Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What are Points?

**Disclaimer** I do NOT work for Weight Watchers nor am I a nutritionist. I'm just another fat cat trying to lose some weight on the new Points Plus Program. That said..

What are points?

Weight Watchers assigns 'points' to food. On the old program, treats like the Weight Watcher Novelties were nice.. (they were on sale at the downtown Ralphs so we got a couple boxes):

the 'candy bars' are the closest I'll be getting to those "Snicker Ice Cream Bars" any time soon.. on the old system they are (as noted on the box) '3' points (vs. approx. 10pts for the Snicker Ice Cream bars).

But that was the OLD system.. packaging for the new points plus hasn't come out yet.

On the OLD system you figure the calories, fat and fiber to get your points.
ww candy bar
Here you can see the bar is 150calories, 9g of fat and.. 3g of fiber. On the old system they only count up to 4g of fiber.. so while eating high fiber food is good it won't help you lessen your points. On this ice cream novelty it doesn't matter (because it's under 4) so a point is around 60calories50 calories so a way to 'cheat' that is to divide 50 into 150 then add 90calories (for the 9g of fat) then subtract the 3g (or 30calories worth of fiber). Not an accurate way to figure the old points.. (that's why it's also handy to have the points on the box or have your points calculator).

**EDIT/Correction: 1103am Thanks to Ben for the point calorie correction! It's been a while since I was on program with the old system..

On the NEW points plus system you do NOT count calories. Instead, you count fat, carbs, protein and fiber... I have NO CLUE how the math is worked out but on my "Points Tracker" app it figures to 4points.

This is happening a LOT with many of the food I was used to eating. My 0 or 1points "Progresso" soup is now 1-2pts a serving, (which is still better than a regular can of Progresso soup) my Yoplait light fatfree yogurt went up from 2points to 3 points. My sugar-free Jell-O is still 0 points.. My double fiber Oroweat bread is 2points (can't recall if it was 1 or 2 points before it's been so long since I was counting).

So I haven't figured it out or if there is a cheat. I'm not worried about that right now honestly. I'm re-learning the program and while it's still early, I'm happy with the results. I figure if I can lose an average of 2lbs a week I will be well on my way to looking "OK" by May. It'll be nice to have 20-40lbs less of me to carry around for the D23 Scavenger Hunt this Spring. =)


  1. My WW leader would go nuts if she heard you referring to the new system as "points". They're "PointsPlus values". (Yeah, it sounds corny and clunky, but I guess they have to have it trademarkable somehow.) I still call 'em "points" or "new points" when discussing things with other WW members.

    And the formula isn't nearly as nice as the old one. The old formula was:

    Points = round[(calories)/50 + (fat grams)/12 - max{4, (fiber grams)}/5].

    The new formula is, according to Wikipedia:

    PointsPlus = ceil[(protein grams) * (16/175) + (carb grams) * (19/175) + (fat grams) * (9/35) - (fiber grams) * (2/25)].

    Ugly, but more effective. Personally, I can eyeball it by adding carbs and protein and dividing by 10, dividing fat by 3, and adding them together. It overestimates the result, but that's precisely what I want.

    Oh, and some of the Weight Watchers foods already have the PointsPlus count, but not all, yet.

  2. yeah I do say points.. it's easier that way. I'm not a WW counselor.. LOL but I *do* call say "on the new points plus system" to clarify that I'm talking about how the new points are figured.

    It's been a while since I counted points on the old one.. I was figuring it was something like 60 points but 50 sounds about right.

    I'm awful at math.. so it'll be a while before I try and figure it out in my head. =) Thankfully "there's an app for that" as they say. =)