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Weight Watchers SmartPoints

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

At the end of 2015 Weight Watchers updated its diet plan from ProPoints to SmartPoints.

The plan claims to offer a more holistic lifestyle approach, encouraging fitness, healthy eating and a positive outlook.

Smart Points are intended to get you to eat more filling foods and fewer empty calories.

How it works

The diet, the company would prefer you use the term 'healthy eating plan', is designed to help you lose weight and to make healthy choices simple, by nudging you towards food and drink which is lower in sugar and saturated fat, and higher in lean protein.

This means many lean proteins cost fewer SmartPoints than the previous ProPoints system, so you can have more of them, while foods high in sugar or saturated fat will be higher in SmartPoints than you were used to on ProPoints.

Under the new system you can choose to count SmartPoints, or follow a 'No Count' approach.

With SmartPoints, on paying to join Weight Watchers, you're given a personalised daily allowance which takes into account your weight, height, gender and age. You're also given a weekly allowance which you can use on bigger portions or on going out.

Every food is assigned its own SmartPoints number value based on four components: calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. Foods that are higher in sugar and/or saturated fat are higher in SmartPoints. Foods that are rich in lean protein are lower in SmartPoints so you're steered towards healthier choices.  

With the 'No Count' approach you focus on eating from a list of healthy foods from every food group, and as long as you stick to these foods you don't have to weigh, measure or count them.

The key to this diet is to be able to listen to your body's hunger signals and to eat until you're comfortably full.

As ever, you can choose to attend meetings in your area, follow the diet online, or use a combination of both, supported by social media forums, apps and experts who are on hand 24 hours a day.

you can eat

If you count SmartPoints, you eat anything you like – nothing is off the menu – it's all about balance.

However, you should be having a varied and healthy diet consisting of dairy products, lean proteins and wholegrain foods. Most fruits and vegetables are zero SmartPoints, so you'll be more likely to make smarter snacking choices – and stick to your 5-a-day. Plus, many fluids, like water, plain tea and black coffee are also zero SmartPoints.

You'll have access to hundreds of recipes, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

For good health it's recommended that you include ½ pint of skimmed milk every day (4 SmartPoints values). This can be used in tea or coffee, with cereal, or purely as a drink.

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