Calories matter, but so do where they come from. Here are a couple of articles that help demonstrate that.
A nice bracketing study was done in Denmark on different macronutrient breakdowns with the same kcal total.
It was written up nicely in Business Week.
Basically, a lower glycemic index - foods that don't spike your blood-sugar level - seems to have a longer-term benefit in terms of keeping lost weight off. This isn't going to be news to Precision Nutrition fans or athletes used to cutting weight. But it's nice to see it starting to get some mainstream coverage.
I can't say I'm a fan or non-fan of Weight Watchers. I've tried to prioritize "healthy food" over "caloric totals" in my own life and in my advice to friends, family, and clients. But it seems like they've begun to move over to a new system that puts emphasis on where the calories come from as well as how many calories you consume.
Time featured this article.
The idea that 100 kcals of fruit or vegetables isn't worth "points" - i.e. has no significant impact on your daily caloric totals - is pretty significant. 100 kcals of cookies isn't the same as 100 kcals of blueberries. The totals still matter, but it seems like WW doesn't want people to cut down their calories by cutting down their nutritious, fibrous, filling fruits and veggies. If that is indeed the case, it's got to be a good thing. Just as long as people don't find a way to count fruit leather as fruit and green candy as veggies, I suppose . . .