Weight Watchers has long assigned a point system to foods for dieters.
The idea is to encourage people to stay away from less healthy foods, like a slice of cake, by making those items account for more of a person’s daily food-intake total. Foods that are perfectly healthy to eat in abundance, on the other hand, get a low point value.
According to the the weight-loss giant’s rubric, some vegetables have always counted for zero points. But now Weight Watchers says dieters need not count points anymore when it comes to many other fruits, veggies, and nutrient-rich proteins. In December, Weight Watchers released an updated list of more than 200 zero-point foodsthat followers of the diet plan can eat in unlimited quantities.
That idea might seem counterintuitive, since many people assume that letting dieters eat as much as they want of certain foods could lead to overeating.
“These foods form the basis of a healthy eating pattern,”Gary Foster, Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer and an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, told Business Insider. The list of zero-points itemseven includes things like eggs and fish.
“Very few people come to Weight Watchers because they’ve had a problem overdoing it on salmon, legumes, beans, and chicken,” Foster said.
In other words, people just don’t tend to binge on satiating, healthful foods. And Weight Watchers doesn’t want any feelings of guilt to be associated with eating an extra dose of salad or another bite of fish.
The no-points-list includes apples, mushroom caps, scallions, and tangerines. Here are some of the most surprising entries on it, and the nutrition research that led them to be included.
Whole eggs, including the cholesterol-heavy yokes. Unsplash/Joseph Gonzalez
Recent research has shown that for most healthy adults, eggs don’t have a huge effect on blood cholesterol levels. And if you like your breakfast eggs topped with a little red salsa, go wild. That’s a points-free food now too.
Many kinds of beans, including black, butter, navy, white, and fat-free refried beans cookbookman17/Flickr
Beans and legumes are a categorically low-fat, high-protein source of fuel that give you lots of potassium, magnesium and filling fiber. If you’re not a bean lover, lentils are point-free too.
Caviar and shellfish Tom Oliver
If your wallet can handle it, you can have as much caviar as you like. In fact, most fish and shellfish — like crab and lobster — are fine to eat with abandon.
According to Weight Watchers, people just don’t tend to overeat seafood, so it’s simply not worth measuring out into gram-specific servings. They’d rather have clients eat these types of proteins until they feel satisfied, then stop.