Does It Work for Weight Loss?

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Though monthly costs vary depending on the subscription plan, the total investment might be out of reach for those on a budget.

Furthermore, the Weight Watchers program may be too lenient for those who struggle with self-control.

Theoretically, members can choose to eat foods high in sugar and low in nutrients and still stay under their set amount of SmartPoints.

Though some find the freedom to choose their own foods liberating and thrive under the points system, those who have a hard time sticking to healthy choices may benefit from a stricter program.

Summary The Weight Watchers program has several potential downfalls, including the cost of the program, the need to count SmartPoints and the freedom to choose unhealthy foods.

Although the Weight Watchers point system emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods including vegetables, fruits and lean proteins, no foods are off limits.

While healthy choices are encouraged, members can choose any foods they want, as long as they stay under their daily SmartPoints allotment.

Weight Watchers makes healthy food more tempting to members by assigning zero SmartPoints to a list of over 200 healthy foods.

Foods encouraged on the Weight Watchers plan include:

  • Lean proteins like skinless chicken, eggs, tofu, fish, shellfish and non-fat yogurt.
  • Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, greens, cauliflower and peppers.
  • Fresh, frozen and unsweetened canned fruit.
  • Healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, beans and whole-grain products.
  • Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and nuts.

Summary The Weight Watchers program encourages members to make healthy choices and emphasizes whole foods.

While the SmartPoints system allows members to choose any food they like, Weight Watchers discourages eating unhealthy foods.

The Weight Watchers website suggests that members “stick to foods that are higher in protein and lower in sugar and saturated fat.”

Weight Watchers urges members to avoid foods high in sugar and saturated fats, including:

  • Sugary drinks
  • Potato chips
  • Processed meats
  • Candy
  • Cakes and cookies

However, Weight Watchers makes it clear that no foods are off limits and members can eat their favorite snacks and desserts as long as they stay within their designated SmartPoints.

This can be challenging for dieters that struggle with self-control and should be considered when deciding if Weight Watchers is a good fit for you.

Summary Weight Watchers encourages members to limits foods high in sugar and saturated fats, though no food is off limits when following the program.

Weight Watchers provides members with a database of over 4,000 healthy recipes.

These recipes keep users motivated and prevent boredom in the kitchen.

Most meal ideas provided by Weight Watchers focus on fresh, whole foods, although dessert recipes are available as well.

Here’s a three-day sample menu using recipes from the Weight Watchers’ website:


  • Breakfast: Goat cheese, spinach and tomato omelet
  • Lunch: Barley and mushroom soup
  • Snack: Guacamole with carrot crackers
  • Dinner: Super-easy spaghetti and meatballs with Italian arugula salad
  • Dessert: Chocolate-dipped macaroons


  • Breakfast: Cranberry-walnut oatmeal
  • Lunch: Egg, veggie and avocado salad with tarragon
  • Dinner: Ginger and scallion stir-fried brown rice with ginger shrimp
  • Snack: Swiss cheese and grapes
  • Dessert: Baked apples with vanilla drizzle


  • Breakfast: Mashed avocado tortilla with tomato
  • Lunch: Turkey, apple and blue cheese wrap
  • Dinner: No-noodle vegetable lasagna
  • Snack: Black bean dip with crudités
  • Dessert: Mini-brownie cupcake

Members can choose home-cooked recipes provided by Weight Watchers, or eat any food they desire, as long as it fits within their SmartPoints limit.

Summary Weight Watchers provides over 4,000 breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert recipes for members to choose from.

Weight Watchers encourages members to keep weight-loss friendly foods on hand.

Purchasing healthy foods minimizes temptation and ensures that members have the ingredients necessary to prepare fresh, tasty meals at home.

Here is a sample grocery list of Weight Watchers-approved foods.

  • Produce: Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs.
  • Protein: Lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu, shellfish, frozen veggie burgers and fish.
  • Dairy: Low-fat milk or nondairy milk substitutes like almond milk, low-fat or fat-free unsweetened yogurt, fat-free cottage cheese, regular or low-fat cheeses.
  • Grains, breads and pastas: Brown rice, barley, quinoa, corn tortillas, whole-grain or reduced-calorie bread, oatmeal and whole-grain pasta, waffles or shredded cereal.
  • Canned and prepared foods: Tomato sauce, hummus, black bean dip, Weight Watchers frozen entrees, salsa, canned beans, canned unsweetened fruits and canned low-salt vegetables.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, nuts and seeds.
  • Seasoning and condiments: Vinegar, hot sauce, mustard, dried herbs, fat-free mayonnaise, reduced-sodium soy sauce, fat-free or low-fat salad dressing.
  • Snacks: Fat-free popcorn, baked tortilla chips, sugar-free gelatin, Weight Watchers ice cream bars and sorbet.

Summary Weight Watchers encourages members to choose healthy options when grocery shopping, including lean proteins, plenty of fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Weight Watchers is a popular weight-loss program that attracts hundreds of thousands of new members every year.

Its flexible, points-based system appeals to many dieters and stresses the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

Studies have found that Weight Watchers is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.

If you’re looking for an evidence-based weight-loss program that lets you indulge in your favorite foods once in a while, Weight Watchers might help you reach your health and wellness goals.