Weight Watchers updates popular points system

Wed Dec 1, 2010 11:50am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Weight Watchers, the international weight-management and packaged food company, has revised its popular points weight-loss system for the first time in 13 years, the company said.

The updated points system, called PointsPlus, goes beyond merely counting calories and is designed to encourage people trying to lose weight to make educated, healthier decisions about the food they eat.

Karen Miller Kovach, the chief science officer of Weight Watchers, said that the new system reflects the latest in weight loss research.

"We've learned so much more (since the original points system) in terms of weight management science. It was time for an overhaul," she said. "We've translated the new science of the last 13-15 years into a livable system."

The new formula takes into account the energy contained in each component of a calorie, such as protein, fat or fiber, as well as how much effort the body must exert to process them and how satisfied one feels after eating.

"The importance of creating a calorie deficit has not changed. But the nuances of where that calorie is coming from has an impact," Kovach added.

"This is an opportunity to try something new, on the cutting edge of weight management science," she said. "We wouldn't advocate this is we weren't sure it's the right thing to do."

Weight Watchers was founded in 1963 by Brooklyn native Jean Nidetch. It now operates in 30 countries and holds approximately 50,000 meetings each week, in which members receive support and learn about weight management.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., Editing by Patricia Reaney)