Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weight Watchers Cuts Carbs (but not cheeseburgers)

I recently posted this in the Pinched News column: Weight Watchers Upends Its Points System

WW is saying that the changes were necessary to reflect what science has taught is in the past ten years about how the body handles protein, fat and carbs.

The chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International said, “Fifteen years ago we said a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If you ate 100 calories of butter or 100 calories of chicken, it was all the same. Now, we know that is not the case, in terms of how hard the body has to work to make that energy available. And even more important is that where that energy comes from affects feelings of hunger and fullness.”

The president and chief executive described a flaw in the old system this way: “You could be holding an apple in one hand, which was two points, and you could be holding a 100-calorie snack pack of Oreos in the other hand, which was also two points."

In the new WW, fruits and veggies are now point free. And processed foods have seen their point values increase. That sounds ok, though unlimited fruit is not a good idea for anyone trying to shed pounds.

What I don't understand is why under the new system members are now awarded more daily points. Those Oreos went from counting an 2 out of 22 daily points to 3 out of 31, only the slightest increase in overall value. Unbelievably the point value for a Burger King bacon double cheeseburger is unchanged at 12 points, making it worth less of a dieter's daily points.

A diet plan that encourages fast food consumption? No wonder WW is a billion dollar empire.

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