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Noom vs Weight Watchers (WW)

Updated on April 8, 2022
Written by
Ada Sandoval
7 sources cited
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WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is one of the most popular ways to lose weight. It’s been around since 1963. And while it works, people grew tired of counting calories as it meant avoiding their favorite foods.

Maybe this is why Weight Watchers adopted a similar approach to Noom. Noom launched in 2016 as a nutrition-based weight loss program.

Both Noom and WW do not stop you from eating foods you like, no matter how “unhealthy” they are. Instead, they teach you to make healthier food choices.

Despite their similarities, these weight loss programs have unique features and food tracking systems that are worth looking into. Each also has its pros and cons.

Below is our review of two of the best weight loss apps: Noom vs. WW.

Noom vs Weight Watchers (WW) 3

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.

What Is Noom?

Noom is a weight loss app with a well-rounded approach. Besides tracking calories, it uses psychology to change how you view food, nutrition, and dieting.

How Does Noom Work?

Noom calculates your daily calorie budget based on your current weight and weight loss goals. Next, it creates a 16-week weight loss program which includes access to:

  • Health education
  • Personalized tips
  • Food recipes
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Community support

Noom uses a color guide to suggest foods with the most nutritional value. There are no good foods or bad foods — just healthier and less healthy foods.

Meals should mainly consist of green foods. This is followed by yellow foods (to be eaten moderately) and red foods (to be eaten less frequently and in small amounts).1

The Noom app tracks your meals, physical activity, and weight every day. 

But it isn’t just about cutting calories or losing weight. It’s about developing healthy eating habits and leading a healthier lifestyle. 

Noom can also help you maintain a normal weight after losing it. You can read our guide on the Noom Diet Plan to learn more about its different food groups.

How Much Does Noom Cost?

Noom is a free weight loss app. You can access the 14-day trial in two ways:

  • Donation — Pay $0.50, $5.00, $10.00, or $18.37 after signing up
  • Free Wait for the offer to expire and check your email

Noom will charge you every month, every few months, or every year when your trial ends. Prices can vary depending on what offers are available. 

You can save more money with longer subscription plans. At most, expect to pay:

  • Noom 1-month subscription — $59 
  • Noom 2-months subscription — $99
  • Noom 3-month subscription — $129
  • Noom 6-month subscription — $149
  • Noom 8-month subscription — $159
  • Noom yearly subscription — $199

These costs do not include a custom workout plan and meal plan. You have to purchase them separately for $39 to $59 each (discounted) or $80 to $100 each (regular prices).

If you sign up for the Noom Mood Program, it will cost you another $149 every 4 months. It’s designed to help you manage stress on a daily basis.2

Is Noom Effective for Weight Loss?

Yes. Studies show that nearly 82% of Noom users lost weight after 33 to 52 weeks.3 

Noom encourages you to eat more low calorie-dense foods. These are highly nutritious foods that satiate you and keep you full longer.

Foods with low calorie density contain fewer calories per serving. They make it easier to achieve a calorie deficit, which is essential to weight loss.

What Is Weight Watchers?

WW (formerly Weight Watchers) offers a new weight loss approach. It now uses a point-based system called PersonalPoints to:

  • Help you pick the right foods
  • Encourage healthy habits

Before its 2021 rebrand, Weight Watchers used to be a calorie-counting app. Users were also limited to 3 weight loss programs that they had to choose from.

How Does Weight Watchers Work?

The all-new WW lets you take a questionnaire to know more about your favorite foods and weight loss goals. Based on your answers, it creates a customized diet plan.

Every person will have their own weight loss journey, which includes:4,5

  • ZeroPoint™ Foods — A personalized list of foods rich in fibers, proteins, and unsaturated fats; but are low on sugars and saturated fats.
  • SmartPoints® Budget — The total points you can spend. WW assigns a different daily and weekly SmartPoints budget.

ZeroPoint foods are the healthiest options. The more you eat, the more points you’ll have left for other foods — including your favorites!

The WW app tracks your food, water intake, and activity. It encourages you to make healthier choices by rewarding you with extra points. These points are awarded if you:

  • Drink more water
  • Eat non-starchy vegetables
  • Increasing your physical activity

Unused daily SmartPoints will automatically roll over into your extra weekly points. WW only adds up to 4 unused points from each day.

The new Weight Watchers promotes healthy weight loss and weight maintenance by motivating you to exercise and eat low-point foods.

How Much Does Weight Watchers Cost?

WW offers several membership programs with different inclusions.

  • Digital Plan — $20 per month. Includes calorie tracking, fitness guides, food recipes, and community support from fellow WW members.
  • Digital 360 Plan — $29.95 per month. Includes the WW PersonalPoints™ Program, 24/7 live coaching, and a private one-on-one with a personal coach.
  • Workshop + Digital Plan — $45 per month. Includes everything from the Digital Plans plus in-person group meetings.
  • Personal Coaching + Digital Plan — $59.95 per month. Includes everything from the Digital Plans. But instead of in-person meetings with other local members, you get a private weekly call with a WW coach.

You can save more money if you opt for memberships that provide workshops and personal coaching services.

Is Weight Watchers Effective for Weight Loss?

Yes. Weight Watchers is scientifically proven to work. In fact, losing weight with WW produces similar results to hospital treatments.6

WW encourages you to eat foods rich in fibers, proteins, and unsaturated fats. They help you avoid foods high in sugar and saturated fats by giving them higher points.

Healthier foods (which have zero or lower points) can make you feel full longer. This reduces the amount of food you eat and your daily calorie intake. 

Calorie restriction is an important step to effective weight loss.

Noom vs. Weight Watchers Review

Below we compare the two best weight loss programs to see how they match up.

Food Logging on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: You can record the type of food you eat and its serving size. You can log up to 3 meals and 3 snacks each day — one each in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

Whenever you log food, Noom shows you:

  • The calories you consumed for each food group
  • The total calories you have consumed so far
  • How many calories you have left for the day

On WW: You can track the food you ate (including serving size) for main meals, dessert, and snacks. There are separate logs for non-starchy vegetables and water.

After you log food, WW will update your SmartPoints budget and show you:

  • The daily points you used
  • Your total remaining daily points
  • Your remaining weekly points

Noom and WW both have an extensive food database to choose from. Non-starchy vegetables and water give you extra daily points.

Exercise Logging & Fitness on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: You can log exercise and sign up for a custom exercise plan. The app has a comprehensive workout database that is constantly expanding.

Unfortunately, it can only count calories burned through workouts. It doesn’t consider other forms of physical activity, such as dog walking and doing laundry.

On WW: You can also record your exercises on the Weight Watchers app. Exercising gives you FitPoints, which can be added to your daily SmartPoint budget.

But unlike Noom which only offers paid workout plans, WW offers free challenges and paid workout programs on the app or through partners like Aaptiv.

Calorie Budget & Dieting on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: Foods are categorized into three color groups — green, yellow, and red. Noom’s color system is based on calorie density, which makes it easier to pick healthier foods.

  • Green foods are the least calorie-dense and most nutrient-dense foods. This means they are nutritious but have little to no calories.
  • Yellow foods are also low-calorie and nutrient-dense. They still have nutritional value. But they contain more calories than green foods.
  • Red foods have a high-calorie density. They have little to no nutrition but are loaded with empty calories.

Eating greens and exercising increases your daily calorie limit and allows you to eat more foods.

On WW: Foods are assigned SmartPoints based on how many calories, proteins, saturated fats, and sugar it contains. The lower the points, the healthier they are.

Zero-point foods and other low-point foods have little to no effect on your daily SmartPoints budget. Non-starchy foods, water, and exercise extend your daily total.

Aside from your daily caloric budget, WW gives you a weekly SmartPoints budget. You can spend unused daily points or add them to your weekly budget.

Unlike many weight loss diets, Noom and WW do not stop you from eating your favorite foods. As long as you stay within or eat less than your calorie limit, you’ll be able to lose weight.

Healthy Recipes on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: You get access to dozens of food recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Noom recipes include:

  • Number of servings
  • Calories per serving
  • Ingredients list
  • Calories per ingredient
  • Estimated preparation time
  • Cooking instructions

Noom also tells you how many green, yellow, and red foods the recipe contains — such as 80% green and 20% yellow.

On WW: Weight Watchers says they have over 11,000 thousand healthy recipes. You can access all of them by signing up for their Digital Plan.

WW recipes include:

  • Cooking difficulty level
  • Number of servings
  • Points per serving
  • Ingredients list
  • Estimated preparation time
  • Cooking instructions

The WW app suggests recipes with the “What’s in Your Fridge?” feature. Just type in the ingredients you have, the points you want to spend, and any food preferences.

You can customize these recipes or make your own and save them to your favorites.7

Meal Planning on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: You can get custom meal plans from a dietitian for $39 to $59 per month. If you have special dietary needs, they will consider this when planning your meals. 

Noom also has free guidelines on making your own weekly meal plans.

On WW: You can get a pre-planned 5-day meal plan together with your Digital Plan or create your own. Just add recipes from WW’s database to your meal plan, and you’re good to go.

Wellness & Coaching on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: Users get access to a virtual Noom Guide. It provides 24/7 chat support, health tips, and weekly challenges so you can stay on track with your goals.

People with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure also get additional advice on better managing their health.

Noom’s health tips are available as short articles and audiobooks, which you can read or listen to anytime. Each “mini-class” lasts for 10 to 15 minutes.

A goal specialist will regularly check in on your progress. They can make suggestions, adjust your goals, and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

On WW: Weight Watchers offers 5-minute audio coaching on their app. Like Noom, these mini-classes teach you lifestyle changes and healthy habits.

Based on your membership, you get different types of coaching:

  • Digital 360 — Members get access to pre-recorded lessons and live-stream events from WW coaches.
  • Personal coaching — A personal coach will call you weekly to provide personalized weight loss tips.

Community Support on Noom vs. WW

On Noom: Noom has dedicated groups that provide peer support and access to a group coach. Group coaches keep members motivated and accountable for their goals.

You can access these groups directly on the app. Noom users can also interact with fellow group members through posts and comments.

On WW: Digital members can connect with fellow dieters on the app or through social media. Workshop members can join in-person group meetings with a WW coach.

Group members can share tips in both settings.

Pros and Cons of Noom vs. WW

Here are the pros and cons of WW and Noom:

Noom Pros

  • The Noom Diet is easy-to-follow. All you have to do is figure out which foods belong to which color group and learn how to portion them. Once you get the hang of it, you can effortlessly make food choices without checking their guide.
  • Professional meal planning. Noom paired up with registered dietitians to provide you with customized meals. Even for an extra monthly cost, it’s a great option if you have special dietary needs.
  • Personalized health tips. Noom gives you quick lessons on nutrition, goal setting, and stress management, depending on your health and weight goals.
  • Promotes overall health. Noom’s program goes beyond diet and exercise. It also teaches you to eat mindfully. You will learn how stress affects your weight and eating habits and how to manage it.

Noom Cons

  • A bit pricey. Compared to WW, the Noom Weight Loss Program costs more.
  • The Noom Guide takes getting used to. If you don't see the app notifications, you might miss out on the health tips in the first few days.
  • You have to pair it with other fitness apps. While it lets you log exercise, there are no free exercises on Noom.

Weight Watchers Pros

  • Affordable and flexible memberships. You can spend as little as $20 to $30 per month to access most of the program’s features.
  • Better community support. Participate in Weight Watchers’ massive online community or join in-person meetings at your local city.
  • Provides free workouts. Your membership will include free access to no-equipment exercises that you can do at home.
  • Rewards healthy habits. WW gives you extra SmartPoints when you exercise, drink water, or eat non-starchy vegetables.

Weight Watchers Cons

  • SmartPoints doesn’t make it easy to choose foods. WW doesn’t group foods based on specific criteria. So you have to frequently check the app to see how many points a food has.
  • Overspending on unhealthy foods. Weight Watchers doesn’t encourage you to portion your meals. As a result, you might spend your entire calorie budget on high-point foods, which can be bad for your health.

Which is Better for Weight Loss — Noom or WW?

Both WW and Noom are equally effective for weight loss. While they limit the number of points and calories you consume each day, they don't promote overly-restrictive diets. 

You can still enjoy your favorite foods and be able to lose weight. Personally, however, I prefer Noom's habit-forming approach towards weight loss. 

The Noom Diet Plan also makes choosing healthy foods simple. Unlike the Weight Watchers SmartPoints system, you barely have to think with Noom.

The Noom program reinforces the connection between your mind and eating habits to be more mindful of your food intake.

You can read our full review of Noom to see why we recommend it.

Noom vs Weight Watchers (WW) 3

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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