Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Point of View on Points

For those of you who aren't familiar with Weight Watchers, the Weight Watchers POINTS system assigns an abstract number to different foods, and those numbers are used as a part of their weight loss programs. This POINTS number is derived from a patented formula based on several nutritional elements found on all standard nutritional labels.

In order to help their members, Weight Watchers gives them aids to calculate POINTS values and also publishes lists of different foods and their point values. These lists cover generic food items, brand name items, and even menu items from some restaurants.

Problems arise, however, when these lists become inaccurate. That can happen, especially in the cases of brand name foods and restaurant menus, for any number of reasons. Mostly they happen because these foods change faster than the lists are updated. Menus are updated and ingredients change, sometimes at a dizzying rate.

The thing that constantly amuses me though, is the misinformation that is constantly shared in the many online communities on the internet. It seems as though people would rather trust second hand information instead of using the readily available tools at hand to get accurate information.

Folks are constantly going to web sites that list points for different brand name foods and restaurant menu items instead of using the readily available nutritional information to calculate the points themselves. I've seen online flamewars erupt because people were arguing over the points values of different meals.

Every prepackaged food that you can buy in the supermarket is required to have a nutritional label on it. Almost all fast food chains publish their NI on their website. The same thing goes for a good many restaurant chains. Yet for some reason, many people refuse to use this information and instead rely on the unreliable hearsay they find on the internet or from some other third party.

An important part of my success has been using the very best information I could get my hands on. I can't imagine why anyone else would settle for less.

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