Cracking the PointsPlus Code – the PointsPlus formula revealed

Written by matthew green on 12/2/2010 7:42 AM | COMMENTS (20)

As I said in the last post, I am jumping into this new program with both feet.  I have successfully rest my weight to start again, and have stayed on plan now for the last few days.  For me, the next step is to figure out how I can successfully live every day with the new formula without having to carry a silly WW card around with me to calculate the points value.  I need to be able to estimate the point value in my head quickly.  

The new formula is displayed as the image.  In the formula, pp =PointsPlus, p=protein, c= carbos, f1=fat, and f2=fiber.  This might not be the “official” formula, but it is pretty close.  Let’s give it a go to see how close we can get….

Big Mac = 25(protein)/10.9 + 45(Carbs)/9.2+29(fat)/3.9+3(fiber)/35 = 14.7
WW calculator shows 14 … pretty good.  

I have checked with numerous other foods and it is pretty close.  So let’s examine this formula in more detail. The most significant contributor is fat.  If the fat content is high then you are screwed.  Protean and carbs are next….too high here and you get penalized but not really badly.  Fiber, being divided by 35 will hardly even move the needle.  

So in order to keep you points as low as possible (my lifelong goal) WW encourages you to eat high fiber, low fat foods, and to favor protein over carbs.  This sounds pretty healthy to me.  

I have developed a trick to help me estimate the correct value in my head.  First I look for the biggest numbers.  For the Big Mac those are carbs, fat, and protein.  Then I do this in my head…
  • Divide carbs by 10 (round up)
  • Divide fat by 4 (round up)
  • Divide protein by 10 (round up)
  • Note- the fiber number was high I would estimate a 1/3.
  • Add them all together.

For the Big Mac, it would be 5+8+2=15…pretty close to 14.7.  You only have to remember what to divide by.  This is harder than it used to be, but it is pretty easy after the first couple of times.  

I hope this helps!

Categories: GeneralHealthMy weight loss


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  • Post Image kittygrace (amy)

    10/6/2012 3:21 PM
    I put that in an excel spreadsheet, makes it real easy. Of course I guess you wouldn't be carrying that around with you.


  • Post Image cbrooks@cleveland

    2/18/2011 11:10 AM
    PP estimator is brilliant! This is great!


  • Post Image salbidum

    12/14/2010 2:49 PM
    It is so nice to see someone have a similar response to me to the new plan! I immediately knew that I had to find a way to calculate pointsplus values in my head for this to work! I had seen another equation online and compared them for a week and the other formula matched etools more often... so I thought I'd share it with you. (protein/10.94) + (carbs/9.17) + (fat/3.89) - (fiber/12.49) As a bonus, the mental math version still is matching up pretty well too (divide by 10,10, 4 and 10


  • Post Image jlrhein

    12/10/2010 7:09 PM
    One thing that was very helpful for me about the old program was that I knew how to "ballpark" points. Until today, I couldn't even imagine how to do that with the new points plus. Matt, you are a lifesaver. Thank you so much!!!


  • Post Image kas4207

    12/10/2010 9:51 AM
    Thanks so much for this! Normally I just use my WW app on my phone but when I (God forbid) forget it at home, this will really help out a lot.


  • Post Image jilliansway (jillian)

    12/9/2010 1:23 PM
    fiber should be subtracted because we don't digest fiber, while the other elements are the macromolocules that make up food and we do digest them. i got the formula so my hubby can write me a calc app for my phone


  • Post Image matthew green

    12/9/2010 8:51 AM
    eberling..I don't know how to calculate the points someone gets. I don't have enough data to try to reverse engineer it. I will do some snooping to see what I can come up with.


  • Post Image eberling

    12/8/2010 11:36 AM
    Thanks Matt, Your blog is really a treat to read :) I have been on WW off and on for several years and have finally decided it is a way to live, not just a diet. It has taken me long enough!? Well, I'm back and also have my husband eating better, too. He's 67 and I'm 63. Any idea how to figure how many points he may need to lose weight?


  • Post Image jmcconaughy

    12/7/2010 11:20 AM
    My pleasure! Sorry it got posted twice :)


  • Post Image jmcconaughy

    12/7/2010 11:19 AM
    The justification would be that carbs that come from fiber have less impact than non-fiber carbs because it takes more work to digest them.


  • Post Image matthew green

    12/7/2010 6:01 AM
    jmcconaught....great suggestion! Thanks for sharing.


  • Post Image jmcconaughy

    12/6/2010 11:09 PM
    The justification would be that carbs that come from fiber have less impact than non-fiber carbs because it takes more work to digest them.


  • Post Image jmcconaughy

    12/6/2010 11:07 PM
    I think that the fiber count is actually subtracted from the carbs... if you look at the tracker and enter all 0's except for carbs... put in a 14... 2 points. If you then put in 2 grams of fiber, it goes back down to 1 point! In the old eq (which was really simple to figure out if you looked at the slider) each gram of fiber negated 10 calories, up to 4 grams of fiber (10 on the old points plan). So... good job on the math! And I hope you take my suggestion into account.


  • Post Image sylvuz323

    12/6/2010 2:18 PM
    thanks this is really helpful


  • Post Image gummibear47

    12/6/2010 8:37 AM
    I love this..thanks so much for sharing.


  • Post Image jhqueen (jeanne)

    12/5/2010 2:36 PM
    Very scientific of you!!! I have become a little sad how some of my staples have gone up between 1-3 pts. But it is true- more fruits, veg, and protein is a good way to balance. I KNOW I eat too many carbs... so it is just forcing me to make my diet even healthier... Glad you're out there giving us the 4 1 1 !


  • Post Image besusan (latonya m)

    12/5/2010 11:23 AM
    You really you have earned superhero status for a lot of folks with this blog, right? lol Thanks, Matthew.


  • Post Image marciamarcia43 (marcia)

    12/4/2010 4:24 PM
    Very good Matt!!!


  • Post Image zonicka1

    12/3/2010 7:56 PM
    Wow. I wish I could do math. I appreciate you sharing and will definitely keep this formula in mind for those moments when I'm not at a computer. Have a fabulous weekend. Sounds like you're figuring out this PointsPlus thing pretty quickly. You're going to do great on your "restart". :-)


  • Post Image nckoski1 (nancy)

    12/3/2010 3:53 PM
    I love your formula and your shortcut for quick estimations. This will be a lifesaver. In the past I could get an estimate by just dividing calories by 50. It wasn't perfect, but it was close enough to get me through an unknown until I could look it up. I think your formula will serve the same purpose. THANK YOU!!!!




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