This is the weekend when many of us are writing down our New Year’s resolutions. For quite a couple of of us, I would even claim that these entail improving our well being, our nutrition, our fitness level and-yes-our body. In other words, this might be the ideal time to take a appear at the brand new Weight Watchers program.
Before you roll your eyes at the thought of their simplistic model of a diet based strictly on calorie-count, please take a moment to think about this: as of last November 29, the leading dieting institution has been putting into action a reformed “points” system (PointsPlus™) born of the simple-yet vastly ignored-fact that all calories are not produced equal. As a result, fresh fruits and vegetables, wealthy in nutrients and satiety-factor, count for zero points while processed foods, heavy in empty calories, weigh considerably more than they did in the original system launched in 1997. Weight Watchers still grants a few points to starchy vegetables because of their apparent energy density, such as legumes, sweet potatoes and corn. It also warns its members to not mistreatment the new model as a license to gorge on fruits mindlessly. (The extra virtues of raw food have been omitted from the equation so far, but I digress.)
The impact of this quiet revolution cannot be overstated.
“We are changing the way Americans view calories and choose their food,” said David Kirchhoff, president and CEO of Weight Watchers International, Inc. last November. “Our new PointsPlus program will not only deliver weight loss success, it'll help transform America’s consuming habits and also the way we make our food options.”
We’re talking 750,000 members within the United States alone, from all walks of life and persuasions, who're now learning to distinguish between the merits of fresh produce and processed food, day in day out. For their benefit and, 1 speculates, the benefit of their families.
Weight Watchers has yet to announce when they will roll out the new program abroad.
Now, I can’t shake a couple of nagging questions off my thoughts: when will Weight Watchers integrate such factors as chemicals, hormones and genetically changed organisms in its points system? How about point “credits” for organic produce and hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and dairy? If Weight Watchers really aims at helping people lose weight while learning “how to incorporate healthier habits into their life,” as its press release stated, it may want to consider taking that additional step.
I comprehend such a stance would smack of elitism in the eyes of many, given the cost premium attached to such foods as mentioned above. But Weight Watchers is already half-way there if you consider that 1 head of romaine is typically double the cost of a fast-food hamburger. I definitely hope that the business contributes to opening the gates of the mainstream marketplace to what are still considered in most instances niche-market goods. Let’s hope it does so before we’re collectively hit by the sudden realization that what’s really at stake is the resilience of our food chain. And our own. Laetitia Mailhes is really a French journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she recently decided to focus on what really matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Her blog, The Green Plate Blog, released final summer time.
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