What is a Point?


     I’m a calorie counter. I lose weight by eating nutritious combinations of  foods that are full of vitamins and minerals, low in empty carbs and fat, and by eating under 1600 calories a day, a number mathematically chosen based on my body size and the time frame in which I wish to lose a the additional weight.

     I have several friends who are Weight Watcher’s members and who count “points” instead of calories. These ladies and gents seem to be losing weight quite successfully which brought me to the question, “What is a point and why does it work?”

     Yesterday while checking nutritional values for a recipe I found that the current  system for Weight Watchers calculates points using protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber content of foods. There are exceptions to the equations with low-calorie vitamin rich fruits and veggies mostly being calculated at 0 points. Points are basically a way of calculating the “value” of a food. Not all calories are created equal. A 1000 calorie piece of cheese cake will not give you the nutrition of a 1000 calorie balanced meal of meat, grains, and veggies. It also won’t be as filling or affect the blood sugar the same way. The points system is designed to help folks understand that some foods are better choices than others and I applaud Weight Watcher’s for this.

The mathmatical formula for calculating points.

     Ideally we would all try to educate ourselves about our bodies and our foods. We would take into account carbs, calories, fat, as well as vitamins and mineral contents in chosing the foods to fill our plates with. Since that is not the current trend, understanding “points” can help people head in the right direction by simplifying how to pick a “good” food as opposed to food that would be less filling and nutritious.

     If you are a points counter, by the old or new system, here is a site that will allow you to calculate points rather quickly and easily – Points Calculator. Happy counting to you.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 09:59:35

    Thanks for clearing this up for me! I’ve always been curious how that point system worked.


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