Towards the end of 2015, Weight Watchers ditched its popular PointsPlus system for a new approach - SmartPoints.
For thousands of Weight Watchers followers around the world, this meant a total recalibration of their diet, as they discovered that some of the foods they ate under the PointsPlus system might not be as permissible under SmartPoints.
So what's the difference between the two systems - and which one is more effective for weight loss and overall health? Let's take a look…
In order to gauge which system is the most effective, first we need to pinpoint the difference between the two. The key distinction between the two points systems is that Points Plus values were calculated based on how much fat, carbohydrates, fibre and protein there was in each food.
SmartPoints is initially calculated based on the number of calories in a certain food, but three other factors come into play; the amount of protein in the food can lower the point value, while the amount of saturated fat and sugar can increase the value (meaning those on the Weight Watchers plan can eat less of them and remain on track).
McDonalds McCafe Shakes: A big no no with SmartPoints
With SmartPoints now targeting sugar and saturated fat, food and drinks such as McDonalds McCafe shakes, have almost double in points value.
With such high sugar and saturated fat content in these drinks, their points have almost doubled from 23pts to an eye watering 42pts!
Over 50% of the points involved in the system will change as Weight Watchers converts to Smart Points. Foods with lean proteins will lower the points value quickly - lean meats like turkey, prawns and most seafood will love the fact that these foods are now just 1 SmartPoint, while chicken drops to just 2 SmartPoints (previously a serving of chicken breast was worth 3 PointsPlus).
Dairy products have gone up - even if they say 'non-fat' or 'low-fat' on the label. Sugar is also a huge no-go area now - one tablespoon of granulated white sugar used to have a Points Plus value of 1, but now it's shot up to 3; that's a big difference for those who like sugar in their tea, or a piece of chocolate after lunch!
Fruits and vegetables will remain point-free, with one vital change - fruits included in other recipes will now be free too. Here are some more examples of foods which will change:
The alteration comes as part of the Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program, a brand new launch that aims to get members to really think about what they're eating, and make better choices, rather than simply counting calories and eating what they like.
The new program also aims to encourage dieters to eat less sugar and less saturated fat. Sugar, as we all know, is the big bad ingredient behind the diabetes epidemic, which is slowly worsening as western diets incorporate more and more refined sugars.
The number of people suffering from diabetes has risen from just 108 million in 1980 to a staggering 422 million in 2014 - an enormous increase in just 35 years. The global prevalence of diabetes among adults has also risen from 4.7% to 8.5% in that time frame.
Weight Watchers is seemingly aware of the fact that sugar is fast becoming the enemy of dieters - some experts have even labelled it 'more addictive than cocaine' and just as harmful to the body when consumed regularly over long periods of time.
SmartPoints aims to encourage dieters to eat less sugar and less saturated fat
As with any new system, there will be upsides and downsides. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of using the new Smart Points approach:
The new SmartPoints system has certainly got Weight Watchers members talking, and paying more attention to the nutritional values of what they're consuming. Only time will tell whether this method is a better approach.