The use of a points or ‘syn’ system for weight loss and healthy eating has gained popularity in recent years. This approach assigns a certain number of points or ‘syns’ to different foods based on their calorie content, with the goal of helping people make healthier food choices and control their portion sizes as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
We provide a free syn calculator for those counting them.
While this method may seem like a simple and effective way to lose weight, there are several flaws in this approach that make it problematic and potentially unhealthy. One major flaw is that this system does not take into account the overall nutritional value of foods, focusing solely on calorie content. This can lead to an overly restrictive or unhealthy relationship with food, and does not promote a well-rounded, nutritious diet.
What is the point of syns?
The purpose of syns is to provide a flexible way to allow people to enjoy some of their favorite foods while still losing weight. They should be used to help people make healthier food choices and control their portion sizes as part of a calorie-controlled diet. The program recommends that people aim to include a small number of syns in their diet each day to allow for some flexibility and to help them feel satisfied on their diet. This might include a small serving of a higher-calorie snack or a glass of wine, for example. The focus should be on overall health and wellness rather than just weight loss, and the use of syns should be part of a well-rounded, balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
While syns are intended to provide a flexible way to allow slimmers to enjoy some of their favorite foods without feeling deprived, this approach can actually undermine their weight loss efforts by not accounting for calories in non-synful foods and potentially leading to an unhealthy relationship with food, as well as potentially causing slimmers to go over their calorie allowance or not adequately addressing their overall nutrition needs.
What are the fundamental flaws in using syns?
- The syn system is overly restrictive and may lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. By assigning a certain number of points or “syns” to different foods based on their calorie content, the syn system encourages people to limit their intake of higher-calorie foods and to focus solely on calorie control. This can lead to feelings of deprivation and an obsession with counting points or syns, which can be unsustainable and unhealthy in the long term.
- The syn system does not adequately address overall nutrition. By focusing solely on calorie content, the syn system ignores important factors such as the overall nutrient content of foods. This means that two foods with the same number of syns may be nutritionally very different, and will be treated equally under the syn system. This can lead to an imbalanced diet that does not adequately meet a person’s nutritional needs.
- The syn system does not account for calories in non-synful foods. While the syn system may help people to control their intake of higher-calorie “syned” foods, it does not account for the calories in other foods that are not assigned a syn value. This means that people may still be consuming more calories than they realize, which can hinder their weight loss efforts.
- The syn system may be difficult to follow in real-world situations. Assigning syns to different foods can be challenging and time-consuming, and it may not be practical or feasible to accurately track syns in all situations. This can make it difficult for people to stick to the syn system in the long term, especially when eating out or in social situations.
- There are syn free foods which are unhealthier than foods with a syn value. This creates a mindset that syn free foods can be consumed infinitely and synned foods are restricted.
A better way of using syns
While the use of syns has several flaws and limitations, it is possible to use them in a more reasonable and balanced way as part of a weight loss or healthy eating plan. Here are a few suggestions for using syns in a more reasonable and sustainable way:
- Use syns as a occasional treat, rather than a regular part of your diet. Rather than relying on syns as a daily allowance, try to limit your intake of higher-calorie “syned” foods to special occasions or as an occasional treat. This can help to prevent feelings of deprivation and allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without feeling like you are constantly “on a diet.”
- Focus on overall nutrition, not just calorie control. While the syn system is based on calorie content, it is important to remember that overall nutrition is key to maintaining good health. Rather than just focusing on the number of syns in a food, try to choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- Don’t be too strict with yourself. It is okay to indulge in a favorite food or treat every once in a while, even if it is higher in calories or has a higher number of syns. Don’t beat yourself up if you go over your syn allowance or indulge in a favorite food, and remember that balance and moderation are key to maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
- Consider seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. If you are considering using a syn system or any other weight loss or healthy eating program, it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the best approach for your individual needs and goals. They can help you to develop a well-rounded and sustainable plan that takes into account your overall health and nutrition needs.
- Opt out. Simply refuse to use the syn system in the first place and focus on exercise and nutrition in the foods.