(12/6 – Details on SmartPoints and Beyond the Scale from my meeting on 12/6 and from the program materials.)
In one of my posts, I indicated that it appeared to me that Weight Watchers’ new SmartPoints were based upon calories, protein, saturated fat and sugar. This is because the new calculator (gotten to by setting my computer date to my weigh in date after 12/6) seems to only use those values to calculate the SmartPoints. In other words, while you could enter the grams of fat, carbs, and fiber, those amounts did not change the SmartPoints. You could just put in zero. At the time, I made that post I cautioned that I wasn’t sure if that was how the calculator was going to actually work for all foods. The new program is not live and I was basing this on a calculator for a program not yet publicly implemented.
It appears, though, that this is actually how it works. There is now more information about the program available on the Weight Watchers Australia site. The Australian site talks about SmartPoints and how they are calculated. Specifically it says:
SmartPointsTM value is based on kilojoules, protein, saturated fat and sugar.
That is very consistent with what I was seeing in the calculator. Those were the only factors that mattered in calculating the SmartPoints. Food that is very high in sugar sometimes had up to double the SmartPoints as the food had when using PointsPlus. On the other hand, lean protein (such as a chicken or turkey breast or lean fish) had a lower SmartPoints value than it had using PointsPlus.
Some members had been concerned about having to fill in 7 different numbers to come up with the SmartPoints value. The Australian Weight Watchers information does seem to support the idea that only 4 of those numbers really matter: calories, protein, saturated fat and sugar. And, part of what that means is that WW is no longer treating healthy fats as being worse for you than any carbs. Yes, WW is giving an advantage to lean protein, but I think that is warranted. I’ve been working on improving my body composition so that I can increase muscle and lose fat. And, eating enough protein is important to that. So, putting protein first as the macro of choice seems reasonable. And, I like that Weight Watchers is focusing on limiting sugar and saturated fat, rather than simply saying to limit all fats or all carbs. At the same time, you can still choose to eat some of those foods, but the price for doing so will be higher.