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Noom Review: A Comprehensive Review of This Weight-Loss System

Updated on April 19, 2022
Written by
Ada Sandoval
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 to the program to change the way people viewed food. Since then, Noom has become widely popular — not just as a weight loss app but as a means to a healthy lifestyle.

Noom has over 60 million downloads. So far, Noom reviews are positive. About 862,000 Noom users gave it an average rating of 4.5 stars on both platforms.

Quick Facts on Noom for Weight Loss

  • In-depth weight loss program that you can follow at your own pace
  • Get personalized health tips about nutrition, weight loss, and more
  • Offers a psychological and habit-forming approach to losing weight
  • Lets you create your own meal plan with Noom's healthy recipes
  • Provides custom meal plans that are designed by registered dietitians
  • Effective weight loss that doesn't require you to count calories

What is Noom?

Noom is not a structured weight loss plan or a fad diet, even though it has guidelines on what foods you should eat.

It’s a weight loss program that you can access by downloading a free app on the Apple App Store or Google Play. 

It creates lasting changes on a person’s eating habits by providing tools for self-awareness, commitment, and knowledge.

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Noom Weight Loss

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.

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 very restrictive. They can greatly limit your intake of carbs, sugars, calories, or fat.

One example is the low-carb diet, which can limit your carbohydrates to 20 grams per day.

Restrictive weight loss diets 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.

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The Noom app examines your eating patterns and teaches you to control your 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 who opt for the add-on get a personalized Noom diet plan based on their health information.

Other users can rely on the app’s suggestions on which foods to include in their diet.

4.  Provides health coaching for long-term weight loss

Noom is not something 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.

If you have diabetes and hypertension, or at risk of developing these conditions, you can use this tool to adjust your diet.

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 can help you lose more weight.4

How Does Noom Work?

Noom uses an algorithm that analyzes your data and identifies factors that lead to weight gain. With the right lifestyle changes, these same factors can help you lose weight.

Noom’s technology will assess for factors such as:

  • Eating habits
  • Physical activity
  • Nutritional behavior
  • Major life changes
  • Living environment
  • Attitudes towards food and weight loss
  • Stress levels

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.

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Afterward, the Noom app will create a personalized 16-week program based on your information. 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.

Does Noom 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.

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.

If you want to increase your weight, try calorie counting apps that offer this option.

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 and fiber 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 a bagel with 257 calories.

Noom believes that food weight makes a person feel full, not how many calories it contains. This can help you lose weight without counting calories.

The healthy weight program encourages Noom dieters to eat more of low calorie-dense foods and less of high calorie-dense foods.

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

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The Noom diet plan encourages a food intake of 30% green foods, 45% 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 a high water content and the highest concentration of healthy nutrients. 

Noom suggests a diet that consists of 30% green 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. Your diet should have 45% of these foods. 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. Unlike nutrient-dense foods, they tend to contain "empty calories."

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 so you can 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.

You can also download the Noom weight loss app on your iPad and Android tablet. However, there may be compatibility issues.

Features like the built-in pedometer may not work since tablets usually lack motion sensors.

Step #2 — Choose your weight loss journey

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Before starting your program, Noom lets you choose from two goals — weight loss or fitness. This allows Noom to customize your program from the very beginning.

2 — Fill out your health information

After setting your first goal, Noom will ask you to fill out your health information. These include 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.

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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
  • Preferred Noom program intensity — choose from easy, average, or intense.

To check for health risks and the need for dietary considerations, Noom will ask 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 for the Noom program

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

When you finish answering, Noom will offer a 14-day trial. You can donate $0.50, $5.00, $10.00, 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 with the Noom App

Launch the Noom weight loss app and sign in with your account. Use it to access your program every day so you can reach your goals.

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

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, however. They understand that it will take time for you to form healthy eating habits. This is why you can do things at your own pace without any pressure.

We Tried the Noom App — Here Are 10 Things We Liked

After signing up for a free trial, we tried the Noom weight loss app for a few days. Here’s what we like about it:

1. The Noom guide

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The Noom Guide is a 24/7 chat support. If you have any questions, just leave a message and they’ll get back within a reasonable timeframe.

2. Helpful reminders to stay on track

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Your guide will occasionally send reminders to help you with your goal. Here’s one that comes with clickable links to Noom’s food groups.

3. Reach your goal weight at your own pace

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While Noom recommends spending at least 10 minutes a day on their app, they leave you to your own pace. Each day, you will be assigned short courses that you can take (or not!) depending on your availability.

These courses come in audio recordings. You can listen to them while doing other things like driving, walking, and cooking.

If you don’t finish the assigned courses for the day, they will be moved to the next day.

4. Food logging

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There are a lot of things that we love about this feature. First is the extensive food database you can choose from. It helps ensure that you keep an accurate record of foods that you’ve eaten.

Next is the amount of detail that goes into each food. You can choose the serving size and measurement. You also get to see which food group it belongs to and how many calories it has.

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Noom lets you log food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. If you make a mistake or forget to add foods for the day, you can make changes later.

5. Monitor your calorie intake

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Noom will assign your daily calorie budget based on your body mass index (BMI) and goals. This is the recommended amount of calories you can consume per day.

Whenever you log food, your daily budget will be update with your total calorie intake and the remaining calories you can eat for that day.

For example, we consumed 1,162 calories out of our 1,200 daily calorie budget on Wednesday, leaving us with 38 calories.

6. Monitor your food choices

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The health app also splits your daily calorie budget across the different food groups. That way, you’ll know how many calories you’re supposed to eat for each food group.

Calculations are based on the Noom diet plan which consists of 30% green foods, 45% yellow foods, and 25% red foods. To illustrate, here is what a 1,200 calorie diet will look like:

  • Green Foods: 360 calories per day
  • Yellow Foods: 540 calories per day
  • Red Foods: 300 calories per day

Noom lets you know if you’ve exceeded your daily calorie budget or calorie budget for a certain food group.

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Noom Weight Loss

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.

Pro tip: Before eating, use Noom to check the calories in your food. This should help you become more mindful of what you eat.

7. Learn more ways to improve your health 

Noom Review: A Comprehensive Review of This Weight-Loss System 37

As you go through the courses, Noom will add articles on nutrition, weight loss, exercise, and stress management to your library.

If you have a chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, you’ll also get advice on how to better manage your health.

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Here is an example of an article on Noom’s food groups.

Articles are short so it shouldn’t take much time to read them. Like Noom’s courses, you can go through them at your own pace.

8. Track your weight

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Noom lets you log your weight. This allows you to monitor for weight loss and weight gain, so you can make the necessary adjustments on your diet.

9. Noom recipes

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The free app provides access to dozens of healthy recipes. Recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are available.

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Each recipe includes ingredients and instructions on how to cook them. Noom also gives useful insights such as:

  • Number of servings
  • Calories per serving
  • Preparation time
  • The calorie content of each ingredient
  • Percentage of included food groups (e.g., 92% green and 8% red)

10. Easy to use

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Navigating the Noom app is easy. It has a straightforward user interface that makes everything accessible with just a few clicks. The app also has nice visuals which make it appealing to users.

How Much Does Noom Cost?

The Noom app is free. Noom also offers a 14-day trial period which you can access by donating $0.50, $5.00, $10.00, or $18.37.

Pro tip: To get a free 14-day trial plus a 50% discount on your subscription, wait for the offer to expire. Check the email you used to sign up for Noom. There should be an email with the promo code for a free trial.

What happens when my Noom trial ends?

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

If you plan to cancel your Noom subscription, make sure you do it before the trial expires.

How much is a Noom custom meal or exercise plan?

Noom offers add-ons such as a custom meal plan and custom exercise plan. They cost $39 to $59 each (on discount) or $80 to $100 each (standard rates), which are paid on top of your subscription.

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When you sign up for a Noom trial, they’ll offer a premium bundle worth $49. The bundle includes a custom meal plan and a custom exercise plan. 

Pro tip: Opting for the bundle brings down their price to $25 each. You can save more money by grabbing this one-time offer. Even if you stop using Noom, you can still access your personalized Noom diet plan.

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.

Like many weight loss apps, you also have to keep a daily food log.. This 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.

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. They use a point-based system called PersonalPoints to set your daily caloric limit and help you pick foods.

Unless you have good memory, you have to constantly check their app to see:

  • How many SmartPoints® you have left
  • How may points a food has

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 was when they expanded their ZeroPoint™ Foods that 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.

All in all, Weight Watchers makes dieting complicated. You can read our review of Noom vs. WW.

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 many weight loss diets which prevent you from eating certain food groups, Noom lets you eat anything as long as you stick to their recommendations. 

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.

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Noom Weight Loss

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.

Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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