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Weight Watchers Flex Points

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

In November 2017 Weight Watchers launched a new diet, WW Flex, which builds on its previous SmartPoints system.

The company says the diet plan is its most flexible and liveable programme ever. It claims it makes deciding what to eat easy, and guides people towards a healthier way of eating.

How it works

The idea behind WW Flex is to build your meals around more than 200 healthy, 'zero point' foods. You then use an allocated allowance of SmartPoints (minimum 23) so you can add variety to your diet, ensure you are getting enough nutrients, and avoid boredom.

You don't have to keep track of 'zero point' foods only SmartPoints foods.

You pay a monthly subscription fee and can choose to attend meetings, follow the diet online, or use a combination of both, supported by social media forums, and apps.

The new plan, which also encourages exercise, was tested in the UK, Germany, and the US.

In a 6 month study on 152 people at the University of North Carolina, funded by Weight Watchers, participants had an average weight loss of 7.9% and 93.6% said they felt healthier.

What you can eat

No food or drink is forbidden when you follow this plan.

The number of 'zero point' foods has increased compared with previous WW diets, and now includes lean proteins like fresh fish, eggs, skinless chicken breast, and beans, which means more foods can be eaten without measuring or tracking.

Away from 'zero point' foods, Weight Watchers assigns other foods a SmartPoints value and those following the plan are allocated an individual daily SmartPoints allowance based on their body and goals. The minimum SmartPoints daily allowance is 23, but depends on age, sex, weight, height, and activity.

Nutritious foods that fill you up have fewer points than junk foods with empty calories. The eating plan factors sugar, fat, and protein, into its points calculations to steer you toward fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and away from stuff that's high in sugar and saturated fat.

SmartPoints values are given for things such as healthy oils, grains, and dried fruit.

Weight Watchers recommends people following Flex include ½ pint of skimmed milk across the day (4 SmartPoints) and between 6-8 glasses of fluids which can include tea, coffee, milk, low sugar/no sugar squashes, diet drinks, and water.

Under this new diet you can save up to a maximum of 4 unused SmartPoints per day to rollover and give you greater flexibility later in the week when you can use them for a special event.

Vegetarians and vegans are well served as many non-animal products are 0 SmartPoints, including all varieties of beans, lentils, corn, tofu, and soy yoghurt.

Sample meal plan

With Weight Watchers Flex there are more than 1,000 recipes and meals available.

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