Weight Watchers Point Plus

Weight Watchers introduces Points Plus. As of 01/2011, they have changed to the new plus system.

So what is it and what does it mean for new and existing members?

If you are like hundreds of other members trying to lose weight, you have transitioned  to the new and improved points system.

Perhaps you are a new member and want to reach your weight loss goals but need to understand the system a bit better.

So you may be wondering what it's all about, how it's calculated and why it's a better way of assigning foods a points value.

This page will give you an overview of some of the major changes in the program and how points are calculated for the foods you eat.

Knowing and understanding the program will help you lose weight and reach your goals. You can read all about WW Points Plus by scrolling down the page.

This article is broken down into a few pages. This first page gives you the overview. The next pages go into more detail on the food points calculation and the allowances.

You can use the links below to read just portions of the plan. If you want to read the entire article, use the next/previous buttons on each page.

How It's Calculated
Points Allowance

Weight Watchers Points Changes-Overview

Before diving into how the new points plus calculation works, let's review some of the changes.

Calories are not Created Equal

One of the major changes for the new points calculation is calories - or lack of calories in the calculation.

The prior method put a heavy emphasis on calories in determining the final points value for a food item.

Basically, on the old method a small bag of pretzels had the same points value as an apple.

The problem was that there was no incentive to select the healthier and more nutritious apple over the bag of pretzels.

With the new points plus method, calories are no longer in the calculation.

Instead, other nutritional values, such as carbs and protein, are now considered in addition to fat and fiber. Calories are not used at all.

Freebies On Points Plus

With the old method, there were several food items that ended up calculating to a zero points value. However, some fruits and veggies still had a points value to them based on the old formula.

apple pyramidNow with the new points plus system, most veggies and fruits are zero points - or freebies.

Fruits, while on the old method usually calculated to a points value, on the new most of these are zero. I say most because there are exceptions.

Fresh fruits are all zero points. In addition, frozen or canned fruits are also zero provided there are no additives. This means no added sugar.

It must use only the fruits own juice to be considered a freebie. If you are not sure, then check with the Weight Watchers tools or your leader.

If you are still unsure, always error on the conservative side and calculate the points as if it were not a freebie.

While most veggies are zero points, there are a few that are not. Items like potatoes, lentils and beans, while in the veggie category, are not freebies.

veggiesOther vegetables that have a points plus value include parsnips, chick peas, and corn just to name a few. Check with the Weight Watchers etools or your leader if you are unsure if a veggie is zero points or not.

So why are many fruits and veggies now zero points on the new system? Well this is one area of concern and confusion for many. While I use the points plus system, I am not claiming to be an expert here. But I will attempt to explain why these items are totally free on the new method.


Use this free online points plus calculator to find the values for your recipes.
First, the zero points value does not count as zero in all cases. If you use fruits or vegetables in a recipe, say peppers in your sauce or grapes in a fruit salad, then you need to include these values into the overall points calculation for the recipe.

The reason for this is you need to count the overall nutritional value for the full recipe. Fruits and veggies will add protein and fibers (and other nutrients) into the totals.

Whew! not sure I explained that very clearly. Here's some comments on this subject from Weight Watchers forums that I found that may explain it better.

"It has always been our policy at Weight Watchers to incorporate the nutrients of vegetables (and now fruit) into recipes. Why? A few reasons.

1) Vegetables and fruit add fiber and other nutrients, and without including them it can impact the Points value.

2) Our recipes are often featured in articles and magazines nationally and as a result we need to disclose this info to ensure the appropriate calories and nutrient content are displayed if evaluated by organizations outside of Weight Watchers.

3) Since many non-Weight Watchers recipes include nutritional information these days, we want our calculations to match those you may do for recipes you find in other places. We don’t want to unfairly advantage our own recipes.

4) Once you start combining vegetables and fruits with other foods, you change the experience of eating them. Few people “pig out” on carrots but might on carrot cake. To ignore them in recipes would place our member at risk for abuse potential.

Secondly, another reason behind the freebies for fruits and veggies has to do with their nutrient composition as compared to other foods that may have the same calorie count.

These types of foods are higher in fiber than say a piece of bread. Your body works harder to process foods higher in protein or fibers than it does foods higher in carbs.

This means that you are burning away those calories faster. On the other hand, a piece of bread is higher in carbohydrates and fat, and your body does not work as hard to process these types of calories.

That means they are more likely to be stored - and these stored calories can turn into fat.

Lastly, it is assumed that we will be less likely to "pig out" on veggies and fruits versus chips and cookies.

So even though the fruits and veggies have calories, etc., we probably won't eat more in a day than our body can process efficiently so that the calories are not stored as fat.

If you are not following the points plus plan, then check out how to calculate the original points values.

Additional Articles

Weight Watchers Points Plus Restaurant List
Eat out at your favorite restaurant knowing the points plus values for the menu items you order.

Weight Loss Workouts
Add exercise to your diet plan to help you lose the weight. Use these example workouts to get you started now.

Portion Sizes
Control your portion sizes in order to reach your weight loss goals.