March 26, 2023

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Since its inception in 2008, the Noom diet, or Noom, has quickly grown to become one of the most searched diets.
According to Noom, people who use their program and adopt a healthy lifestyle can expect to lose 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week.
However, you may wonder whether Noom is just another fad diet or an effective program for healthy, sustainable weight loss.
While I know people who use Noom on a regular basis, I decided to try the platform myself to see whether it’s a program that I’d recommend to others.
This article covers everything you need to know about Noom, including what it is and how it works, as well as what I liked and what I think could be better.
BOTTOM LINE: The Noom Diet encourages you to eat low calorie, nutrient-dense foods and monitors your progress via a mobile app. Although its well-established methods are likely effective, it focuses mostly on increasing weight loss rather than improving overall health.
Noom is a mobile app you can download to your smartphone or tablet. By focusing on behavioral changes, Noom calls itself a lifestyle, not a diet.
The app provides:
Noom offers a 14-day trial for $1 if you’d like to test it out before paying the monthly fee.
My name is Rachael, and I’m a registered dietitian and health writer with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years but otherwise don’t follow any specific diet or eliminate or avoid any other foods.
Prior to trying Noom, I had never used any other weight loss apps. However, I’m pretty familiar with counting calories and tracking food intake, a key component of Noom.
In the past, I’ve tracked my own intake using other apps, which I sometimes use to estimate the nutritional value of specific meals, foods, or diet plans.
However, before trying Noom I had little firsthand experience with many other components of the app, such as the daily lessons and group coaching.
To get started with Noom, you’ll take a simple quiz on the company’s website or directly on the app.
The quiz collects information about your age, weight, health status, and fitness goals. It also asks for details about your current diet, activity levels, and any habits or behaviors that may affect your health.
Here are a few of the questions the quiz asked me:
The app uses this information to create a custom plan for you and provide a realistic timeline for reaching your goals.
As I went through the quiz, the app adjusted my estimated timeline for reaching my target weight based on my answers.
Noom requires users to spend just a few minutes per day on the app and provides daily educational articles, tips, and activities, which you can complete at your own pace.
The app also encourages you to log your food intake, exercise, and weigh-ins and send messages to your health coach and fellow group members for added support.
You can even customize the amount of time you want to spend on Noom lessons each day and can choose from specific ranges, including:
Overall, I found getting started with the Noom app to be intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to navigate.
Noom aims to help you lose weight the same way as most other commercial diet plans and programs — by creating a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit occurs when you consistently consume fewer calories than you burn each day (1).
Noom estimates your daily calorie needs based on your sex, age, height, weight, and answers to a series of lifestyle questions.
Depending on your goal weight and time frame, Noom uses an algorithm to estimate how many calories you need to eat each day. This is known as your calorie budget.
For example, my estimated calorie budget was set to 1,320 calories per day. You can also adjust your calorie budget manually or choose a weight loss speed, which will increase or decrease your daily calorie allotment.
For safety reasons and to ensure adequate nutrition, the app does not allow a daily calorie budget below 1,200 calories for women or 1,400 calories for men (2).
Noom encourages food logging and weekly weigh-ins — two self-monitoring behaviors associated with weight loss and long-term weight loss maintenance (3, 4, 5, 6).
Noom also allows you to view an analysis of your foods as you log them throughout the day. This displays which foods are classified as red, yellow, or green; how many calories you consumed in each category; and your total calorie intake for the day.
Noom also promotes regular exercise by setting daily step goals and providing users with a generic workout guide.
Users can log their physical activity in the app, which provides an extensive list of exercises to choose from. Because I have an iPhone, Noom automatically connected directly with my Health app to display my total daily steps.
Additionally, Noom enables users to track several other measures of progress, including water intake, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Optionally, users can also enable notifications to set up meal reminders at specific times during the day.
Noom offers the following subscription plans:
If you’re confident that you’ll use Noom for more than a few months, the company’s yearly membership provides the best value at $199 per year.
Also, keep in mind that the company frequently offers discounts throughout the year.
Additionally, if you’re employed by a company that offers a workplace health and wellness program, speak with your company’s human resources department. You might receive a financial incentive to participate in wellness programs like Noom.
Still, starting at $59 per month for a recurring plan, Noom may cost more than you’re willing or able to spend.
For an additional cost, Noom offers three optional add-ons to further customize your experience.
These add-ons include:
The meal and workout plans are emailed to you in PDF format, allowing you to print them out or access the guides on your device.
Despite being called “customized,” many reviewers mention that the guides don’t feel personalized. However, the meal plans, in particular, may be useful if you have a dietary restriction, such as gluten-free or vegan.
Noom recently partnered with a Boston-based company called Orig3n, which offers a special DNA testing kit just for Noom subscribers.
The testing kit is designed to provide insights into how your genetics may influence your health.
However, while it’s thought that genetic testing may provide motivation to change health behaviors or predict effective diet or physical activity solutions, these benefits are not currently supported by research (7, 8, 9, 10).
Noom categorizes foods as green, yellow, or red based on their calorie and nutrient density. The app recommends consuming a set percentage of foods from each color category — 30% green, 45% yellow, and 25% red.
In addition to being assigned a daily calorie budget, users are allotted a specific number of calories from each category.
For example, of my total daily 1,350-calorie budget, my calorie distribution for each category was as follows:
According to the Noom website, here are examples of foods for each color (11):
Keep in mind that some foods may not necessarily fit into the categories exactly as outlined above.
For example, when logging sweet potatoes, I found that certain entries — such as grilled sweet potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, and sweet potato wedges — were classified as green foods, while other types — including mashed sweet potatoes, baked sweet potato fries, and oven-roasted sweet potatoes — were yellow foods.
Here’s an example of a 1-week meal plan using some of the foods and recipes Noom recommended for me.
Keep in mind that this meal plan isn’t applicable for everyone, as your daily calorie budget is individualized. Additionally, because I’m vegetarian, my recommended meals don’t include any meat.
The Noom app is well designed and easy to use.
I enjoyed the online quiz, which developed a customized plan based on my needs and goals and allowed me to reflect on the habits, behaviors, and environmental factors that may contribute to my eating patterns.
I also felt that the daily lessons were simple and straightforward yet informative.
Being able to select the amount of time you want to spend on these daily lessons is also very useful, especially for those who want to spend only a few minutes per day on the app.
The personal coaches were helpful and offered resources, advice, and support, which can definitely be an advantage if you have trouble staying motivated.
Additionally, the group coaches posted prompts with questions to increase engagement and foster a sense of support within the community.
However, I noticed that the app doesn’t group people with others who have similar fitness levels or health goals, which may be discouraging for some people.
When it came to logging my foods each day, I felt that the food tracker tool was somewhat cumbersome and confusing. As mentioned above, certain foods were categorized as a green food under one entry but yellow or red in others.
Similarly, I was confused about the criteria for these categories, as several foods that I logged that were low in calories and high in fiber or protein were considered red or yellow.
For example, a fiber crispbread containing just 20 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a single serving was classified as a red food. Meanwhile, my favorite spinach tortilla wraps — which provide 50 calories, 11 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein each — were yellow.
Furthermore, the amount of calories in my daily budget felt very low, especially compared with what I normally eat in a day while maintaining my weight. However, I appreciated that I was able to easily adjust this as needed to set a more realistic and sustainable goal.
After using Noom for several weeks, I felt that the app made it easier to decrease my calorie intake by categorizing foods as red, yellow, or green.
Especially when combined with its quick and easy daily lessons for developing healthy habits, I can see the simple color-coded system being helpful for promoting long-term weight loss.
Though I personally didn’t track my weight while trying the app, my mom has used Noom twice with great results. Last year, she lost about 20 pounds (9 kg) over a 4-month period.
Recently, she started using it again and has lost 10 pounds (4.5 kg) in 1 month — of course, how much weight you can or should lose will vary based on factors such as your height, weight, age, food intake, and activity level.
My mom attributes much of her success to her group and personal coach, both of whom provided motivation and support to help her stick to her diet and reach her goals.
While any reduced calorie diet plan or program can help you lose weight if you follow it, sticking with a diet is difficult for many people. In fact, most diets are unsuccessful because they’re difficult to maintain (12, 13, 14).
While research on Noom’s effectiveness is limited, one study in nearly 36,000 Noom users found that 78% experienced weight loss while using the app for an average of 9 months, with 23% experiencing more than a 10% loss, compared with their starting weight (15).
The study also found that those who tracked their diet and weight more frequently were more successful at losing weight (15).
Additionally, a study in 225 adults with binge eating disorder found Noom to be more effective at reducing the number of days participants engaged in binge eating over 52 weeks compared with standard care (16).
It’s important to note that the study above was funded in part by Noom, and several authors have conflicts of interest because they’re employed by or have equity ownership in Noom.
Overall, more comprehensive research into the program is needed.
Noom’s program emphasizes a long-term approach to weight loss. It may have several benefits over quick-fix methods.
Noom emphasizes calorie density, a measure of how many calories a food or beverage provides relative to its weight or volume.
The program categorizes foods into a color system — green, yellow, and red — based on their calorie density and nutrient concentrations.
Foods with the lowest calorie density, highest nutrient concentrations, or both are considered green. Foods with the highest calorie density, lowest nutrient concentrations, or both are labeled red. Yellow foods fall in between.
Calorie-dense foods contain a large number of calories in a small amount of food, whereas items of low calorie density have fewer calories in a large amount of food (17).
Generally, foods with low calorie density, such as fruits and vegetables, contain more water and fiber and are low in fat.
On the other hand, foods with high calorie density, such as fatty fish, meats, nut butters, sweets, and desserts, typically provide fat or added sugars but lack water and fiber.
Diets consisting mainly of foods and beverages with lower calorie density are associated with greater weight loss, reduced hunger, and a lower risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, than diets rich in foods with higher calorie density (18, 19).
Several popular diets can be restrictive by limiting certain foods or entire food groups. This can promote disordered eating or obsessive behaviors surrounding healthy or “clean” eating (20).
Noom takes the opposite approach, offering flexibility by allowing all foods to fit into your diet.
Because some more calorie-dense foods like nuts contain important nutrients, and completely eliminating desserts and other treats is neither realistic nor worthwhile, Noom doesn’t forbid these items but encourages consuming less of them.
The program does this to help you stay within or near your daily calorie budget.
Noom’s library of recipes also helps you determine which foods and recipes are appropriate for you based on any food allergies or intolerances you may have.
Losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle goes beyond what and how much you eat.
It’s also about forming new healthy behaviors, reinforcing the healthy habits you already have, and breaking any unhealthy patterns that sabotage your goals (21).
Without making behavioral changes, people tend to regain any weight lost with a reduced calorie over time — and often gain more than they initially lost (22).
In fact, in a review of 29 long-term weight loss studies, people gained back 33% of their initial weight loss at 1 year, on average, and 79% after 5 years (23).
Recognizing that behavioral change is difficult, Noom uses a psychology-based curriculum that encourages self-efficacy — the belief in your ability to execute the habits that are necessary to reach your goals (24).
In this way, Noom may better equip you with the tools and education necessary to make the behavioral changes that underlie successful long-term weight loss maintenance.
Indeed, one study found that 78% of nearly 36,000 Noom users sustained their weight loss over 9 months. It’s unclear whether weight loss is sustained after this time (15).
While Noom is an excellent, comprehensive tool you can use to help you reach your health goals, there are a few things to keep in mind about the app.
Specifically, it’s important to be aware that tracking your food and calorie intake, whether through Noom or another program, may promote disordered eating patterns, such as food anxiety and excessive calorie restriction (25).
Noom is strictly a technology-based, virtual platform available only on mobile devices.
This makes the program unavailable if you don’t have a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
Even if you do have a mobile device, you may not be able to readily access the internet due to limited Wi-Fi or cellular data options.
Noom offers a virtual support team to hold you accountable and assist with goal setting.
All communication with Noom’s health coaches is conducted through a messenger system on the Noom app.
Research has shown that receiving regular health coaching — whether virtually or in person — is effective for weight loss and other health-related goals like stress management (26, 27, 28, 29).
However, you may prefer face-to-face rather than virtual coaching sessions. If this is the case, you might intentionally limit or avoid communication with Noom’s health coaches and thus not experience the program’s full weight loss benefits.
In fact, two studies in people with prediabetes showed that higher engagement with coaches and educational articles in the Noom app was significantly associated with weight loss (30, 31).
Keep in mind that one of these studies was funded by the company.
As with most diets that focus on calorie reduction, there’s a chance that you may regain the weight you lost once your diet ends (23).
While Noom encourages making sustainable lifestyle changes, some users may find their new habits difficult to maintain without ongoing accountability.
Additionally, given that foods are categorized based on their calorie content, some foods that are higher in calories may actually be beneficial for maintaining your weight.
For example, nuts and nut butters are considered “red” foods, as they are calorie-dense due to their high fat content.
However, eating healthy, high fat foods — including nuts — has been shown to aid weight loss and maintenance (32, 33).
Noom requires coaches to have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree with 2,000 hours of related wellness experience.
The company also offers a training program and encourages coaches to take an exam to become a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Noom coaches are not qualified to take the place of a registered dietitian or doctor.
Additionally, if you have any underlying health conditions like type 2 diabetes or kidney disease, you should talk to a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet.
Noom is focused mostly on promoting weight loss by reducing your calorie intake rather than helping you make healthy food choices.
However, weight loss is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to health.
In fact, many other factors are just as important, including maintaining your mental health, getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly, and managing your stress levels.
Although Noom does offer some advice and educational resources on these topics, it’s not designed to specifically address these other pillars of health.
Additionally, many nutritious and health-promoting foods are categorized as yellow or red, implying that these foods are less healthy or should be limited as part of a balanced diet.
While Noom does emphasize that all foods can fit into a healthy diet, the color-coding system and categorization of foods may still give some users the impression that calorie content is the most important factor to consider when building a balanced diet.
Trying to “do it right” when it comes to nutrition may feel tempting, but it can backfire. If you are preoccupied with food or your weight, feel guilt surrounding your food choices, or routinely engage in restrictive diets, consider reaching out for support. These behaviors may indicate a disordered relationship with food or an eating disorder.
Disordered eating and eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender identity, race, age, socioeconomic status, or other identities.
They can be caused by any combination of biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors — not just by exposure to diet culture.
Feel empowered to talk with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, if you’re struggling.
You can also chat, call, or text anonymously with trained volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Association helpline for free or explore the organization’s free and low cost resources.
Noom is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating from the organization.
The app is also highly rated by users, with many noting that Noom is user-friendly and effective. In fact, at the time this article is being published, Noom has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, which is based on 57,815 reviews.
Positive reviews note that the program provides plenty of guidance, support, and motivation and is effective for long-term weight loss.
On the other hand, less favorable reviews report issues with the functionality of the food tracker and the app itself, as well as dissatisfaction with the responsiveness and level of support offered by the personal coaches.
Additionally, Noom was recently involved in a lawsuit, which alleged that the auto-renewal practices used by the company were illegal and deceptive and purposely made it difficult for users to cancel their subscriptions.
The lawsuit was settled in 2022 for $62 million. According to the co-founders of the company, Noom has since revised its billing and subscription practices in response to the lawsuit (34).
Noom may be a good option for people who are trying to lose weight but are unsure how to get started.
It also offers a good amount of support from both the coaches and other group members, which might be appealing for those who need extra motivation to stay on track.
Additionally, because many of the daily lessons focus on building healthy habits, it may be a more sustainable alternative to fad diets and other short-term solutions.
However, people who regularly cook homemade meals may find logging each individual ingredient on the app to be tedious and inconvenient.
The selection of foods available on the app is also somewhat limited, especially if you regularly enjoy cuisines from a variety of cultures or use ingredients in your cooking that are less common in the United States.
Noom also provides very low calorie recommendations. Though you can adjust this manually, the amount of calories the app recommends may not be suitable for people who are very active or have increased calorie needs.
If you’re unsure how many calories you should consume each day, I recommend reaching out to a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian.
Many popular weight loss plans have several similarities to Noom.
Here’s a closer look at how Noom stacks up against two of its main competitors: Nutrisystem and WW (formerly Weight Watchers).
Noom and WW are two of the most popular diet programs. Both offer simple, user-friendly mobile apps and promote weight loss by encouraging healthy food choices and lifestyle changes.
However, there are also several differences that set them apart.
Susanne Arthur, senior editor for Psych Central, has a unique perspective, as she’s tried both programs firsthand.
Arthur first joined WW in 2014 based on a friend’s recommendation and was able to reach and maintain her goal weight for a year, thanks to the accountability and support she found by attending weekly in-person meetings.
Arthur says she continued using the WW app for several years on and off before moving to Iceland, which rendered many useful features of the app, such as the barcode scanner, useless. Additionally, without the in-person meetings, she found that WW wasn’t as beneficial.
Arthur joined Noom in August 2021 and says that several features of the app are very helpful, including its intuitive design, the ability to set your own speed for weight loss, and the support from a personal coach.
However, she points out that some of the features available in the WW app are lacking with Noom, including the ability to plan meals in advance.
Furthermore, while Noom’s group feature can be useful, Arthur also mentions that the WW in-person meetings made it easier to feel motivated and engaged.
Arthur says, “I think, for me at least, online support alone only goes so far. It is a supportive tool, but there can be a lot of challenges as well. I believe in order for me to be successful, I’d need in-person support. So I think if WW were available in Iceland with in-person meetings, I’d go back to that and prefer WW over Noom.”
For a detailed comparison of WW and Noom to help you decide which is right for you, check out our comprehensive article.
Noom emphasizes choosing foods with a low calorie density, which may be an effective strategy for weight loss (18, 19).
According to one study, Noom was effective at promoting weight loss in 78% of users. However, whether Noom will work for you depends on many factors, including your diet and activity level (15).
Noom focuses more on behavioral changes and lifestyle modifications to promote weight loss, which may be a better option for some people.
On the other hand, WW offers several plans that are more flexible and offer varying levels of support, which could be an important consideration for others.
According to Noom, users can expect to lose an average of 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week while using the app, though this may depend on several factors, including your diet, lifestyle, health status, and activity level.
Noom is an app you can access using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.
The app may help people lose weight by promoting low calorie, nutrient-dense foods and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes.
If its cost, accessibility, and virtual-style health coaching don’t sway your decision, Noom may be worth a try.
Get started with Noom
Interested in trying Noom? We can help!
You’ll begin by answering a few questions about your current lifestyle to help your coach create custom meal and fitness plans.
Last medically reviewed on April 11, 2022



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