Dieters can now eat as much fruit as they'd like on the Weight Watchers program because there are no more "points" associated with the food group.
The famous Weight Watchers points system assigns a point value to foods, then lets dieters choose their meals as long as they do not exceed the number of daily allotted points. For the most part, higher numbers are assigned to more calorically dense foods, but in some cases foods have a high points value regardless of their caloric value. Those foods are usually snack foods and carbohydrate-based foods, encouraging dieters to move away from them in favor of lean protein.
The noticeable omissions from the points list are fruits and vegetables, a policy designed to promote these low-cal, vitamin-rich foods for dieters. But, as Judith J. Wurtman notes in a recent Huffington Post article, “there are some puzzling aspects to removing points from fruits when some of these foods have the same number of calories as foods with points.” A large banana, she points out, has the same number of calories as a serving of oatmeal but has a totally different point value in the Weight Watchers system. Banana consumption is unlimited, while oatmeal will use up the limited number of points in just two or three servings.
Wurtman fears that some dieters may begin using fruit as an excuse to revert back to the mindless snacking habits that lead them to obesity in the first place. Though fruit is certainly healthier than the potato chips they used to nibble on, the simple fact remains that weight loss only occurs when calories consumed are less than calories burned, and eating too much fruit may disrupt that delicate balance.
Wurtman is also concerned that dieters may eat excessive amounts of fruit when they're craving something sweet, another bad habit that could derail their weight loss. Studies have shown clearly that craving is linked to a decrease in the brain chemical serotonin, making people feel cravings in the afternoon or mid-evening that are alleviated by a carbohydrate snack.
Unfortunately for the fruit-consuming dieter, the sugar in fruit – fructose – is the only carbohydrate that does not promote the serotonin synthesis required to satisfy the serotonin-generated cravings, no matter how much fruit is consumed.
It looks as though the new Weight Watchers points system has good intentions, but it may be a double-edged sword. The old adage still applies: All things in moderation.
For more information on this diet program and their points system you can read our Weight Watchers review.