The One Big Mistake Weight Watchers Made for 14 Years!
By: Dave Asprey
March 9, 2011
In 1997, Weight Watchers made up the “points system” which helped people to count calories. This effectively created a weight loss company that profited from teaching people ineffective ways to lose weight, driving them to spend more money losing weight. It was bad for people but good for the revenue stream. Nutrasweet (aspartame) uses the same business model. It is marketed as a zero calorie sweetener with the implication that it will make you lose weight (even though evidence shows that it makes you gain weight.) Convincing people to keep doing something that doesn’t really work allows them to spend a lot more money than they would if you sold them something that fixed the problem right away.
Fast forward 14 years from the time Weight Watchers began deceiving people, and the President of Weight Watchers now says, “Calorie counting has become unhelpful.”
There is no news yet about whether hundreds of thousands of still-obese middle-aged people (mostly women) will sue Weight Watchers for misleading them for so long. The truth is that you can lose 20lbs in a month. If you don’t lose weight that quickly, odds are you’re just not using the right techniques. I know countless people who have done it and gained new found energy and mental clarity in the process. It’s life-changing. I figured this out in 1995 when I lost 50lbs in 3 months with a program much less efficient than the ones we have now. The former Weight Watchers method of slowly starving yourself while training your body to digest its own muscle mass is unacceptably cruel.
The new Weight Watchers program advocates for eating natural, unprocessed foods to lose weight…exactly the same foods you’ll find on my plate.
The main mistake that Weight Watchers is (still) making is to allow an unlimited amount of fruit. Fruit is full of fat-creating, liver-destroying fructose. So, the new Weight Watchers diet is better, but it has a loophole to let carbohydrate addicts stay fat on the program, keeping margins higher than they would be if fruit was limited in the diet.
I would argue that Weight Watchers suggests too many carbs in general. Their current guidelines for macronutrient breakdown are:
- Protein: 10-35%
- Fat: 20-35%
- Carbohydrate: 45-65%
I think that’s too many carbs and not nearly enough fat. In contrast, the Bulletproof Diet recommends:
- Protein: 10-20%
- Fat: 50-70%
- Carbs: 10-20%
And it’s important to note that if you’re following the Bulletproof Diet, most of those carbs will come from vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables, not fructose-laden fruits or grains that are full of lectins, phytates, and other antinutrients.
While our opinions still differ significantly, I do think that Weight Watchers has taken a step in the right direction by suggesting that people interested in losing weight look at quality of food, not quantity of food. If this capitulation by Weight Watchers isn’t enough evidence to help you stop counting calories and start counting food quality and composition, I don’t know what is. If you eat normal-calorie or even (like me) a high-calorie healthy meals, you’ll find your need for sleep decreases, your endurance goes up, and you’ll feel more energy throughout the day. That’s what life is supposed to be like!