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November 29th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Weight Watchers overhauls Point system

After 13 years on the same Point system, Weight Watchers introduced an overhaul of its weight-loss program Monday, saying more has become known about the science behind weight loss.

Weight Watchers assigns “Points” to food, based on calories. In its new PointsPlus system, fruits and vegetables will carry zero Points; the program will now calculate Points based on macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates instead of relying solely on calories, fat and fiber.

Under the old Weight Watchers Points, a breakfast consisting of a croissant and butter would’ve had the same Points value as a breakfast of toast, ham and eggs as long as it contained the same number of calories.  Now, the croissant would carry seven Points and the toast, ham and eggs breakfast would contain six Points, because of the nutritional differences. The new system increases Points for fat content and reduces them for fiber.

“The main reason is that science has evolved,” said Karen Miller Kovach, chief science officer of Weight Watchers, about why the company made the switch.  “We know more now than we did 13 years ago. "

Although the model is getting an update, the core remains the same, she said.

Keri Gans, a registered dietitian who has no relationship with Weight Watchers, said the upgrade was “long overdue.”

While weight loss is about calories in versus calories out, Gans said, “the difference is where those calories are coming from. In the old program, calories can come from non-nutritious foods. The foods have to be nutritious.”

The changes have been in development for the last four years and were tested in trials at the Medical University of South Carolina, said Kovach.

She said the new system takes into consideration how the body has to work harder to convert protein and fiber than it would for fats and carbohydrates.  It also considered how some foods feel more filling than others.  While creating a deficit of calories is what causes the weight loss, nutrients also make a difference, Kovach said.

Fruits and vegetables will carry zero Points, to encourage people to eat more of them.

“Fruits and vegetables are good and healthy from the weight loss perspective, but at the same time, most Americans fall quite short of intake of these foods,” said Stephanie Rost, corporate program development director of Weight Watchers.

“We’re finding with our members reaching for a snack, no longer do a 100-calorie granola bar and a banana look equal,” she said.  “The banana is a better option."  This gives people incentives to change their behavior.

Gans, author of “The Small Change Diet,” said she initially had concerns that people would load up on fruit, which has calories.

“I thought about it and most people aren’t even eating two pieces of fruit a day,” she said.  “I’m not really worried.”

High starch vegetables such as corns and potatoes will not be exempt.  And only steamed or raw vegetables will have zero Points – not collard greens cooked in fat.

Shrinking professor lost weight on diet of Twinkies

Weight Watchers will also offer a list of “power foods,” comparing the nutrients in 40,000 food products and highlighting the healthiest choices.  For example, it compares a variety of soups and assesses sodium, sugars, fats, fiber to recommend the healthiest choice (such as a broth-based vegetable soup).  It is designed to be a cheat sheet to help people identify foods that are filling and healthy.

The changes in the American Weight Watchers program follow after similar changes in the United Kingdom.  Read more about the U.K. changes.


soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Lincoln Brigham

    About time. At last some evidence of progress.

    Weight loss is NOT simply about calories in vs. calories out. It's high time that is recognized. In the long run, the amount of calories in AFFECTS the amount of calories out and vice versa. A change in one side of the equation results in a change in the other as the body attempts to reach or maintain homeostasis. It's shocking to me that dieticians and nutritionists don't get this.

    November 29, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deb

      "Weight Watchers assigns “Points” to food, based on calories. In its new PointsPlus system, fruits and vegetables will carry zero Points; the program will now calculate Points based on macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates instead of relying solely on calories, fat and fiber". – The program does still rely on calories, fat, fiber, like the old program, but now adds other things like carbs and protien to the equation.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • Shelley

      Calculation of points now requires you enter the amount of protein,fat, carbohydrates and fiber, not calories, so it is different. On the old system protein and carbohydrates were not considered but calories were.

      December 3, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • DCM

      The new plan doesn't factor calories into it's formula. It's Protein, Carbs, Fiber, Fat now. There's a lot of errors in this article.
      Weight WAtchers is the best plan out there because it helps YOU change, not change the food you eat so you get mad and storm off. It slowly makes you come around to better eating without feeling deprived.

      Some vegetables DO have points because they are starchy and fatty. Doesn't mean that they are bad, but the line about fruits and vegetables being all zero point is wrong. Fruit is zero now, yes, but not all vegetables. Most yes.

      I guess I shouldn't be surprised that CNN didn't bother to fact check and just shouted things out.

      December 6, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • Trudy Fong

      It all sounds wonderful, but I lost 20 pounds on the old system, over 3 months. After a two month trip to China, during which I was unable to control what kind of food was safe to eat, and a winter on steriods for my swine flu after affects, I gained back 15 of those pounds. I tried the new system and after a month I have not lost one pound. ON the old system I would have been down 6 to 8 pounds already. Just sayin'

      January 31, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    So true Jon. I love how we keep preaching and trying the same diets when most fail and end up making us gain more weight when they do fail. That is what researchers would call evidence of a bad hypothesis/theory and start over from scratch.

    November 29, 2010 at 07:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LindaT

      If you have a weight issue to begin with, and lose the weight, once you go back to your former bad eating habits you regain your weight back. It's that simple. The diet didn't make you gain and more back, you did that all on your own. Why is it that some of you don't get that part of it?

      November 29, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Smellit

      Yes, but that is why WW is not a "diet", it is a lifestyle change. They teach you to eat healthy, what you do with that knowledge is up to you. If you work hard and hit your goal weight, you should have already learned what is healthy to eat from the point system. Even if you discontinue using the points, you will be able to decipher what is healthy to eat and what is not. Go WW for teaching people to eat healthy... That's what I paid them for, so as far as I'm concerned, they are doing their jobs.

      November 30, 2010 at 05:59 | Report abuse |
  3. Barbara

    This is new? I remember those cardboard and electronic calculators from WW that factored in calories, fat and fiber. It sounds like they are just reviving something that they had and must have lost somewhere along the way. Except that it seems new to allow all fruit and most vegetables to be "unlimited". Years and years ago, they applied the unlimited concept mainly to vegetables like lettuce and celery. Weight loss may require only calorie restriction, but good health requires good nutrition.

    November 29, 2010 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathryn

      I know, I was thinking the same thing. I started Weight Watchers in 2007 and it calculated points using calories, fat and fiber then. This is not new, except that fruits and veggies are 0 points, and then most veggies were 0 points and most fruits were 1 point.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • Brenna

      Actually, its very new. The old plan did use calories, fat, and fiber to calculate the points values of foods. Now, calories are no longer part of that equation (shock!!) and protein/carbs are added into it. Already people who have been eating healthier, more natural foods find that their plan won't change much... but people who eat a lot of processed foods (100 calorie packs, cereal bars, etc) have found there are a lot of differences. One is a much more sustainable way of eating, while the other promotes eating as much of the same types of foods as you always did for as you can for as few points as possible and cheating the system without really changing the way you look at food.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • StLouisGirl

      I know it's buried deep in the second paragraph, but the article does say, "...the program will now calculate Points based on macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates instead of relying solely on calories, fat and fiber." So yes, it is new. You're right about good health requiring good nutrition, and I personally find WW to be a great tool for maintaining a balanced diet that also facilitates weight loss. I started WW in 2003, lost 28 pounds, and have used the WW tools to maintain my weight ever since.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      Barbara – Just a point of clarification. The points are NO longer based on Calories, Fiber, and Fat. That was the old program. The new program, called Points Plus, is based on Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat, and Fiber. These four components are scientifically calculated to determine a point value of a food item. The new program includes 0 points fruits and most vegetables. Note that the prior program did assign point value to fruit. The fruit is now 0 points because Weight Watchers recognizes the important of feeling full and the benefits of fruit.

      November 29, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • DCM

      The new plan just launched in the US last week. You should check it out, it's really great. I just started on it from the old plan. The meetings are still the key.

      December 6, 2010 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
  4. Daniela

    Make up your mind, CNN...you just wrote a story about the professor who proved to us that the Twinkie Diet works the opposite way. I know you are just reporting on this, but can you at least make some type of cross reference to the previous story so we aren't confused...

    November 29, 2010 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      Lowered calorie levels will result in weight loss no matter where the calories come from. What Weight Watchers is aiming for is weight loss WITH good nutrition which results in a healthier lifestyle and overall better health.

      November 29, 2010 at 08:06 | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      If you look at what the professor ate every day with the 'Twinkie diet', it was actually very low calorie and low fat. Hard to believe, but go back and look at what he ate every day (it was virtually the same thing every single day). Add up calories and fat grams. If you eat low calorie/low fat, you WILL lose weight, but I don't think the Twinkie diet is a very healthy way to do it.

      November 30, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • DCM

      If you read that entire twinkie story you will see that he was supporting his health with supplements and protein shakes.
      It is a terrible diet, and he as a nutritionist should be ashamed for even publicizing that. He knew how to support his health with vitamins, most people don't.

      Please read more than the headlines on CNN, they're not news, they're just their to get your attention.
      And please also FACT CHECK, because we all know the lazy media isn't doing that anymore.

      If you want something supportive and stable and easy to lose weight on WW is the only thing out there for long term life long weight loss, and healthy eating education.

      December 6, 2010 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
  5. Kate

    Maybe Weight Watchers paid more for the ad, oops, I mean "news article".

    November 29, 2010 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DCM

      That's the world we live in now. There's no news, no truth, only who pays more. It's all very disgusting. We all have to be aware and alert and make our own choices.

      December 6, 2010 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
  6. Anna1228

    If anecdotal evidence is worth anything, I must say that literally every single person I know that has successfully lost weight and kept it off long term has used Weight Watchers. It is not about deprivation, it's about making good choices in the foods that you are eating and changing your lifestyle as a whole. I know people who have lost as few as 15lbs and as much as 92lbs (and counting!) on this diet.
    People that I know that have done other "elimination" type diets have always fallen off the wagon and gained it all back.

    Also, you anology of eating a candy bar vs. an apple before bed is quite flawed. One contains a naturally occuring sugar, the other is highly processed. An apple also contains fibre, while a chocolate bar is loaded with fat. Just check out their rankings on the glycemic index, they are vastly different.

    The point of Weight Watchers is to let the dieter know that if they are hungry before bed, choosing the apple is much better than choosing the chocolate bar.

    November 29, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. metabolicmemory

    Anna

    Thanks for the note

    There are many ways to look at particular sources of nutrition, but I was referring specifically to the effects of unused carbs eaten at night. a large apple has 31 carbs and 5 grams of fiber so it would "net"' at 26 carbs. A reeces peanut butter cup has 25 or so grams of carbs less 1.5 grams of fiber so it's net is 23.5.

    From your metabolism's perspective those are both carbs that will be burned first - it doesn't care if it's refined sugar or not - see Dr. Haub's twinkie experiment for further evidence of this.

    While there are "fast carbs" and "slow carbs" - There are major issues with the glycemic index as well that EET takes great issue with. Eating high carb whole wheat pasta or rice at night create huge numbers of "slow burning" carbs that will get in the way of fat burning as well, since those carbs will not be utilized during later at night hours when most people are not active, and certainly not when their metabolism slows greatly when they sleep - those carbs will get stored as fat just like the apple and the candy bar.

    EET has done extensive work with diabetics on eating timing and can tell you the glycemic index should be viewed with great caution. Our eating timing guidelines have consistently lowered blood sugar for both type 2 and type 1 diabetics (although we have not had the privilege or working with a large sample yet–we still have 100% success rate on our smalll group), whereas the glycemic index has not proven effective for many diabetics and can be greatly altered based on the combination of foods a person eats at a particular meal.

    November 29, 2010 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. MyToesSmell

    This is hysterical. Yet another step towards mimicking the Zone Diet!

    Folks, please consider the Zone Diet before attempting any other diet. It works better and makes much more sense. It is based on a 'block' system that is based on protein blocks, carb blocks, and fat blocks – with the carb blocks effectively reduced by the amount of fiber in a given food. This diet and its block system have been around since the early nineties. Sound familiar?

    November 29, 2010 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WW Lifetime

      Just to set the record straight, WW is not a diet. Zone is a diet. WW is a lifestyle of eating healthy. Any diet is only a temporary fix. Until you learn to eat healthy, you will always be dieting.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • Diets suck

      I agree with WW Lifetime...diets [i.e. 'ZONE DIET"] do not work. Lifestyle changes do!!

      November 29, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
    • MyToesSmell

      Ummm, you are both incorrect. Yes it is still known as the Zone Diet but it is much more of a lifestyle change. It promotes nutritional and balanced dieting and always has since Day One.

      If one were to read the article again, you will see the sentence "While weight loss is about calories in versus calories out, Gans said, “the difference is where those calories are coming from. In the old program, calories can come from non-nutritious foods. The foods have to be nutritious.”

      The Zone food choices have ALWAYS been nutritious. Again, clearly a superior choice over WW and always has been.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Holly

      I completely agree. Zone is far superior and now WW is just mimicking it. I don't deny that WW is a good program and I know plenty of people that have had success with it. But I've also seen many people do exceptionally well with the Zone Diet. And for the record... Zone isn't a "Diet" like south beach or slim fast, or atkins. Zone is called a diet, because how you eat is technically your diet. If I eat chicken and carrots and never eat anything else... then my DIET consists of chicken and eggs. Zone does a similar calculation by taking your age, weight, amount of exercise, etc and lets you know how many blocks you should eat per day. The difference between Zone and WW, is that Zone promotes a healthy balance of fat, carbs and protein so that you don't overload on one or the other. With WW, you can basically do like the twinkie guy and live off of crap food and still lose weight as long as you stay within your points, which isn't nutritionally sound.

      So both diets work, but based on health, nutrition, etc. Zone is just better. And any program that doesn't at least give fruits a little bit of value is just making a mistake. Fruits are good for you to an extent, but they have a lot of natural sugars and calories too.

      November 29, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Gala12

      Why do you think that WW is a perfect life style and Zone is not?I believe that WW try to simplify the explanation of diet to maximum degree. Zone gives people some solid scientific information on which nutrition recommendations are made.
      We are all metabolically different. Unlimited fruits will not suit me. I follow a low carb way of eating for more than 3 years, lost 26 lb,resolved several health issues. No whole grains for me, no unlimited bananas either. I believe that diet is smth. very short and unsustainable for long period of time

      November 29, 2010 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
    • AnneM

      WW, while not the only good plan, has always stressed the importance of fruit and veggies by requiring one to eat at least five servings of each every day. What happened was that the dieting public, many at least, worked the program like a game where they built their menus out of diet junk food to use up their points. WW introduced an alternative plan called Core back in 2006 that encouraged the healthier choices without worrying about points but the WW Centers never pushed it. Why? How else would they sell the low-point diet junk bars and frozen treats that you see in the center and the grocery store?

      The new plan seems to take Core a step further and that's a good thing. I lost 23 lbs on that old program.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Jaylyn

      Zone? Tried it. Didn't work for me. Lost 190 lbs with WW's old system, though, and my do says all my numbers (cholestoral, blood sugar, etc etc) are all fantastic.

      What so many people don't take into account is that we are all different, and I'm not just talking about the fact that some's bodies respond to certain foods differently – I'm talking that we're all *mentally* wired differently, too. Some people are good at judging their body's signals and can just eat intuitively, some people are wired for tracking things like calories, some people find dealing with Points easier, and so forth, and whatever you pick, it's not just a matter of finding what works for your body but finding something that works for your mind well enough that you can keep doing it over a long period of time. Me? I do a single points system with a calculator just fine, but trying to balance that whole ratio thing didn't work for me too well. It's just how I'm wired. And yeah, I found the meetings helpful, too, when I was first starting out.

      Considering my success on the WW plan, I'd certainly encourage anyone considering weight loss to give it a look, but I would never make any claims to it being the only healthy way to lose or even the ultimate healthy way to lose. I know the trial and error part can be frustrating and discouraging, but when it comes to weight loss plans and advice, I think more people would do well to keep in mind that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone, while at the same time, just because a plan didn't work for person A doesn't mean that it's not worthwhile for person B to look into it.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • WWMember

      It may have been all about being 100% nutritious from day 1, but WW is about being 100% realistic. You can't go the rest of your life without eating some sort of junk food.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      WW is not mimicking anything. It is updating its own program with new standards in science. The South Beach Diet could also be used as an example of an excellent way to lose weight. In fact, I think the WW new program fits quite nicely with the South Beach Diet way of eating. But what WW offers that these other diets do not is an extremely robust community, both real-world and online. Look, whatever works for you, great, go do it! But Weight Watchers has been around for close to 50 years for a reason.

      December 8, 2010 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  9. Anna1228

    If EET is so amazing and works so well, why is this the first time I have heard of it?

    November 29, 2010 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Shane

    I have been on WW for the last two years and I have met with great success. I dropped from 206lbs to 179lbs in 6 months, from a 41 waist to 36. I am looking forward to the new system and plan to attend my meeting this week to learn newer ways to remain healthy.

    November 29, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Susan

      Shane,

      I, too, have met with great success. I started WW in January of 2009. I am now 118 pounds lighter!! While I have not yet attended my weekly meeting (that's tomorrow), I have been to the WW web site and have done a little research. My first thought was why "fix it if it ain't broken." My second thought was how as human beings, we don't always like "change." So I am simply going to go into the meeting with a positive outlook and make the best of it.

      November 29, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
  11. Matthew

    First, Weight Watchers always took into account Fat and Fiber. Not sure how the other factors (protein, sodium, sugar, etc) will come into play with the new system. I can see how having Fruits as 0 points will be a benefit since they tend to be more filling than other snack food (which can trigger further eating as well)

    Second, WW is not a Diet its a Life Style. Diets end, WW is for life.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • madisoncnn

      Hi, Matthew.
      Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, the old WW plan counted calories, fat & fiber. The changes now account for other factors, according to Weight Watchers such as protein & carbs. Thanks for posting.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • Boss

      WW is a lifestyle? Sounds like they're trying to hook people in to having WW as a crutch for the rest of their lives so that WW can continue to earn profits.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • marcygold

      In response to Boss: When a person achieves their personal weight goal, which they themsleves set, they no longer pay WW fees as long as they stay within 3lbs of that goal. So there is only a "hook" to stay healthy, not to continuing paying. I see nothing wrong with this strategy. People pay maintenance fees for all sorts of goods and services, and don't complain, but with WW you don't pay any as long as you meet you personal goal.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • Lindal B.

      Yes WW is a business now, (and I'm one that happy about it) but it is comparatively inexpensive. It takes into consideration real life situations that, for me at least, don't always follow a strict timing schedule, etc. AND Once you reach your goal, you can keep coming for free – I don't know of any other plan that offers that kind of care, support and incentive. WW was started by women sitting around the kitchen table discussing how to stay fit and be healthier and how they could be there for each other as a support system. Our meetings today are much the same thing. Only now, we have a team of the best researchers and doctors giving us guidance that takes into consideration the newest "credible and verifiable knowledge. I'm really surprised that so many have jumped on this story and are using it to tout their own programs, especially those who are trying to take jabs at WW. Seems to me the goal is to get fit and stay healthy and, more importantly, do it in a way that can be sustainable. We all know that this is not easy in the best of situations and many of us fall back into old habits. Thank goodness for WW! Good luck to all who are endeavoring to lose weight be healthy.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • WW Lifetime

      Boss, WW is not a crutch. It's a tool to help people become healthy. It's not magic or voodoo. It uses common sense to help live a healthy lifestyle. I'm 35 lbs. lighter and healthier because of WW. I now know how to eat and stay active to keep the weight off.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Boss, while WW is obviously a business, the fact is that its programs are consistently rated highly by nutritionists. There isn't any "crutch" at all, as you'd know if you bothered to learn something about the program. WW works for a lot of people and is a heck of a lot more sensible and healthy than most "diets" like those you seem to think are best. If you want to believe that something you're "on" for a short period of time will result in permanent weight loss, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • Diets suck

      Actually Boss, you're wrong. Clearly not a WW client. Once you meet your goal and keep it of for a certain period of time, you become a lifelong member, free of charge. That means you can come and go for the support when you need it, without paying.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • 70lbsgone

      Oh Boss...I'm sorry you feel that way about WW. In my opinion all of America has not been taught how to eat properly. As a whole we eat wayyy to much and wayyy to much processed food. I am including myself in "all of America". I had bought and tried every "diet" on the market before trying WW. WW is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. It has taught me how to eat food that is more nutritional and filling. NOt only have I lost 70 lbs, I am alot healthier! I am excited about the new WW PointsPlus program because it is based on scientific data on how our bodies use food.

      December 3, 2010 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  12. mary

    What none of the folks who are dismissing WW (especially those who are touting other "Diet" plans) mention is the importance of the Weight Watcher meeting that members are encouraged to attend each week. This is not just an opportunity to weigh in and chart your progress; more importantly, it is a place for members to encourage each other, celebrate our victories and learn more about healthy eating. As I have told many people who have asked how my "diet" is coming along, I tell them that Weight Watchers is not a diet - it is a lifestyle. And no, this is not an ad for Weight Watchers; just a comment from someone who has actually followed the program....

    November 29, 2010 at 09:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Glen Kaminski

      Well said, Mary. My wife and I attend the meetings regularly, and we've seen great success as a result. I believe that many folks have the misconception that the meetings are some sort of "kumbaya" experience, but they provide excellent practical tips for maximizing the effectiveness of the plan and working the plan into everyone's lifestyle.

      November 29, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • David LaBossiere Marlborough, MA

      Well said! It is all about healthy eating and exercise, not about DIETING. It is what all people should be doing anyway, ask any doctor. WW is just there to help those of us that want to get back to the basics of being healthy and need a bit of encouragement. As my WW leader once said "the first three letters in diet is DIE".

      November 29, 2010 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • diane

      i agree completely. i have been a ww member for two years now. the reason why i think it's been working for me is the accountability. if i had a 'bad' week i wouldnt weigh in the next saturday. that's the wrong way. you must be acountable for your gains as well as your losses. it keeps you on track. i'm always proud to say i'm on ww.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Nomnomnom

      If the meeting atmosphere works for you, great!

      If not, WW also offers the online option - all the tools are available online, and there are message boards if you like a little human interaction on your own schedule.

      What I like about WW is the way you can customize the plan to suit your own idiosyncracies, schedule and tastes. If I had to attend meetings in person, I wouldn't have lasted a week. But I lost over 100 lbs (and have kept it off about three years now) using the WW online tools. No foods are off-limits; you can eat whatever, and whenever, you like as long as you stick to your daily points limit and meet a pretty generous set of nutritional guidelines (aiming for getting a certain amount of protein, whole grains, dairy, etc. per day). The new points formula "rewards" you by letting you eat more if you choose fresher, minimally processed foods, but you can still eat a fair amount of junk if you like. (as you lose weight and your daily points total dwindles, though, you will probably find it doesn't give you enough bang for the buck to eat a lot of that stuff) You can work the plan successfully regardless of your age, activity level, cooking ability, tolerance for pep talks, etc.

      I agree with the prior poster who said that WW isn't the ONLY way to lose and maintain weight in a healthy manner ... but it's one of the saner, more accessible and more realistic plans out there.

      December 21, 2010 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
  13. Sophia Giatrakos

    Wow– did the writer do ANY fact checking??
    The old WW points program was NEVER about calories in vs out!!

    Do some research. It was calories, fiber and fat. Now they have added protein and other factors.

    You really should retract or correct this misleading and FALSE article

    November 29, 2010 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tracey

      Reading comprehension is your friend. It does not say that WW is about calories in/out, it says weight loss is and it mentioned specifically with a quote:

      While weight loss is about calories in versus calories out, Gans said, “the difference is where those calories are coming from. In the old program, calories can come from non-nutritious foods. The foods have to be nutritious.”

      Say what you will about whether or not people were encouraged to make healthy choices on the old plan. The fact remained that you COULD eat 25 points of Snickers bars if you so chose. This overhaul seems to simply be an effort to more strongly encourage good choices.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Boss

      The formula used to calculate points before WAS based on calories. It was 50 calories per point +/- a point based on the amount of fat and dietary fiber (more fat meant more points, more dietary fiber meant less points). It was definitely based on calories but used fiber and fat to make foods seem less or more appealing depending on the increase or decrease of points due to fiber and fat.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • Sophia Giatrakos

      Tracey, reading comprehension could be your friend too. Would you like me to intoriduce you?

      What do you "comprehend" this FALSE statment to mean??

      –> "Under the old Weight Watchers Points, a breakfast consisting of a croissant and butter would’ve had the same Points value as a breakfast of toast, ham and eggs as long as it contained the same number of calories. "

      November 29, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • Diets suck

      Sophia, that is not a 'false' statement. She's right...Reading Comprehension!! It's saying if you eat a 300 calories worth of a croissant, and 300 calories worth of toast, ham and eggs; it would have the same number of points. Now, they take into consideration the nutrients in each, and award points based on which breakfast is going to deliver more nutrients.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Sophia Giatrakos

      to "Diets Suck"
      Why are you and others opining on a program you do not understand?? It is a false statment!.

      WW never said the 2 breakfasts would be the same points if thery were both 300 calories. That is just wrong!!

      The old (as of last week) point system was based on calories, AND fiber AND fat. So, for 300 calories, but low fat and high fiber you would get FEWER points than 300 calories, little fiber and high fat.

      I have been on WW for years– why can't you all not argue with facts about how the program worked since you do not know? It was never 300 calories = X points. Again, 2 different foods with same calories but differnt fat/fiber are DIFFERENT points.

      Now, they have added protein and carbs to the point system and elimitnated calories (so it is fat, protein, carbs and fiber).

      November 29, 2010 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      you've completely misunderstood this article. but at least you didn't have a make an ass out of yourself by exposing your ignorance or anything.

      December 8, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      to Sophia: "Again, 2 different foods with same calories but different fat/fiber are DIFFERENT points." WRONG. they might be different points, but only if one is WAY higher in fat or fiber than the other. it would actually be very rare for two different foods with the same number of calories to be different points. the previous formula was heavily weighted toward the calories and much less so towards fat and fiber content. plus, very, very few foods have more than 2-3 grams of fiber per serving (except foods made to be deliverers of fiber, such as fiber one) it does happen, but VERY rarely.

      December 8, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
  14. John Pilla

    The ZONE diet is more a life style than a diet and has had all of the "newly" "recently" "discovered" nutrition now being "found" by main stream "experts" and other "diets". Dr. Sears was way ahead of his time when he wrote his first book. And Weight watchers assigning zero points to fruit, while simplistic is a mistake. Vegetables carry a lower glycemic load all-around. And some fruits are much higher than others on the glycemic scale, and not much better than other non-favorable starches.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MyToesSmell

      John Pilla – EXCELLENT post.

      My brother and I are of almost exact height and base weight. He has done very well with WW over the last two years and I have done phenomenally well with the Zone Diet/Lifestyle. The difference is that he has a little trouble keeping the weight off while I do not. Also – while I am not disagreeing with a points system, I really raise my eyebrows at a diet that allows a candy bar (at a cost of higher points of course) to be permissible. As Dr. Sears has stated repeatedly in his first book - "Food is the most important drug that you will ever put into your body". His diet has ALWAYS been about the quality of food and it appears that WW is finally catching up.

      I do not wish to come across as snooty but I feel very strongly that the Zone Diet/Lifestyle is vastly superior to anything else out there.

      November 29, 2010 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
    • ADD Prone

      People who have 'found religion' like you have, always feel that your method is the 'best one out there...'

      Weight Watchers is about teaching people how to make proper choice, educating them about the food they eat, the camaraderie of sharing good weeks and bad weeks with others, accountability and overall good health. If being healthy and in shape was as easy as scientifically deciding what kind of foods to eat and eating them, life would be easier. But for the rest of us, life is a lot more complicated.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Lindal B.

      Good luck to you John, I hope the Zone works for you. WW works for me and I feel better than ever, my metabolism is working the way it is supposed to and I'm getting fit and lean, slowly but surely. It's not like WW will be telling us to eat a bushel of bananas before bedtime. In our meetings, we will be talking about, learning and incorporating sensible habits with the new Points Plus system. WW has never been about the latest gimmick or fad.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • Diets suck

      MyToesSmell: You are coming across as snotty. Keeping weight off is not all about the program you use – you do have a responsibility to be smart about it. WW does not promote eating candy, it also doesn't tell you what you are 'allowed' to eat. That's a diet. It's telling you if you're going to eat that candy bar, you just used x number of points/calories on something without any nutrition, but it's your choice. The point is to learn that you are not going to stay full and satisfied with that candy bar, and you probably should have opted for some fruit and a handful of almonds.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • MyToesSmell

      The point I am making here about Zone vs. WW is that WW is taking small steps and they are steps that the Zone already advocates. There has been very little tweaking to the Zone since its inception in the early 90's.

      And the 'scientifically deciding what kind of foods to eat' statement is a little baffling as according to the article "more has become known about the science behind weight loss". So yes, it is science that is allowing WW to revisit their points system, and it is 100% science that created the principles of the Zone.

      If that is snooty, snotty, snitty, or snetty, then so be it.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      It's not your posts that are snotty, silly, and stupid-it's you, bozo. If you don't like WW, then here's a simple solution for you, dumbazz: don't use it. Others have found it very effective and many health professionals in the field of nutrition have judged it to be a sound program. If that gripes your butt, you big baby, go elsewhere. No one at WW will care in the slightest. In fact, you could do the same thing with your own family, and I'll wager they'll feel quite the same. You seem like a very unpleasant little person.

      November 29, 2010 at 20:08 | Report abuse |
  15. CH

    WW has been calculating points from calories, fiber and fat. And a lot of us who have chosen WW is because we need the support to deal with our unhealthy eating habits. Keep fighting the good fight people!

    November 29, 2010 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Glen Kaminski

    As a Weight Watchers member, I agree with Sophia Giatrakos that WW is NOT just about calories. The author of this article did not check their fact at all. For some time (at least the past 6 years, when I've been working with the program), calories, fat grams, and fiber grams have been used to calculate Points values.

    Also, according to the WW website, fresh fruit and MOST vegetables will be zero Points, not all vegetables.

    A little fact checking goes a LONG way, Madison.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Truzzi

    Jon- if you want people to take your plan seriously, you need to get a new website. I'm not discounting your dieting methodology, but, when I go to your website to find out more information on your dieting plans, I feel that if I click on any of your link that my computer may or may not instantly shut down- for good.

    The plan seems logical though and I feel as if a combination between your timing methodology and weight watchers awareness to what kinds of foods are better for you to eat would be a good foundation to any diet.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. notmyrealname

    The calories in the chocolate bar and those in the apple might be the same numbers; that does NOT make the two equivalent.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. notmyrealname

    Jon, you are simply posting an advertisement for your own product. Knock it off.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Cathy

    I'm eager to see how this system is different, as so far it doesn't sound very different to me. I've been on Weight Watchers for three years, to great success, and the whole time I've been on the program I have typed in the calorie, FAT, and FIBER content of foods in order to learn the number of points. These latest articles make it sound as if WW has never considered fat and protein and fiber - and they very much have. I'm wondering if this "new program" is just a buncha hype.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diets suck

      Cathy – not a bunch of hype. They are changing the way they assign foods points, discouraging less healthy options [like a croissant] and encouraging people to make healthier things. If you're already making good choices, and not trying to fit in a piece of French silk pie and stay within your points, then no – it's not going to be much of a change for you.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  21. Bob

    Wow... a lot of ignorance about this issue:

    Weight Watchers isn't "a diet" – it's become more focused on a lifestyle change. It's about learning healthy eating habits that if followed, will keep the weight off, be sustainable AND be healthy.

    I get the part about a calorie is a calorie, but the "twinkie dieter" wasn't exactly a scientific study – it had a sample size of one and it wasn't exactly a blind study... that said, it wasn't a sustainable lifestyle – it wasn't healthy over the short term – let alone the long term.

    Part of any plan to reduce weight has to consider "acceptance". An "all broccoli diet" would also work... but people would quit after a few days and they would be right back where they started.

    Before this change, Weight Watchers emphasized balanced meals, portion control, low fat, high fiber, and budgeting calories and moderate physical activity,. This change will continue to bring their program into line with the idea of the "sustainable lifestyle change".

    -Husband of a WW spouse who has kept off 35 pounds

    November 29, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 50lbsdown

      Well said, Bob! On behalf of all WW wives...thank you for your support!

      I've been doing this program for almost 3 years and lost 50 lbs the first year and have kept it off. WW realized that the plan could use a little tweaking to make it a healthier, more doable plan...so they tweaked it. Now, a banana and a 100 cal pack do not have the same "value" on the points system, as they certainly do not have the same nutritional value.
      Kudos to their team of doctors and nutritionists for making the plan easier to follow and more effective.

      December 3, 2010 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  22. MLH

    " the program will now calculate Points based on macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates instead of relying solely on calories, fat and fiber."

    The article was not clearly written, but it did state points will be calculated including proteins and carbs too, instead of just calories, fat, and fiber.

    WW always worked for me when I followed it. No diet / lifestyle works for everyone. You have to find what works for you personally and go with that.

    November 29, 2010 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC-VA

      I agree 100%

      November 29, 2010 at 10:04 | Report abuse |
    • Joey Levin

      Absolutley follow what works..I'm a bit scared..I've been Lifetime and have maintained beautifully for years..I LOVE the program..I'm a bit OCD..I followed it to the letter..NOW they say all fruits are "O"..Frankly, I don't trust that..I already feel like I'm "inching up"..I want to just eat the way I've been eating, but a lot of my products points' values have changed..I guess, it's just a matter of using 'different numbers' but maintaining the same good nutritional guidelines.

      December 6, 2010 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
  23. meagan

    I joined WW in 2003 and lost 120IBS, and have kept it off! I still journal everyday and work out religiously. The program works, trust me. I am glad that they are now focusing on healthier food choices as I have learned over the years that an apple is a better 2 point choice over a 100 calorie snack! Yes, calories, fat and fiber are important, but I am glad to see that they are also taking proteins and sugar into consideration

    November 29, 2010 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lindal B.

      Congratulations Meagan! That is an awesome accomplishment and your story is very encouraging news to the rest of us!!!! I'm glad WW is there for us and I can't wait to go to our local meeting tonight and find out all about the changes.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  24. JC-VA

    How do you people explain the Twinkie diet results...? Really, it's all about calories in Vs. Calories out, now WW is focused on a healthy diet or way of living, but really, if all I want is to lose weigth, t doesn't matter how I do it, what matters is how am I going to keep it off, and THAT is the hard part.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      There's no contradiction or need to explain the twinkie diet.

      Look, you could conceivably eat anything and reduce weight over a short period. That doesn't mean it's sustainable or healthy. A sustainable lifestyle change is the issue – and that's where fad diets fail.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • Lincoln Brigham

      If you ignore how you lose the weight you'd better be prepared to ignore how you're going to keep it off.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  25. sb1953

    I'm glad to see this change has taken place. The human body simply was not made to consume junk food. I don't know anyone who said they got fat because they ate too much fruit–fresh, not dried. Your blood sugar will be more stable if you eat fruit because of the high fiber content. Refined carbs have an addictive effect on the body (I've had experience with this) and they cause your insulin to spike and then drop lower than before. Plus, they're deficient in nutrients. If you're not getting enough vitamins and minerals in your food, you tend to eat more. I read about a woman who lost 400 pounds on Weight Watchers in the old days when only vegetables were unlimited. She said she sometimes made salads with 10 heads of lettuce.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Brenda B

    CNN – You should follow up on the strong-arm product selling that's accompanying this launch. Meeting members are up in arms because WW no longer provides the basic and essential tools, such as a points calculator, as a part of its membership fee. If you want to be able to calculate these spiffy new points, they're forcing you to buy an electronic calculator or subscribe to its online service.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lindal B.

      Brenda, the online tools comes as part of the program when you pay by the month.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Linda-
      WW used to provide a slide tool to use for meeting members. The new "tool" is an electronic gadget that cots additional money. It isn't "free" to meeting members. As a former meeting member, I liked having the slide that I could take with me to the store to figure out what to buy. If I want to do that now, I have to pay WW even MORE money to purchase the calculator.

      November 29, 2010 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
    • Little Momma

      Hi Brenda,

      All of the basic tools were provided to us at our meeting. We received the food list with the PointsPlus values. Just like before, if I choose to purchase extras I can.

      I have lost 60+ pounds with WW and have kept it off for 5 years. While there are several other plans out there WW is the only thing that helped me to learn a new lifestyle. The gradual changes are what worked for me. I went from being the girl with the double cheeseburger and large fries to the regular cheeseburger and small fry to, eventually, the grilled chicken sandwich and side salad. Didn't happen overnight, but the changes will last a lifetime.

      The greatest thing about WW? Now that I'm at my goal and I can still attend the meetings for the accountability and support and not have to pay a dime. Oh, and they gave me the materials at no cost because I am a Lifetime Member at Goal. What other "company" would do that? None.

      Good luck to all in their weight loss journey no matter what path you take!

      November 30, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • 50lbsdown

      SIX DOLLARS!! Six dollars is the cost of the tool that may help save your life. I own two of them. They are selling at cost for current members who have been loyal to the program.

      In January, when we get the new influx of members wanting to lose holiday weight, the cost goes up.

      How many of you spent six dollars on Starbucks yesterday?? Seriously.

      December 3, 2010 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
  27. WW FAN

    I am a great believer in weight watchers. I have lost 22 pounds and counting. The primary point to remember is that weight loss requires a life style change. Once you lose the weight you must continue to eat healthy and exercise to keep the weight off. ANY weight loss plan requires a life style change. Until you are ready to make that change you cannot maintain healthy weight loss. Period.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. kate

    weight watchers is one of the few programs that actually works because it pretty much focuses on calories. Why don't people see this and just try to calculate calories and macronutrients themselves? if you have a lot of extra weight you don't have to be really specific when counting calories just pretty close. If you can do it without the points system you can change your eating habits forever. good site to learn more http://www.diet-myths.com

    November 29, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gala12

      Because calorie is not the calorie. Different foods affect hormones in you body differently. On the same number of calories you may be full or hungry.

      November 29, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  29. RabiaDiluvio

    There is a reason WW makes so much money in REPEAT business. It is not a long-term solution to weight. Fine for someone who needs to lose a few to fit into a certain dress...not so good for people who have massive amounts of weight to lose. WW and the "twiinkie diet" have this in common: unsustainability and impracticality.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Rabia – Look, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

      In fact, a ww member who maintains his goal weight becomes a lifetime member and may attend meetings for free.

      WW was deemed one of the few programs that actually worked and was sustainable by consumer reports. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that it resulted in modest weight loss after two years and more than self-help over a two year period.

      If there is a weakness to their program, I'd say it is not enough emphasis on exercise – they do give "activity points" but I think that there could be more of an emphasis.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • RabiaDiluvio

      Bob: Sorry if I accidentally kicked your favorite puppy, but the majority of people who use WW do NOT keep the weight off no matter what kind of anecdotal evidence you might wave around (and no matter what silly incentives the company might dangle in front of them). In 2005 the company admitted as much. I have yet to meet one person who has been through WW and did not decide to go back to them within 3 years to "do it again." WW is about portion restriction and control, NOT about re-educating yourself or training your tastes or your body for a long term (GENUINE) lifestyle change.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • Aloc

      not true, I've already lost close to 30 lbs in 11 weeks and plan to lose 70 more. No other "diet" has ever worked for me. I was so skeptical of WW at first, just a fad, wont work, etc., had weight issues from the late teens to early thirties, it took me years to finally try it and I am glad I did. AND...it is a lifestyle change, not just a diet.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Rabia, No favorite puppy.

      Just happen to know that you are ignorant.

      I've met several lifetime ww members through my spouse's family (several of them are ww) and if you would like to meet some long term success stories simply attend a meeting. The person leading the group is someone who has met his/her goal weight and maintained it for some time.

      Look, I don't think it's perfect, but they have done a good job with their program and I respect the folks who work it. I know that I make different choices about food.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Bob's right, Rabia dear. You're ignorant and stubborn to boot.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Lindal B.

      I think it's true that the larger percentage of people gain weight back, no matter what plan they follow. And that is not the plan's fault, it is the consumers (of food in this case!). It is ultimately up to us to decide we are going follow a healthy lifestyle. Most people that fall off the program and come back do so, because they know WW works and there is real support and understanding about the reoccurring problem to be had. To those of us who were not blessed with the "skinny gene", WW is much appreciated.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • MoeD

      Everyone has a favorite color. It seems everyone has a favorite diet plan, be it the zone or Atkins or whatever. I LIKE weight watchers. I plan to continue using it, enjoying it, and not caring what the rest of the world thinks. It works for me, has a great support system, and does not require eliminating any food group.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • Diets suck

      Wow RabiaDiluvio – you are IGNORANT. Know what you are talking about before embaressing yourself with such a ridiculous post!!

      November 29, 2010 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Meagan

      I joined WW in 2003 and lost 120IBS, and have kept it off. I found that the program was easy to follow, and it taught me how to eat. What it didnt emphasize was the importance of protein in addition to fiber. I am glad they have 'reengineered" the program so folks can pay better attention to carbs, sugar and protein. WIth all that said, the program does work and I am a living example of it. People also cannot solely rely on a weight loss program, you must also educate yourself on nutrition and adjust according to your lifestyle. Cardio, strength training and Pilates also helped me maintain the weight loss!

      November 29, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Lorenzo

      Hi All !
      Just to let you know that I have tried a few diets over the years... None of them worked...
      I lost 65 lbs on WW and my weight has been stable since 2005... WW works for me while other plans did not.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • 50lbsdown

      There is a reason why lifetime members are free.....because WW believes in it's program. The people who lose the weight and still stick with the program FOR FREE do not gain it back. The people who STOP using the program gain the weight back and then some. The REPEAT business WW gets are people who could have stuck with it and been FREE members.

      The plan didn't fail them. They failed themselves.

      December 3, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
  30. razzlea

    Having used WW prior i did think it was odd how their point systems worked, dont get me wrong i did lose some weight but i didnt feel that it was a life style change for me but with the new system of veggies and fruits being zero points im sure it will be more attractive. Check out my health and fitness blog http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    November 29, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Boss

    I don't understand why everyone uses past WW experience to defend the new system. You have no idea whether it will or won't work for you or not. WW creators are not God, they didn't necessarily make a great new plan, it's fine to analyze it without people getting defensive about the company they chose to lose weight with.

    November 29, 2010 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Boss, WW has worked for many people and it isn't a diet, doesn't require you to buy their food, etc. It's something that can be sustained without continuing to pay to belong to the program. People are defensive because a lot of people are making comments that aren't accurate and are ignorant.

      That said, this is a tweeking of the existing program, not a huge overhaul. They make changes from time to time.
      Their formula for assigning points previously took into account calories, fat and fiber. Now it will take into account other things as well.

      It remains to be seen if this is a good change, but it makes good sense.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      And I don't understand what your big beef is, Bobby. You obviously don't like WW. I suspect that's either because it didn't work for you or, more likely, you have some sort of axe to grind, ie you are an employee of some other diet program and WW made some headlines that would be bad for your business. Boo hoo.

      November 29, 2010 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Oops, my bad. That last post of mine was really meant for Bossy, not Bob. Boss, get your cranium out of your rectum, and stop pretending you are the font of all truth. WW works for many people. If you don't like it, then lump it.

      November 29, 2010 at 20:19 | Report abuse |
  32. Sean

    Weight Watcher's greatest gift is that it TEACHES folks to identify how good or bad foods are and simply be AWARE of everything they are putting in their bodies everyday. Whether their point system is perfect or not is not the point, the reason for their success is that the system permanently makes people become aware of everything they eat, which naturally leads to them making better choices. Many people might think getting a salad for lunch is "eating healthy", yet they may be stunned to learn that that one large packet of ranch dressing was WORSE for them in terms of weight/gain loss than the cheeseburger they would have rather had. WW makes people cognizant of these concepts, and in doing so, gives people a system to eating more healthy, controlling what they eat, being aware of portions, and overall simply eating and living healthier. Trust me, I speak from the experience of watching my wife lose all the weight she had wanted to in 1yr+ of weight watchers and now having a better body in her mid 30s than she ever has had in her life. Just being around her doing it has even made ME much more aware of what I eat.

    You are free to try and sell your system all you want, bud, but don't bash WW without understanding what its true benefit is.

    November 29, 2010 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Oscar

    Some people loose on WW and some don't (after first flush); some gain it back and some don't. There are many repeaters but if you did well, fine for you. Results of this and nearly anything else "may vary."

    November 29, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Matthew

    I think people are trying to look too deeply into this. Weight Watchers point system is there merely to give people ideas of portion control. If you eat something healthy its lower points and you get to eat more of it, if it’s unhealthy you don’t get to eat as much, but you at least get to eat it.
    While WW does promote healthy eating, with its healthy guidelines (not sure if those changed) you don’t have to eat healthy to lose weight. As many have mentioned there is the guy who did the Twinkie Diet, well guess what, you can do the Twinkie Diet and WW at the SAME TIME. WW merely tells you how many you can eat to still lose weight. But the healthier you eat the more you get to eat.
    The new system doesn’t even look at calories anymore. It calculates points based on Fat, Fiber, Carbs and Protein, that’s it. I compared a couple items I normally eat with the Points vs. the Points plus and they are about equal (Points Plus is higher but overall my target points increased as well, so it was a wash). As far as I can tell Carbs and Fat now tend to raise the points higher than they use to (thus penalizing more for unhealthy food) and the Fiber and Proteins lowers the points to a greater extent(no actual math done so don’t hold me to this).
    The main benefits of WW over any diet/lifestyle I have encountered is the fact you can eat anything you want, as long as its within your points target, and the meetings which give support. As for the Zone diet, any diet that forbids anyone from eating a candy bar is not going to be sustainable for anyone who needs to do the diet in the first place.

    November 29, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chamilet

      This!!

      November 30, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
  35. James

    Here is a crazy idea, just eat healthy, exercise and be more active and stop giving your money to a company. When WW pushes a more active (how about a WW 10K for charity) lifestyle equivalent to pushing their products then they'll get more respect. How many people do you know that are always on WW? It's designed for failure.

    November 29, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      I just want to add that if it works for you, great. I think the focus should be on being active more than anything else.

      November 29, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      WW does push for an active lifestyle and they start giving out material for it once you have gotten use to the program (Around week 4 I think). Also, the program is designed for you to always be a member of WW, but once the person reaches their goal weight they no longer have to pay. I think the reason for this is the extra motivation to other members to have people around who have reached their goal weight and this is a on going battle which people tend to lose when they leave WW (which is why they get repeat business).

      November 29, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      One other note, its possible to eat right, not be active and still lose weight, but if your active and not eating right, your not going to lose weight. Eating right is more important than being active (which also may not be an option for some people) when it comes to losing weight.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      I think that James seems a little bitter......WW isn't designed for people to fail! Those of us that have failed previously did so on our own, not because of the plan. I love it because people cheer for me when I lose 5 pounds.....everyone needs a little encouragement sometimes.

      November 29, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • Gala12

      It is the point. People who like WW prefer to be the part of some crowd, wont other people make nutritional decisions for them and value it even more if it costs money.It is not about food – it is psychology. Sort of nutritional church. If it is working for them- good for them .

      November 29, 2010 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
  36. RunnerChick

    The great thing about the new program is that it takes into account for how your body processes macronutrients. Your body has to work harder (burn more calories) to process protein and fiber. The body processes fat and carbs much more quickly. As for free fruit, WW would rather you choose a banana than theat over processed cookie (which on the previous plan could have been the same point values). Kudos to WW for nudging people in the direction of a healthy lifestyle by eating right (choosing whole and healthy foods) and being active.

    November 29, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. LindaT

    I have had to diet most of my 59 years due to a love for sweets, junk food and basically poor eating habits. I have also lost weight on many different diet plans, like Atkins, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers and they all work. However, I have had more doctors suggest to me to do Weight Watchers than any other plan due to how much it makes sense. I get irritated when people say the diet doesn't work; that once you lose the weight you gain it all back and more. Get real folks – the plan was there to train you how to eat healthy, which it did, but once you lost your weight and started eating all the junk you previously did, naturally you gain all your weight back – it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. It wasn't the plan that failed, it was you! I've been there more than once – lost and gained, and I have to say WW makes the most sense in making the right choices to fit your lifestyle. When you make too many of the wrong food choices, you're at fault, not the diet. I have been on WW now for less than a year and have lost about 40 lbs and finally feel like I have made the decision to eat healthier than I have in the past. Not only because I look better, but I find when I eat the junk, I feel like crap. So, I totally agree with so many others that WW is not a diet, but a choice at a better way of life by learning to make better choices.

    November 29, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lincoln Brigham

      Too many folks choose a diet because it "makes sense." Not enough people start a diet because its track record of keeping weight off.

      Losing weight is almost meaningless. Keeping weight off is where it's at.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • Gala12

      It is you nutritional daycare.

      November 29, 2010 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  38. Nicole

    I lost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers. It's the only diet I ever tried that worked for me and the only diet I've ever been on that I didn't walk around hungry all the time! Kudos to Weight Watchers!

    November 29, 2010 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Fatts Mcgee

    I like the old system.I had a ton of points and was leading my fatty group..
    Who cares if I am morbidily obese!!!!! I am leading my overweight group....
    I RULE!!!
    Jared is my hero...He lost all that weight and ran a marathon in 6 hours...wow what a hero!

    November 29, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. erica1112

    I have tried other methods of losing weight – Atkins, The Zone, etc. and found them to be ridiculous and limiting. As well, too much protein in the blood, long term, does not for healthy kidneys make. Weight Watches is NOT a diet. Period. It has worked for me and many other people I know. And if I gain the weight back, its because I'm hitting the cheesecake and not the gym. Who is the failure then? Weight Watchers or me? Also, let's remember than plans such as Nutri-System and Jenny Craig force you to buy their food. It's very expensive and not sustainable. On WW, you can eat ANYTHING! All of you WW Haters should go to meeting and talk to the members. PS: Once you've reached your goal weight, and sustain it within a few pounds – you become a lifetime member. Gratis!

    November 29, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 22 lbs and counting

    Been on WW since the beginning of July; lost 22 – goal is 33. Would be nice if the "new" WW site stayed up long enough for us to update our customized foods & recipes!

    November 29, 2010 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. elizardbeth Crowin ...Big Dog Health gossip blogger

    GUYS STOP what you are doing and watch me on CNN.......NOW!!!!

    "HUGE DAY FOR MICE"

    November 29, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey Mouse

      woo-hoo!!!!!!!!

      Thanks so much!!!

      November 29, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • Minnie Mouse

      I agree!

      November 29, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • Mighty Mouse

      Don't let the humans find out!

      November 29, 2010 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
  43. Beverly-NYC

    Wow the vitriolic comment about weight loss, thought I has wandered onto an article about Sarah Palin. Everyone please breathe. In the end it's about getting healthy, no matter what road gets you there, WW, Zone, Caveman diet, late night TV gadgets. If it works for you great, no need no disparage what someone else does. Continued weight loss and good health to everyone.

    November 29, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RabiaDiluvio

    Trying to convince someone that WW is not the best way to lose weight is like trying to talk someone out of a religious cult. They are sold hook line and sinker and will be when they go back to "Do WW" again and again and again every time they regain.

    WW does not teach people to eat well or healthily, it teaches them to restrict portions and obsess over every crumb that they eat. People who do not succeed long term on this plan are taught that they have willpower issues and they need more "support" and accountability in order to succeed. The things you hear people say... "I was good today because I stayed within my point limit..." or "I was bad today because I had a cookie when I was out of points." Way to shame yourself, but not very valuable as a true lifestyle change that will have any long term benefit.

    November 29, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Last time I checked, portion control is a very important part of any sensible diet plan.. WW does good by teaching portion control.

      And yes, WW makes people obsess about eating correctly. Cause for most fat people, that's what it takes.

      Regarding willpower...well, if you can't put down the cookie, you won't succeed in ANY program.

      November 29, 2010 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Have you ever actually been on WW or gone to a single meeting, Rabid, um, I mean Rabia? It doesn't sound like it. You sound like a shill for some other diet plan. If that's not it, then you're ignorant, stupid, or just plain nasty. You obviously have never educated yourself about WW before making these absurd generalized statements, and it shows.

      Dry up, meathead.

      November 29, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Rabia, That's just plain WRONG. I never feel shame for going out of points for a day that's what weekly points are for. I never feel ashamed for gaining weight from one week to the next either. It's not about perfection it's about retraining habits. Go to a free meeting some time and listen to the folks talk. You'll see that the folks that beat themselves up over a few points here and there usually don't stay. The folks that realize that it's a process and that it takes time, good weeks, bad weeks, on program, off program. We come back week to week because we want a healthier lifestyle. Even stick thin models eat cheesecake- they just don't do it 4 times a day 5 days a week. Some of us were doing just that. So, you can be a WW hater but unless you've actually been on the program, attended a meeting and actually talked to members you haven't a clue what this program is really about.

      November 30, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  45. Sophia Giatrakos

    To the wiriter:

    Please CORRECT your statement:

    "Under the old Weight Watchers Points, a breakfast consisting of a croissant and butter would’ve had the same Points value as a breakfast of toast, ham and eggs as long as it contained the same number of calories."

    That is INCORRECT, The old points system (before today's) counted calories and fiber and fat. So your 2 examples would be different if the fat and fiber content were different.

    Today's change is that protein and carbs have been added as factors to fat and fiber (which were there to begin with) and calories have been eliminated

    November 29, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. eric schatz

    I understand that WW wants to better describe the impact a particular food has when it passes our teeth...only thing that bums me is now we have to BUY new merch...food lists, restaurant guides, the handheld points calculator and the food scale that computed point values from mass. Also where I used to be able to quickly estimate the points for a serving of packaged food by looking at the nutrition facts, the new formula I found in the blogoverse is too complex.

    November 29, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • myopnion

      This is exactly the complaint that many in our group have. Since starting on the points program in the spring, my hubby and i have both been doing really well – both losing weight and managing our choices better. Do we still eat out and have a drink now & then? yep! but we are more conscious of balancing those choices with whatever else we have that day. The ease of being able to look at a nutrition label and see right away what the point value of an item is very important, especially when grocery shopping. The new plan is rather complicated and not something that can be done quickly in your head (at least not my head!) and WW is not telling you how to calculate your own points - you are reliant on the WW leader or having to pay for something else despite paying for weekly meetings. seems like a way to earn more money for the company rather than promote healthier eating.

      December 3, 2010 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  47. NYRunnerGirl

    As someone who has lost 60 lbs (and counting) on WW, I love the plan. I find that it is easy for me to use, and I tend to really think about what I put in my mouth.
    I am also an endurance runner (half marathons my favorite) so I eat a lot of carbs. A LOT. But high fiber, GOOD carbs. Why? Because that is the fuel I need to run long runs. Every body is different-what works for me will not necessarily work for you. I tend to not eat a lot of meat, but eat natural peanut butter and eggs for protein. Whole grains, fruit and veggies. I do try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Weight Watchers just helps me keep it all in check.
    Don't hate on those of us who have found a program that works for us. Exercise is a big part of my success, I really wish WW would do more in that respect though.

    November 29, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Michael

    I tried weight watchers after failing at the zone diet. It's all too complex. Fact is, some people just have different body chemistry than others. Some people can load up on crappy food and never gain a pound and some people can't. I couldn't, and once I faced that fact I went to a nutritionist and I wiped out every crappy thing I was consuming. Once I accepted that real, long-term weight loss isn't something that's supposed to happen quickly (it shocks your body and it's not healthy) I began eating fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and exercising five days per week. I burn more calories than I take in, and after a few months I found I could occasionally splurge on the things I loved. The surprising thing was I found I didn't really miss all the crap food that much. WW is a business and they make a ton of $$$ of Americans on their sodium-laden frozen dinners and deserts, meetings and such. The best way to go is still the old fashioned tried and true method. Sorry, but that's a fact.

    November 29, 2010 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. notmyrealname

    What's really funny is the nuts on here who are acting as though WW has just launched some salvo directed at the Zone or whatever their favorite diet program happens to be. What the heck is your problem, people? Got no life? No wonder you have a problem with your weight.

    November 29, 2010 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Bo

    Anybody else have trouble logging on if they're on a Mac?

    November 29, 2010 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mitzi

      Bo, I've had no problems on a Mac or with the iPhone.

      December 3, 2010 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.