UnNews:Weight Watchers reforms point system

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4 December 2010

One person who failed, and one who succeeded, at accumulating Weight Watchers "points." I don't fancy yours much.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Weight Watchers diet program, for the first time in 13 years, is revising its "point" system, saying more is now known about "science."

High point values are assigned to unhealthy foods to guide diet choices, as dieters try to hold down their points. Some neurotics on the Weight Watchers system spend so much time computing points that they do not eat at all.

“The main reason for the change,” said Karen Miller Kovachs of Weight Watchers, “is that we know more now than we did 13 years ago."

Ms. Kovachs denied that politics played a role in the reform, although the Food Safety Act sneaking its way through Congress does require Weight Watchers to get a federal license and shut down on any potential food safety problem. And indeed, points under the new system have changed in curious ways. Foods such as arugula lettuce are rewarded by being worth 0 points; also other of President Obama's favorites, such as grits, ribs, and chitlins.

And, also for the first time, different people will score different points for eating the same foods. This was suggested by Democrats, who want the tax cuts to be extended but only for some Americans. For example, say you are planning legislative strategy at the White House and an aide sends out for a bag of cheeseburgers, that is 0 points. If you are munching a Quarter-Pounder with cheese during, say, a Tea Party protest: 500 points.

Keri Gans, a registered dietitian, said the change was “overdue.”

“It used to be you could game the system, scoring points by eating low-calorie foods even though they weren't good for you.” As for gaming the system, Ms. Gans (pictured above) is on week number 98 of her 99-week unemployment compensation. There are nutrition jobs in the area, but she says that bigoted employers look askance at a dietitian who weighs 650 pounds.

Obamacare centralizes the nation's medical information, and Rush Limbaugh has complained that his body-mass index (BMI) would be moved to Washington, a process that would take four semi-trailers. Health secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last week that any transfer of Weight Watchers points would be a health transaction that her agency would have to approve. She told this reporter that she hopes to develop a cap and trade system. In this way, friends at a restaurant, after ordering meals, would use negotiation and payment to determine who could most safely eat the food.