Weight Watchers Adds Proteins to Its List of Zero Points Foods

Photo: Stocksy/Cameron Whitman
Today, Weight Watchers is revamping its Points system in order to make it even easier for the million-plus people on its nutrition plans worldwide to choose healthy foods over sugary, processed ones. With the launch of Freestyle, the first program innovation Weight Watchers has made since its Beyond the Scale initiative in 2015, the company adds new categories of foods to its Zero Points list, which previously only included fruits and vegetables. (Meaning, you could nosh on carrots and clementines to your heart's content without racking up Points.)

This marks another step in the brand's wellness evolution as it sheds calorie-counting for a more modern, holistic approach to overall health. Two years ago, the company took a major step in this direction by launching Beyond the Scale, which introduced fitness incentives and a mind-body connection component to its healthy eating program.

Now, with WW Freestyle, eggs, corn, all seafood, skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey breast, non-fat plain yogurt, beans, lentils, and tofu all make the list of 200 no-Points ingredients. So that Paleo egg scramble with veggies and chicken you made for breakfast? Completely Points-free. 

With the launch of WW Freestyle, the company's list of zero Points foods, which previously only included fruits and vegetables, now features 200 ingredients.

Oprah Winfrey—who purchased 10 percent of the company and joined its board of directors in 2015—is super down with the new system. "When I first heard about it, I thought it was too good to be true—the fish, beans, and corn in my favorite fish tacos are now zero Points," she says in a press release. She has a point: All three foods are chock-full of nutritional value and can be assets when planning your week of healthy meal prep. (It goes without saying that eating too much of anything, even healthy stuff, isn't great for wellbeing or weight loss. But Weight Watchers' researchers found that people didn't overeat nutritious foods, even when given the unlimited option.)

After a six-month clinical trial, a group of participants on the new program experienced an average weight loss of 7.9 percent. "The results are the best we've seen for a Weight Watchers program in a clinical trial," says Gary Foster, Chief Scientific Officer for Weight Watchers. Additionally, members reported a decrease in hunger and food cravings, which makes sense when you consider how much more long-term filling lentils, beans, and veggies are than, say, a bowl of mac and cheese.

The over-arching goal of WW Freestyle is to build up that ethos of healthy eating rather than restricted eating, which is an evolution not just for the brand, but for Americans.

This naked taco recipe may not come from Oprah, but most of its ingredients are zero Points. And bookmark this page before heading to the grocery store to stock up on Points-free greens.

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