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Healthy food choices play a role in weight loss.
Obesity is a major health concern. Each year, millions of Americans enroll in weight-loss programs to shed unwanted pounds. Weight Watchers is one such program, and it has been operating since the early 1960s. Like most programs, you lose weight by creating a calorie deficit. Essentially, you reduce your daily calories so you take in less than your body needs to maintain its current weight. Weight Watchers promotes what it calls "power foods" as a staple of the plan.
How it Works
Central to the Weight Watchers program is a system that assigns a point value to foods and beverages. You shop for your own food on the program, and aim to remain within your daily individualized PointsPlus goal. The system assigns fewer points to healthier, more fulfilling foods and more points to less nutritious, less fulfilling items. Because nutrient-dense foods have a lower points value, you can eat more of them. This way, the program promotes making healthier, more satisfying food choices.
How They're Defined
Weight Watchers determines power foods based on their nutrient and energy-density and then groups them together by category. The program does not consider foods with a high-energy density combined with a low nutrient density to be power foods. For example, cookies don't make it onto the power foods list in any category. The program labels the healthiest, most fulfilling foods as power foods. Foods at the top of the list are the lowest in calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar for a specific food category.
Why Power Foods Matter
Focusing on power foods allows you to eat more with the points you have each day. In addition, choosing more power foods promotes weight loss because they're lower in calories, sugar and fat. For example, most fruits and vegetables are power foods. The program assigns most fruits and vegetables a PointsPlus value of zero. This means you can eat as much of these as you like without using any of your points.
What's on the List
The power food list contains more than 200 foods, so you have lots of options. Dried fruit and fruit juices don't make the list. Whole-grain power foods include whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, millet, barley and bulgur. Foods such as plantains, French fries and sweet pickles fail to make the list, but most vegetables do. The lean meat category is packed with various options, including, but not limited to, lean ground beef, bison and buffalo, as well as fish, lamb, chicken breast and pork. The list also includes non-fat dairy foods.