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Dietitians Weigh-In-On the Weight Watchers Diet

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
June 24, 2023
December 19, 2023

Are you considering the Weight Watchers diet for weight loss? As a dietitian and diabetes specialist, I've seen many patients try this popular program. Here's what you need to know about the pros and cons of Weight Watchers.

Pros:

  • Encourages balanced meals and portion control
  • Flexible and customizable
  • Offers support and accountability through meetings and online resources

Cons:

  • Requires tracking points or calories, which can be time-consuming
  • The diet heavily limits you to foods and products in the weight-watchers product line, which gets expensive.
  • Some mental health issues may arise from the point system: Some healthy foods are assigned high point values, leading to restrictions or guilt
  • The diet does not prioritize nutrient-dense foods or address individual needs, but focuses mainly on calories. Your diet then may lack key vitamins or minerals, protein, healthy fats, or fiber.
  • The diet doesn’t teach you how to eat, so if you stop the diet, you are likely to gain the weight back over time as your portion sizes return to typical levels.

What Diet To Try Instead

Instead of relying on a restrictive diet, follow a lifestyle approach like the Mediterranean, DASH, or MIND diet.

These diets prioritize whole foods, healthy fats, and a variety of nutrients. They also offer flexibility and can be personalized to individual needs, but since they use natural foods instead of food products, they will be much less expensive. Notably, while following one of these diets instead of weight watchers is ideal, balancing your meals using the portioned plate method is also important. Because, what’s a healthy diet without some sense of balance and portion control?

Takeaways

While Weight Watchers may work for some people, there are other evidence-based diets that are less expensive, more natural, and prioritize overall health and well-being. As always, consult with a registered dietitian to determine the best plan for you.

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