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The Weight Watchers® PointsPlus™ program, called ProPoints™ in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, is a revamp of the old Weight Watchers® POINTS® program. As with the old program, a person participating in the Weight Watchers® PointsPlus™ system is given a daily point target based on his or her weight, gender, and other factors. Each food or drink a person eats is assigned a certain value. Foods that are processed slowly and leave a person feeling more satisfied are usually more nutritious and are given a lower value than other, less nutritious foods that the body processes quickly. Using the PointsPlus™ values, the system aims to steer members away from processed foods and toward whole, nutritious foods.
There are some differences between the old Weight Watchers® POINTS® program and the new Weight Watchers® PointsPlus™ system. Launched in 1997, the old program assigned POINTS® to foods while taking into account fiber and fat. Under this program, a food low in fat but high in fiber had a lower POINTS® value than one with high fat and low fiber. It did not take into account other nutrients, however. The new program accounts not only for fat and fiber, but also for carbohydrates and proteins.
A carbohydrate-rich food that is higher in fiber, such as an apple, takes more time to digest than a sugar-laden, processed carbohydrate-heavy food, such as a cookie. The result is that a person eating whole, unprocessed foods will feel fuller longer when compared with a person who has eaten the processed food. The Weight Watchers® PointsPlus™ values are calculated so that a person is rewarded for choosing healthier foods. For example, most fruits and vegetables have a PointsPlus™ value of zero, meaning a person can eat as much of those foods as he or she would like. There is also an allowance for indulgences as the company recognizes the need for “cheating” on a diet program.
The Weight Watchers® PointsPlus™ program also encourages people to exercise more. If a person increases his activity, he can earn PointsPlus™ values that can be swapped for extra food allowances. This means that the program accounts for the nutritional needs of an active person and also rewards exercise. As with the old program, a person can also attend Weight Watchers® meetings for support and advice. There are also online resources available to members who are on the program.