New Weight Watchers point system goes beyond calories
Eating Weight Watchers food does not necessarily mean eating healthy. The company hopes to change that with ProPoints. Image: Flickr / slgc / CC-BY

Weight Watchers participants in the United Kingdom, and soon in the United States, will have a new numerical system to keep track of their food intake. Weight Watchers says the new system, called ProPoints, is more in line with current scientific knowledge. The yet-to-be-released U.S. system will likely differ from the ProPoints U.K. system.

The new Weight Watchers ProPoints system

In the United Kingdom, Weight Watchers is introducing a new point-counting system. Called ProPoints, this system reevaluates the “point value” of most foods. Vegetables and fruits will, for the most part, be zero-point foods. Alcohol and fast food “treats” will also be worked into the points system. The new point system will take into consideration protein, carbs, fiber, and fat, instead of just calories.

How Weight Watchers points work

The point system has been a part of the “Momentum” Weight Watchers program for the last few years. Each person on the Weight Watchers program is allotted a certain number of “points” for the food that they eat each day. Manufactured Weight Watchers food has pre-calculated points, and points can be calculated for just about any food. By giving dieters a way to account for what they eat, the points system encourages limiting the amount of food consumed.

The business of weight loss

Weight Watchers is just one of the dozens of players in the weight-loss industry. All told, the industry is worth billions of dollars. The simple truth is, though, that most of the money is spent looking for an easy answer. Weight Watchers, as well as just about every diet plan, encourages one simple thing — eating healthy and working off more calories than you eat. Simply limiting what you eat each day has been shown to cause “rebound” weight gain, because it is tough to maintain. Eating healthy and making simple lifestyle changes, though, is what equals maintainable weight loss. Something different works for everyone, but in the end it is whatever keeps you eating right — be it a new points system or switching to all whole grain foods.


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