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 (423 Responses)
  1. chloroquine nz

    malaria skin rash https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquinr

    April 30, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cialis canadian discounts

    canadian pharmacy 5 mg daily cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis

    May 1, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. storno brzinol

    I’ve recently started a web site, the information you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.


    May 14, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. stornobrzinol

    Im now not certain the place you're getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time studying more or figuring out more. Thank you for excellent info I was in search of this info for my mission.


    May 15, 2021 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. brimonidine

    buy brimonidine online buy generic combigan

    May 15, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. storno brzinol

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!


    May 16, 2021 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. avana

    buy avana usa avana india

    May 16, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. instagram takipçi satın al

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

    May 21, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. cyclosporine

    buy cyclosporine online cyclosporine

    May 21, 2021 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. chloroquineorigin

    https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine malaria prophylaxis chloroquine hydrochloride aralen phosphate chloroquine phosphate clonidine

    May 21, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tembepteriope

    https://tadalafilol.com/ cost tadalafil generic where to buy cialis without prescription buy tadalafil cost tadalafil generic

    May 24, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Edgardo Rappa

    How to change the preferences on a secondary Tumblr blog?


    May 24, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. combigan

    brimonidine tartrate buy brimonidine online

    May 24, 2021 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tritreviewifind

    generic cialis online fast shipping https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – where to order tadalafil tablets tadalafil drug buy tadalafil https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. avanafil

    avanafil cost buy avanafil usa

    May 25, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Unitmerienepeft

    https://tadalafilol.com/ cialis without a prescription tadalafil brands cialis without a prescription tadalafil online

    May 25, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Soosteemocush

    where to order tadalafil tablets https://cttadalafil.com/ – tadalafil dosage buy generic cialis online with mastercard tadalafil online https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Unitmerienepeft

    buy generic cialis online with mastercard lowest price cialis tadalafil cost in canada generic tadalafil from uk https://tadalafilol.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tembepteriope

    https://tadalafilol.com/ buy tadalafil cialis cost tadalafil goodrx tadalafil generic

    May 27, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. pharmaceptica

    sildenafil online in india https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 19, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. pharmacepticacom

    hydro clore quinn https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 20, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Shane Deocampo

    I really love the sciences, especially chemistry and physics. But I also love the creative aspect of the spectrum, such as writing and books. I really want to write. Would it be smart to minor in English or Creative Writing but major in the sciences? Does it look acceptable? I'm new to college stuff, and I'm curious. I don't want to miss an opportunity to advance my scientific or creative knowledge! I'm a Junior in high school..


    June 23, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. pharmacepticacom

    chloroquine malaria https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Pam Dart

    I am just starting out and want to get a blog started..


    June 25, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. pharmaceptica

    erectile enhancement pills https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. pharmaceptica.com

    hydroxychloroquine 200 mg https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Leave a Reply to Shane Deocampo


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.