Weight Watchers Food Points: What Do They Add Up To?

Published: 21st April 2009
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Weight Watchers has been around since 1978. The program has had-and continues to have-huge success helping millions of people overcome obesity through dieting. The program's most recent development of a more flexible weight loss plan based on "food points" has been, by far, the most popular addition to the Weight Watchers menu-making the experience easier and scientific.

The foundation of the plan is that every conceivable food and drink item that you could possibly want is designated a point value within their patented formula. Using your gender, age, current weight, and your activity level, you calculate the number of allowable points that you can have in a day, which is usually between 18 and 44 points.

While the points formula is considered proprietary, some use the simple calculation of (Calories + (Fat x 4) - (Fiber x 10)) / 50. But there's no need to whip out your calculator and a notepad every time you want to enjoy a meal.

Fans of the point system have made printable weight loss journals along with simple software that can help you determine the point value of the food(s) you're about to gobble up.

And get this: The Weight Watchers website has a special section for brand-name fast food meals-talk about erasing excuses.

We tend to be creatures of habit, so understand that you'll eventually get to the point where you've memorized the value of your favorite foods, both for your diet, and when you want to cheat a bit, as well.

The great thing about the points system is that there are no "bad" foods. Anything you could possibly think of eating is included on Weight Watcher's comprehensive list, including delicious ingredients like butter, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. It's up to you to decide what to have, and whether your day's food intake can stay within the given point range for your lofty diet goals.

In order to make the Weight Watchers food points system work for your diet, there are some things to keep in mind. (We wouldn't want the food points don't add up to diet disaster.)


Normally, diets prohibit alcohol because of the sugars. But, if you're entertaining or planning on attending a party or reception, you're going to want to enjoy yourself.

With the points list, you can decide to cut back during the day and enjoy the drinks at night, as long as you stay within your point range. You just have to remember to cut back.


The Weight Watchers weight loss program includes not only the food you might eat, but the portion size as well, which is super important to look at.

For example, cheese tortellini is only three points for 10 of them. If you want a larger portion of 20, that's six points. Add some delicious homemade Bolognese sauce on top, and that's another 6 points added to the total.

By having the portion you want, it's a total of 12 points, which much more different than just eating the 10 tortellini. And again, as long as you can gauge how much you might be eating later in the day, you can make up for it beforehand (instead of after).


They should be taken into account, too. A chicken breast with no skin is only three points. But a single serving of breadcrumbs is a point. A teaspoon of vegetable oil is a point. And barbeque sauce is 0 points. You can get creative with your dishes and keep those points down.

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