Weight Watchers Points Plus Program

The new points program is changing the formula and the way Weight Watchers has worked for the last 13 years. We are going to look into the reasons why and what has really changed.

What is Weight Watchers Points Plus Plan?

Why Change the Weight Watchers Points system?

Weight Watchers has changed their highly successful points system and their CEO was very quick to explain. A lot has happened since 1997 when the original points system was launched. Technology and science have progressed and so too has our understanding of food, dieting and weight loss. Weight Watchers has adjusted its points system to work more in line with these advancements.

Formula & Point changes

New PointsPlus formula

Weight Watchers Points Plus Formula

Please note that this is not the official Weight Watchers formula. Source is from Wikipedia. Although not confirmed by Weight Watchers the above formula is an empirical match to the Weight Watchers calculators. All Units in gram

Points Changes

  1. Before the Weight Watchers formula was predominately calorie based with a penalty for fat and reward for dietary fiber. It now takes into account
    • the protein, carbohydrate, fat and fiber content of food
    • The thermic effect of food i.e. the amount of energy that is required to process/digest
  2. How many pointsplus points am I allowed? When calculating the number of allowable points per week, dieters will have more on the points plus plan than on the previous system
  3. Bonus points have risen to 49 points per week
  4. Dieters will be able to eat as much fruit and vegetables as they wish

Examples of Old Weight Watchers Points vs. Weight Watchers Points Plus

Food Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Fibre (g) Protein WW Points PointsPlus+
Medium Fries 450 22 57 5 4 10 12
Quarter Pounder with cheese 430 30 38 2 29 13 14
Cheeseburger 14 35 2 15 7 9
Big Mac 590 34 47 3 25 14 16
Corn on the Cob 140 2 34 2 5.8 3 5
Low-fat Grilled Chicken Pasta 873 8.9 134.3 10.3 64 17 22
Low-fat Asian Chicken Salad 714 9 121 9.6 37.5 14 18
Low-fat Brownie Sundae 326 3.2 72 4.6 0 6 8
Sushi - California Roll 255 7 38 5.8 9 5 6
Red Wine - 4 fl oz 85 0 3.1 0 0.1 3 4

Benefits of Weight Watchers Points Plus Program

The weight watchers points system to date has helped a countless number of people lose weight successfully, but the new points plus program addresses the key flaws of the original system.

Nutritional Value vs. Calories

The Weight Watchers Points Plus Program takes into account the nutritional value of food rather than just its caloric value, fat and dietary fibre. For example, a small apple was 1 point and so too was a hot chocolate under the original points system. As long as you stayed within your allowable points, there was little emphasis on nutrition. Under the new points plus program a hot chocolate will end up containing more points than a small apple and this seems like a more reasonable assessment.

Further weight loss benefits of the Weight Watchers Points Plus

  • Healthier more nutritional food higher in protein and fiber requires and burns more energy for digestion (up to 25% more) than unhealthy foods (even if they have the same calorie content).
  • Food with a higher protein and fiber content is more filling and satisfying, reducing the hunger and cravings that often damage weight loss endeavors.
  • Yes fruit contains calories, but they are also full of vitamins and minerals that contribute to the general health of members. Many people do not get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day so the “eat as much as you like” rule will help people to do. Sound judgment should be used though to avoid eating amounts that will slow weight loss efforts

Does the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program Work?

The Fundamentals are the same

The Points Plus Program has a greater focus on nutrition; it seems so obvious that it almost sounds ridiculous. But what Weight Watchers have done here is very important. Weight Watchers have not changed the fundamental components of their system that has worked so successfully for so many people.

There are still the meetings, support groups, exercise focus and of course, the points system. Importantly, the point system will provide the same benefit to its members by allowing them to easily choose and portion the food they eat each day.

The adjustment for existing members

For new members particularly this is a good thing, but for current members who have become accustomed to the guidelines that the old point system established, there may be a bit of an adjustment. They will be penalized more for many of the foods they enjoyed more freely before as the new system goes about teaching nutrition, not just calories. There has been some resistance and negative feedback from old members in regard to this adjustment and the difficulty in estimating the amount of points with a new system when eating out or shopping. Some have expressed appreciation over the nutritional guidance of the points plus.

Success stories

It is early days yet but we are hearing some great success stories from the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program already with people reporting excellent weight loss over several to twelve weeks. More time will tell however whether this program will be as successful as it has been so far. I think that once members adjust to the new scheme and new members climb on board, the new system will work a treat and continue to provide healthy effective weight loss for masses of people.