old points system, you could use your points anyway you like. But we now know if you use your points wisely by eating foods rich in protein and fiber -- these foods fill you up, keep hunger at bay, and help you lose weight in a healthier and more nutritious way,” Kovach says.
Calories, Fat, and Carbs
Calories still count in the Points Plus program because the bottom line in weight loss is creating a calorie deficit -- burning more calories than you eat.
But there is so much more to successful weight loss, and where those calories come from makes a big difference.
Even when the calories are the same, protein- and fiber-rich foods get fewer Points Plus to encourage dieters to eat more filling food for their allotted Points Plus.
Calorie-dense foods that have more fat and simple carbs are assigned more points.
One new feature: You get unlimited quantities of fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
“Most adults don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. So our strategy was to allow these as free foods to encourage more consumption of these super-nutritious foods that are among the lowest in calories and very filling," Kovach says.
The old points may be gone, but the heart of the Weight Watchers program remains unchanged.
“We may be counting differently with the new Points Plus program but the foundation of Weight Watchers' successful model of scientific evidence, healthy, slow weight loss, exercise, behavior modification, and support remain the same," Kovach says.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: What You Can Eat
Much like the old points system, Points Plus maintains that all foods can fit within the calorie allotment.
Connected to 2010 Dietary Guidelines, Points Plus encourages people to eat a wide variety of healthy foods -- split between three meals plus snacks within an individualized calorie level.
Dieters are encouraged to maximize their Points Plus allowance by choosing more "Power Foods," such as whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and unlimited quantities of fresh fruit and nonstarchy vegetables. "Power Foods" are the healthiest, most filling foods.
Fruits and vegetables are especially filling and nutritious foods that should be the foundation of every weight loss diet.
Decadent foods can still be worked into the calorie budget, but the new program limits the amount of these extras.
Dieters can check the Points Plus value of foods using a pocket guide that lists 500-700 most popular foods, an online database of 40,000 foods, a mobile phone app, or purchase a Points Plus calculator.