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Weight Watchers Launches New PointsPlus System


Weight Watchers International, a leading provider of weight management services, has launched its first update to its popular POINTS plan in 13 years. The new formula is called POINTS PLUS and reflects the latest in cutting-edge nutrition science.

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While the former POINTS system used primarily a formula based on the amount of calories, fat and fiber present in a food, the new system will also incorporate calculations for protein and carbohydrates as well for a more complete nutritional picture. It will also take into account how hard the body has to work to process the food into energy – the more work, the greater the calorie burn.

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The new system has been in development for the past four years and was tested in trials at the Medical University of South Carolina. The POINTS PLUS program has been in use in Europe for a year.

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The POINTS PLUS formula is designed to help members make better food choices, allowing the dieter to eat until satisfied, but with fewer calories to produce weight loss. “At the end of the day, calories are king,” says Karen Miller Kovach, chief scientific officer of Weight Watchers and the creator of both POINTS system formulas.

Key highlights of the new Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS plan include:

• Fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables are “free”, that is their POINTS PLUS value is zero. Fruit juice, dried fruit and starchy vegetables will count toward the total POINTS allowed in a day.
• While calories are still a factor, choosing a meal of a poached egg, 3 ounces of ham and one slice of whole wheat toast will only count for 6 POINTS, while a breakfast such as a croissant with butter will have 7 – despite the fact that they are both 270 calories. This reflects the lower fat and higher fiber content of the first meal as being a more healthful choice.
• Weight Watchers will offer a list of “power foods” – a 40,000-product database that compares nutrients and highlights the healthiest choices.

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In the past when Weight Watchers made any changes to their current plan offerings, dieters had the option of staying on an older plan, but Miller-Kovach says that will not be an option for the old POINTS system. “Essentially we are retiring the POINTS plan,” says Miller-Kovach. “You can’t mix the new system with the old one.”

“We are confident that POINTS PLUS is the best program Weight Watchers has ever offered,” says David Kirchhoff, president and CEO of Weight Watchers International. “We are changing the way Americans view calories and select their food.”

Current Weight Watchers members will get the new POINTS PLUS program material for free. Cookbooks and other materials with the old POINTS system will be updated soon.