My introduction to the world of calorie counting was through Weight Watchers a few years ago. I did the online program (not the meetings), which is basically an enormous database of food that you log into your personal calorie counter for the day. Each food is assigned a point value (to make it easier, I guess), and you're allotted a certain amount of points each day, with some extra each week for a little wiggle room.
I like the act of logging what I eat into a calorie counter (which is why I like/use the free Lose It! app on my iPhone now). But WW was a good choice for me when I first started. The point system is simple to use. And the database of foods is really big. Their website is also really informative and has tons of features on it, ie, new articles everyday about healthy living, an online community with message boards, tons of recipes, biographies on success stories, etc. It's really great, actually.
Some drawbacks on the whole program, in my opinion:
1. Emphasis on points vs. healthy choices. So, a banana for example, is two points. That's a lot of points (considering I was eating about 23/day). A 100 calorie pack of processed snack cakes is one point. There was nothing really encouraging you to eat the banana over the snack pack.
2. To calculate the points of something, you entered calories, total fat, and fiber. Protein/sugar/cholesterol/sodium - nothing else mattered in the point equation. This made something like an avocado essentially off limits, while chips were fine in moderation.
3. It was a little expensive - but I guess this isn't a huge negative, since the program really is offering you a lot.
BUT THEN - on Monday of this week, Weight Watchers launched a new program. A program that emphasizes healthy choices. It uses a lot of factors to determine point values (not just the cal/fat/fiber). People are allotted more points per day AND more points for their wiggle room. And perhaps the most incredible thing, in my opinion: all fruit and just about every veggie has a point value of ZERO!
I mean, this is so awesome to me, it makes me want to go back to the program. I eat a lot of fruit and veggies. But that also leads me to this question: how can fruit have zero points? Because there are calories in fruit - even though it's healthy - how can those calories not count in creating your daily calorie deficit? On a given day, I'll eat usually 4-5 servings of fruit. Using the data from Lose It!, this equals 281-371 calories per day. Per week, that's 2597 calories. How can those not matter? And if they don't matter, what's stopping someone from eating 10 servings of fruit/day?
Does anyone do Weight Watchers (or know someone who does) that could answer this question for me? Could it be something about the way our bodies process fruit/veggies? Is there a point where fruit starts to have points (like, after eating three servings, or something)? I'm so curious. And does this mean I don't need to log fruit/veggie into my Lose It! app??