Which diet is worth it

Weight Watchers Diet

The company Weight Watchers ("weight watchers") was founded in 1963 by the American Jean Nidetch and supports overweight people in losing weight. Nidetch himself had found that losing weight in a group with friends was much easier than alone. From this she developed the central element of the Weight Watchers concept, the weekly group meetings. These serve the exchange and mutual motivation of those affected. In the meantime, however, the group meetings are no longer a prerequisite for participating in the Weight Watchers program. The diet can just as easily be used on its own and online.

The Weight Watchers concept is based on counting points, so-called “SmartPoints”. In addition, each individual food is given a point value. With this principle, a weight loss of about one kilogram per week should be made possible.

The Weight Watchers method is in principle suitable for healthy overweight people. The concept is not recommended for pregnant women, people with existing eating disorders or who are pathologically overweight, or for children. The company is constantly offering participants new ideas to make it easier to lose weight.

The Weight Watchers Diet

The Weight Watchers concept is based on one Point system. The participants count so-called "SmartPoints", Formerly known as" Points "or" ProPoints ". The point system works as follows: Every food has a fixed point value, which is calculated from the energy it contains and the content of proteins, sugar and saturated fatty acids. For example, protein-rich foods have few points. Foods that are high in sugar and / or saturated fat, on the other hand, have many points.

An important part of the program is that all food and beverages consumed are logged with the corresponding “SmartPoints”. This should make it easier for the participants to identify nutritionally beneficial foods. For this purpose, a coach individually determines how many “SmartPoints” may be used for weight loss per day on the basis of body weight, height, gender and age. This point system is regularly adapted to the individual situation.

This results in a point balance for each day, to which there is an additional weekly extra, for example for celebrations or visits to restaurants. This weekly extra can be redeemed at any time for the “SmartPoints” in the respective week, but cannot be transferred to the next week. The participants can put together their own menu. There are no prohibitions as long as the personal point budget is not exceeded in the respective week.

Weight Watchers offers its participants a wide range of measures designed to support weight loss. These include, for example, a meal coach, a collection of around 8,000 recipes, an app, the online program and points values ​​for around 70,000 foods. Ready-made meals such as salads, sauces, snacks and sweets from the Weight Watchers own brand are also available. A barcode scanner has also recently become available with which the points of individual foods can be determined in the supermarket. This should improve the eating behavior of the participants and create a feeling for nutritionally valuable foods.

In addition to nutrition, the area also plays a role Sports an important role. The movement is integrated into everyday life and the participants can use so-called "ActivPoints" collect. These can be synchronized with the app or the online program via activity trackers. The tracker records every step and then calculates it against the individual fitness goals. Videos with fitness tips and workouts are intended to help participants achieve their desired weight.

The most famous element of the Weight Watchers program are the weekly group meetings. The participants discuss and analyze their diet and exercise behavior together with a coach. The coach is usually a former participant in the program and also informs those willing to lose weight about nutritional news. In addition, each participant can receive support through individual coaching, an app for recipes and shopping lists.

Weight loss according to the Weight Watchers concept takes place in small steps. The goal is to lose a maximum of one kilogram per week. In order to maintain a comfortable weight, the participants should learn to eat more consciously. Follow-up care in the group can help to keep the desired weight permanently.

The Weight Watchers Diet an overview of the scientific study

The Weight Watchers program enables overweight and moderately obese people to achieve a mean weight reduction of 3.0 to 4.5 kg over a period of 12 months (Dansinger et al. 2005, Heshka et al. 2003).

In a study on 772 patients with an average BMI of 31.4 kg / m2, the Weight Watchers program was compared over a period of 12 months with a defined standard medical treatment. Weight loss under the commercial program was about twice as high as under standard general practitioner care (5.1 vs. 2.3 kg). Adverse side effects from the Weight Watchers program were not observed despite the presence of comorbidities (Jebb et al. 2011).

An English human study compared the effectiveness of various weight loss programs in 740 overweight or obese people. For this purpose, the weight loss was first examined after 12 weeks and then after a year. Although all programs resulted in significant weight loss, the weight loss on the Weight Watchers diet was particularly large after one year and was 2.5 kg more than the other programs (Jolly et al. 2011).

In a recent human study, the authors came to the conclusion that overweight participants in the Weight Watchers online concept had lost at least 5% more body weight after both three and 12 months than the participants in the control group who only received an online newsletter. The use of additionally offered activity trackers, on the other hand, did not affect the physical activity of the 279 people examined with a BMI of 27 to 40 kg / m2 (Thomas et al. 2017).

Conclusion and nutritional evaluation

From a nutritional point of view, there is nothing wrong with the Weight Watchers diet. Primarily, foods rich in fiber and protein are consumed, which have a low energy density and are good for satiating. At the same time, the meals have a reduced fat content. The concept is based on a mixed diet, so that the nutrient supply is also secured in the long term. The Weight Watchers concept can therefore also be used in the longer term.

Those who want to lose weight who need a certain kind of control and do not want to lose weight on their own will find like-minded people at Weight Watchers who can exchange ideas and motivate one another.

Source: German Nutrition Society: Brigitte Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, I am losing weight - an overview. DGEinfo (6/2018) 90-95