I find it hard to believe Weight Watchers have been around for 54 years, but over and over again, people have paid testament to their diet programs, weight loss hacks and exercise routines so I guess they know what they’re doing.
Recently, Weight Watchers fans were freaking out after the weight-loss company announced earlier this week that it’s adding hundreds of foods to its “zero point” list. Which is kind of a big deal.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, Weight Watchers subscribers have a set number of points they can use for the day, so zero-point foods are a game changer, as you can have as many as you want. In theory.
The zero-points list used to just be fruits and vegetables, so this is a huge change. Now, the list includes eggs, corn, fish, seafood, skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey breast, non-fat plain yoghurt, beans, peas, lentils, tofu, and more, according to a press release from Weight Watchers.
On the plan (which is dubbed WW Freestyle), people can eat as much of those foods as they want without it counting toward their total points for the day. Weight Watchers says it decided to make the shift after testing out the new points system on several people.
They concluded: “people were less hungry on this plan, had fewer food cravings, and lost an average of nearly eight percent of their body weight after six months.” Very solid results, but Weight Watchers fans have had mixed reactions on the internet.
Lisa Moskovitz, a dietician and CEO of NY Nutrition Group, is a little more sceptical, saying: “If the focus is on health and balanced eating, it’s a great move. But for those who are also looking to lose a lot of pounds, this will most likely significantly hinder the effectiveness of Weight Watchers.”
Portion control is also a potential issue with the new Weight Watchers zero-point food. Beth Waren, another nutritionist and dietary author, says: “Foods that contribute calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates are not zero-free or unlimited foods.”
She continues: “Anyone can overeat when given free rein while dieting, regardless of the type.” Understandable, as going to the fridge at two in the morning for lentils and chicken breast will affect your diet, no matter how lean it is.
Still, another dietician Scott Keatley says that making the program more free-form helps set people up for long-term success. He especially likes that the program stresses lean protein like fish, shellfish, or chicken.
He says: “These options also have a little bit of fat in them which will keep you more satisfied as the day goes on, which will lead to spending less points on so-so snacks.” He points out that it takes a lot of guilt out of eating on the diet.
My opinion? It sounds like a great idea as it invites more people to follow a healthy program that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to kill yourself eating air to go on a diet. Remember though, like a bottomless brunch, just because you can have it all, doesn’t mean you should.