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Noom Reviews

Updated on September 13, 2021
Written by
Joel
6 sources cited
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Noom started in 2008 as a simple way to track calories and fitness. By 2016, it was doing more than helping people lose weight.

Personal health coaches were added into the program to change the way people viewed food. Since then, Noom has become widely popular — not just as a health app but as a means to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Noom has over 60 million downloads on the Apple App Store and Google Play. About 862,000 Noom users gave it an average rating of 4.5 stars on both platforms.

What is the Noom Diet?

Noom is not a structured weight loss plan or a fad diet. It’s a comprehensive weight loss program that you can access by downloading a free app on Apple App Store or Google Play. It creates lasting changes on a person’s eating habits by providing tools for:

  • Self-awareness
  • Commitment
  • Knowledge

Here are the pros of using the Noom weight loss app:

1. Psychological approach to losing weight

Other weight loss diets and programs tend to be restrictive and reduce your intake of carbs, sugars, calories, or fat. This can lead to yo-yo dieting. Also known as weight cycling, it is a repetitive pattern of losing weight and regaining it.1

Research shows that yo-yo dieting is linked to an increased risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and belly fat.1,2 It is also associated with sleep apnea and poor quality sleep.3

Noom is different because it doesn’t do any of that. Instead, it is designed to “change not just how you eat, but how you think.” This psychology-based approach to improving one’s eating patterns is unique to the Noom Program.

2. Teaches mindful eating and accountability

Noom’s nutrition philosophy is simple: “Once you determine the things you’re ready to work on, your mindset will help you form new neural connections over time to change your (eating) habits.”  Simply put, they believe that mindful eating is the key to sustained weight loss.

The Noom app helps people examine their eating patterns and teaches them to control their emotions in relation to food. By learning accountability and stress management, a person can achieve their weight loss goals.

3. Helps you create a personalized diet

Noom works with a professional team of registered dietitians to help users create their own diet. Users get a Noom diet plan based on the health information they provide. The app also suggests calorie-dense foods that you can include in your diet.

4.  Offers health coaching for long-term weight loss

Noom is not something that you use to lose weight and then forget about it once you reach your goal weight. Its behavioral approach is meant to help you maintain a healthy weight in the long haul.

The app does this by acting as a virtual health coach. It gives you access to a goal specialist, a group coach, and a support group who will make sure that you stick to a healthy lifestyle.

5. Promotes overall wellness

Apart from helping with long-term weight loss, the app offers biometric tracking so you can monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure. People with diabetes and hypertension, or those at risk of developing these conditions, can use this tool to adjust their diet based on their needs.

Features such as exercise and food logging enable Noom to suggest other ways to promote healthy habits. These include personalized recommendations on nutrition, exercise, and mental well-being.

6. Engages Noom users

Another unique feature of Noom is that it keeps you engaged with weekly interactive challenges. Studies show that a higher engagement in weight loss programs can help a person lose more weight.4

How Does Noom Work?

Noom uses an algorithm that analyzes your data and identifies factors that lead to weight gain. These same factors can help you lose weight with some changes.

Noom’s technology will assess for factors such as:

  • Eating habits
  • Physical activity
  • Nutritional behavior
  • Major life changes
  • Living environment
  • Attitudes toward food and weight loss (e.g., self-blame)

Noom's algorithm is based on real psychology. It is developed with input from psychologists and behavioral health experts. The Noom weight loss app will also review your family history, current health, and potential risks for obesity-related health problems. These include diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Afterward, the Noom app will create a personalized 16-week program based on your information. It includes a diet plan and other recommendations to improve your health.

Throughout the program, Noom will continue to offer support and change your eating behavior. This is made possible by the virtual coaching team, a peer support group, daily suggestions, and interactive challenges. Noom will also monitor your weight loss progress and make further adjustments on your diet and lifestyle.

Does It Work for Weight Loss?

For most people, yes. A group of researchers investigated 35,921 Noom users in 2016. Based on their findings, nearly 78 percent lost body weight while using the app.5 

A more recent study from 2020 shows that Noom is an effective way to lose weight for young and older adults alike. After 52 weeks on the weight loss program, they lost an average of 13.2 lbs (5.95 kg). The same study also reveals that older adults aged 55 to 74 lost more weight than people from younger age groups.4

It’s worth noting that Noom only helps with healthy weight loss. This means losing weight gradually and not going below the normal Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9.6

Can Noom Help Me Gain Weight?

Not at the moment. Noom may promote lifestyle changes that help with overall health, but the program is not meant for underweight people who want to gain weight. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people with a BMI below 18.5 are considered underweight.6

What Foods Can You Eat on the Noom Diet?

You can eat anything that you want. There are no “good foods” or “bad foods” for Noom dieters. Instead, the diet program works through a color-coded food system based on calorie density and nutrient density.

Calorie Density Approach to Nutrition and Weight Management

Caloric density (CD) measures the amount of calories in food in relation to its weight. Some foods contain more calories per weight than others. The more water food has, the fewer calories it contains.

For example, a 100-gram serving of chocolate chip cookies with 493 calories is more calorie-dense than a 100-gram serving of bagel with 257 calories.

Noom believes that food weight makes a person feel full, not how many calories it contains. So instead of counting calories, this healthy weight program encourages Noom dieters to eat more of low calorie-dense foods and less of high calorie-dense foods.

Increasing your intake of low calorie-dense foods means that you feel full faster while consuming fewer calories. Alternatively, if you eat high calorie-dense foods, you end up eating more food and calories.

Calorie-Dense vs. Nutrient-Dense

Noom takes their program one step further. In addition to calorie reduction, they encourage eating foods that are high in nutrients. Noom divides foods into three color groups based on their nutrient and calorie density: green foods, yellow foods, and red foods.

Noom Food Groups — A Food Guide

The Noom diet plan encourages a food intake of 45% green foods, 30% yellow foods, and 25% red foods. Below is a brief explanation of each food group and some examples.

1. Green foods

These are the most low calorie-dense foods. Green foods also have high water content and the highest concentration of healthy nutrients. Noom suggests a diet that primarily consists of these foods. Here are some green foods:

  • Whole Grains — Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread
  • Fruits — Apples, blueberries, and strawberries
  • Vegetables and crops — Broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes
  • Non-fat dairy products — Non-fat cheese, skim milk, and unsweet milk
  • Zero sugar drinks — Unsugared tea and coffee

2. Yellow foods

They provide more calories but fewer nutrients than green foods. You should eat these foods in moderation. Here are some yellow foods:

  • Refined grains — White bread, rice, and pasta
  • Legumes and seeds — Chickpeas, quinoa, and beans
  • Lean proteins — Chicken, salmon, and tuna
  • Low-fat dairy products — Eggs and low-fat milk and cheeses
  • Healthy fat sources — Avocados and olives
  • Low sugar or high-calorie drinks — Diet soda and beer

3. Red foods

These are the most high calorie-dense foods with the lowest concentration of healthy nutrients. Noom recommends eating red foods less frequently and in smaller amounts. Here are some red foods:

  • Red meats — Ham and bacon
  • Processed foods — French fries, chips, and peanut butter
  • Sweets — Cake, candies, and chocolate
  • Full-fat dairy products — Full-fat cheese, milk, and mayonnaise
  • High fat sources — Almonds, olive oil, and coconut oil
  • High sugar and high calorie drinks — Wine and juices

Getting Started on Noom

Below is a quick guide to help you get started on your weight loss journey with Noom.

Pro tip: The sign-up process is slightly different for the website and mobile app. We recommend starting with the Noom website to fill out your information and sign up for the program. Once you have agreed to the trial, you can download the app and use it to sign in to your account.

Step #1 — Download the app or visit the Noom website

Go to Noom.com or download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The mobile app works on iPhone and iPod Touch running on iOS 12.4 or later, and Android smartphones running on Android 6 and up.

The Noom weight loss app can also be downloaded on iPad and Android tablets. However, there may be compatibility issues. Features like the built-in pedometer may not work since tablets usually lack motion sensors.

Step #2 — Fill out your health information

Before signing up, first, you need to fill out your health information. Initially, they will ask for your name, age, sex, gender, height, and current weight. Noom will then calculate your ideal body mass index (BMI) based on the information you provided.

Next, you will be asked about your goal weight. Only pick from the recommended weight range to ensure healthy weight loss.  Noom will also ask questions about:

  • How much and how often you eat
  • Level of physical activity
  • Your goal — whether you want to lose weight or become fit
  • Preferred Noom program intensity — choose from easy, average, or intense.

To check for health risks and the need for dietary considerations, Noom will request you to fill out your family and medical history. Noom will then set up your weight loss goals in the next four months depending on the information you provided.

Pro tip: Filling out your details should be simple and fast. All you have to do is choose your answers from the available choices. The whole process should take no more than 15 minutes.

Step #3 — Sign up and get your custom Noom diet plan

Noom will ask for your email and permission to sign up for the program. Once you’ve signed up, they will look deeper into your eating habits, behaviors, state of mind, activity, and nutrition.

They will ask questions like:

  • Life events that led to your weight gain
  • The last time your weight was within the ideal range
  • Weight loss programs used in the last 12 months (e.g., Weight Watchers)
  • Other attempts at weight loss (e.g., going to the gym and prescription medication)
  • What you would like to focus on — nutrition, physical activity, or building good habits
  • Your motivational level for losing weight
  • Personal motivations for weight loss (e.g., taking care of yourself)
  • What time you eat snacks
  • Emotional and environmental triggers for eating
  • How much time you have for yourself
  • How you prepare meals

After answering all questions, Noom will offer a paid trial. You can choose to donate $0.50, $5, $10, or $18.37 to access your four-month personalized course in the next 14 days. When your trial expires, normal billing charges will apply.

Step #4 — Start to Lose Weight the Noom Way

Noom asks you to spend at least 10 minutes of each day to learn more about psychology, behavior, and how to make positive changes in your eating patterns and nutritional behavior. 

After a few days of using Noom, a goal coach will personally get in touch. They will monitor your weight loss progress for each week that you stay in the program. A goal coach will also keep you motivated so you can reach your weight loss goals.

Every day, the Noom app will suggest articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise. If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, it will also offer additional advice so you can better manage your diet and health.

Initial recommendations will be based on the health information you provided during sign-up. Since Noom lets you log food and physical activities on a daily basis, it will use this new information to adjust its suggestions.

Noom is not like any other weight loss program. They understand that it will take time for you to form healthy eating habits. If you’re unable to follow the Noom diet plan, the app will continue making adjustments to suit your pace.

How Much Does Noom Cost?

The Noom app is free. Unfortunately, Noom no longer offers free trials as of this writing. Noom users are asked to choose from one of four donations — $0.50, $5, $10, or $18.37 — to access the trial. The good news is that regardless of how much you donate, you get full access to the Noom program for 14 days.

Pro tip: Don't pay the donation and you might be offered a free 14-day trial plus a 50% discount on your subscription. When asked to pay, close your browser and wait for Noom to send you a promo code via email. The email should arrive in an hour or so.

After the trial, you can be charged upwards of $34.75 per month or $139 every 4 months. Offers may vary across users and the time they subscribe, as Noom would sometimes give discounts.

Add-ons such as requesting a custom meal plan or workout plan will cost you more. They are priced anywhere from $39 to $59 each (on discount) and $80 to $100 each (standard rates).

What are the Downsides to Noom?

The same algorithm which makes it easy for Noom users to choose answers during sign-up is also its downfall. By limiting your answers to a few choices, Noom appears to have a limited view of how psychology affects a person’s eating habits.

Many people might find them entertaining. However, others may be put off and misunderstand Noom’s attempt at making things convenient for users.

Noom dieters must keep a daily food log which can be hard to maintain if you have a busy schedule. If the food you ate isn’t listed on their database, it can be doubly annoying. You have to scan the food’s UPC code or enter it manually. Either way, it is time-consuming and bothersome.

How Does Noom Compare to Other Weight Loss Programs?

Noom is often compared to Weight Watchers (WW). Both programs assign foods into color-coded groups. However, they have different nutrition philosophies and approaches towards weight loss. 

The Noom weight loss program barely makes you think. Once you become familiar with which foods are green, yellow, or red — you can easily plan your meals. Weight Watchers involves a lot of thinking. You have to constantly count how many calories each food has and use a calorie tracker to track food.

Even with the color-coded food groups, the daily calorie budget system of Weight Watchers makes dieting complicated. If you want to lose weight, you have to make sure that you don’t exceed your calorie budget.

Moreover, WW doesn’t have a consistent food point system. It constantly updates its program to include or exclude foods from certain groups. A good example of which was when they expanded their zero point foods which previously did not make the cut.

While WW claims their new method is a personalized approach to dieting, it pales in comparison with Noom’s way of analyzing user data and creating custom recommendations.

Is Noom Worth It?

Definitely. Noom offers a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow weight loss program. It also provides users with a personalized approach to sustained weight loss, which you can conveniently access through their health app.

Unlike restrictive diets which limit your calorie intake, Noom lets you eat anything as long as you stick to their food groups. The Noom program isn’t limited to people who want to lose weight. It caters to individuals who want to maintain their current weight or avoid putting on too much weight.

What makes the Noom app truly special is that it doesn’t stop once you lost weight. By offering health coaching, peer support, and education, it establishes healthy habits which can last a lifetime.

Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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