Weight Watchers Lightens Up On Fruits, Veggies

By Dennis Douda, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — How are your food points going today? If you’re a member of Weight Watchers you know what that means right away. Every food has a score. However, now Weight Watchers dieters get to eat more, if they choose wisely.

The Weight Watchers point system is getting its biggest shake-up in 13 years. Members will now watch their food intake on the PointsPLUS scale. It is an attempt to recognize that there are good calories and bad calories.

Sue Henk hit her weight loss goal by eating no more than the number of points allowed under her Weight Watchers plan. An average woman of 150 pounds is allowed 29 points a day. A snack bar, for example, might account for three of those points. Now, most vegetables and all fruits are zero points.

“That’s why the program is so good. You can eat what you want to eat, you just have the figure out how to count it in and the results are always great,” said Henk.

Under the old points plan, there was concern dieters might pass up a healthy apple to save their points for a sweet or fatty snack. Now there is room for cravings and colorful produce.

“It’s more livable,” said Weight Watchers ambassador and team leader Judy Smith. “If they’re satisfied they’re going to stick with the program, and if they stick with the program, they’re going to have weight loss and they’re going to be able to maintain their weight.”

Weight Watchers’ new strategy bears similarities to Mayo’s Healthy Weight Pyramid. Mayo Clinic nutrition and weight loss expert Dr. Donald Hensrud co-authored the Mayo Clinic Diet Book.

“Based on the premise that by eating foods that are high in bulk and low on calories, such as vegetables and fruits, people can get a lot to eat, but actually lower their calorie level,” said Hensrud.

In clinical trials and beta testing of the new PointsPLUS program, Weight Watchers says people tended to stick to the healthier choices of eating more fruits and vegetables over time.

Considering that millions of people follow Weight Watchers guidelines, the potential impact on Americans’ waists is significant.


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