In unveiling a plate-shaped symbol as the new nutrition icon for the nation, the United States Department of Agriculture has simplified nutrition advice and made it easier to follow, according to experts at Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW).
The updated icon guides Americans to make half their plate fruit and vegetables—a message that Weight Watchers has already embraced with its PointsPlus program, launched in 2010. The new plate icon also underscores the need for a healthful, balanced diet made up of foods with a high nutrient density and/or a low energy density—the kind of approach that is proven to help with weight management.
“The new nutrition icon, like the PointsPlus program, shows Americans how to fill their plates with the kinds of foods that are delicious to eat and can help you feel fuller,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, Chief Scientific Officer, Weight Watchers International. “Following this approach can help more people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.”
Like the new Dietary Guidelines, the PointsPlus program from Weight Watchers is based on the latest nutritional science. The PointsPlus program promotes a healthy lifestyle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. It does the work and calculations needed for the desired balance of calories in/calories out and encourages eating nutrient-dense foods.“The Dietary Guidelines tell us what we should be doing, but not necessarily how to do it,” said Miller-Kovach. “What is exciting is that the new plate icon reinforces what our easy-to-follow PointsPlus program puts into action. The PointsPlus program is a simple answer for people who want to achieve a healthy weight and live a healthier life.” Specifically, the PointsPlus program helps people adopt a healthy lifestyle that is highly consistent with the Dietary Guidelines by promoting and teaching our members and subscribers:
- Reasonable Weight Loss/Maintenance: The PointsPlus system is a simple counting method that produces weight loss at the recommended rate while guiding people to food choices that are healthy and filling. It makes the smart choice the easy and preferred choice.
- Nutrient-Dense Best Bets: Power Foods, an important element of the PointsPlus program, provide an easy way to identify the best food choices among similar foods; for example, those foods with higher eating satisfaction, lower sugar, lower sodium, healthier fat and more fiber than similar foods – key nutrients highlighted in the Dietary Guidelines.
- Foods to Increase: As do the new Guidelines, the PointsPlus program emphasizes whole grains, a variety of healthful proteins, and vegetables and fruits – nutrient-rich foods too often in short supply in Americans’ diets. In fact, all fruit and most vegetables now have zero PointsPlus values.
- Behavior Change: For the first time, the government emphasizes that environment and behavior modification are key to making the lifestyle changes – a reality in line with the fundamentals of the Weight Watchers approach, that weight loss is built on healthy eating, physical activity, behavior modification and a supportive environment.