I had a chance to be on FoxBusiness on Friday to talk about obesity and healthcare. While I was getting miked-up, one of the guys on the Fox crew pulled me aside to share that he was a Weight Watchers member. As you know from previous posts, I always enjoy the chance to meet fellow-man travelers in the world of Weight Watchers. We are a brave group of pioneers, and our numbers are rapidly increasing. This particular guy shared with me that his one concern about the program was that fruit had zero PointsPlus values, and he was nervous about binging and perhaps had done a little of that.
I shared with him the advice I always give when asked about this. I talked to him about the fact that it is pretty hard to go crazy on fruit. If you look at it, while fruit does have natural sugars, it is also filled with fiber and water. As a result, it's naturally filling. It is also helpful our bodies have a way of reacting to fruit binges through vigorous feedback from our digestive system (enough said). Finally, I told him that while fruit had a zero PointsPlus value, as do most vegetables, we encourage people not to go crazy on it and treat it as a mindless eating/binge food. The golden rule in weight management is to not suspend reality. It is, in fact, hard to lose weight while eating 73 apples a day.
Just as a fun math check, consider the commercial for Tropicana orange juice. "16 oranges to make a bottle". That's 16 oranges for a 59 ounce bottle. That works about to 2.2 oranges for an 8 ounce glass. Sit down and feast on 2.2 oranges along with the rest of your breakfast, and tell me if you still feel hungry.
I always come back to the reason why Weight Watchers made the decision to give fruit a zero PointsPlus value. We are trying to encourage people to make the healthy food choice rather than the processed cookie choice. The example I often give is this: the 3 PM snack.
- Old Points program: it's 3 PM, I can choose an apple (2 POINTS) or a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreos (also 2 POINTS). It would not surprise you to discover that many people would say "There is no way on Earth that I'm wasting 2 POINTS on a piece of fruit, give me the cookies or I will bite your arm off."
- PointsPlus program: it's 3 PM, I can choose an apple (0 PointsPlus value) or a 100 calorie snack pack of Oreos (now 3 PointsPlus value). All of the sudden that apple is looking pretty good. It's also healthy and filling. Good bargain, good satisfaction and good health. That's a nice hat trick.
- Breakfast: This is my primary fruit eating meal. I mix in a banana and a half a cup of blueberries or rasberries into plain oatmeal. I also mix in about 1 1/2 cups of grapes in with zero fat Greek yogurt.
- Lunch: I might or might not have an apple with my salad.
- Snack: I grab an apple, particularly if I didn't have one for lunch.
- Dessert: my most healthy desert is mixing in frozen berries with zero fat Greek yogurt. I haven't done this in a while, and writing this post is reminding me to consider getting back into that habit (i.e., instead of low fat ice cream).
- Grapes: 1.5 cups = 90 calories (22 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein, and 0 g fat). Like most fruit, the grape is mostly water and pulp.
- Banana: 1 large = 121 calories (32 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 1.5 g protein, and 0 g fat). Bananas are a bit of a watch out food for me because I know I can eat one in about three to four bites. They go down a little too fast, so I usually only eat them sliced up in my oatmeal.
- Blueberries: 1/2 cup = 41 calories (10 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein, and 0 g fat). These guys are a pretty great deal. Rasberries are an even better deal (32 calories for the same 1/2 cup).
- Apple: 1 medium = 95 calories (25 g carbs, 4.4 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, and 0 g fat). One of the aspects of apples that I find most helpful is the fact that they take a while to eat. I also find them pretty filling.
- My total for the day: 347 calories (89 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 4 g protein, and 0 g fat).