What You Should Know About the Noom Diet, According to a Nutritionist

This popular weight-loss plan allows you to set personal goals and encourages long-term healthy behaviors.

Apps have become common tools to help us navigate life, with options geared toward weight loss popping up consistently. 

One of those weight loss apps, Noom, has been around since 2013. Noom is designed to foster healthy habits and shed weight long-term by focusing on food choices and the psychology behind our eating behaviors. 

Here's everything you should know about Noom—including how it works, if it's healthy, and whether it can help with weight loss—to help you decide if it's worth a try.

What Is Noom?

As it turns out, there's a lot to like about Noom. In addition to providing eating plans, Noom allows users to:

  • Log meals
  • Access workout plans
  • Track exercise and progress
  • Rate your motivation level
  • Read articles
  • Search recipes
  • Set goals
  • Receive support from a personal health coach—although those coaches aren't necessarily registered dietitian nutritionists
  • Connect with a group of peers with similar goals

Noom even addresses emotional eating and how stress and boredom affect eating decisions. Some evidence suggests that being bored may lead to overconsumption.

What Can You Eat on the Noom Diet Plan?

The goal of Noom is to help you find a new normal that's healthy and maintainable long-term.

Another positive aspect of Noom for many people is that it doesn't ban any foods. Instead, the app encourages eating more nutrient-dense foods labeled green on the app. For example, fresh produce counts as nutrient-dense foods. 

In contrast, Noom recommends minimizing the portions or frequency of yellow-tagged foods (proteins and starches) and orange-tagged foods (pizza, fried foods, candy, and alcohol). 

In a nutshell, Noom offers a lot of bells and whistles not available with many other weight loss approaches. For example, it emphasizes behavior change rather than a quick fix that's likely to fizzle out with time. 

However, the way the foods are tagged is somewhat different than the 2020-2025 US Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

For example, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are labeled green. In contrast, lean proteins and low-fat dairy, which can be good for your health, are tagged yellow on the app. What's more, healthy fats—like olive oil, nuts, and nut butter—are classified as orange.

Also, the app is costly. You can download the app for free and test it out with a short trial. But as of 2022, a full membership is about $50 per month and is designed to last 16 weeks (four months). Noom also offers additional services for extra costs, like customized workout and meal plans.

Benefits of the Noom Diet App

One of the benefits of Noom is the daily support it offers members. In other cases, you may only communicate with a registered dietitian nutritionist or health coach once every week or two. 

Waiting an entire week between consultations can be very challenging when you're eating 21 to 35 (or more) meals and snacks in between sessions. In contrast, some evidence suggests that using an app combined with regular support and feedback may promote more significant weight loss for participants.

Another positive feature is that Noom addresses social eating and allows you to plan for parties, holidays, or vacations. You can practice that behavioral change to help maintain weight loss. 

Making healthy behavior changes over time—instead of a quick fix approach or drastic changes in food choices—is more likely to help keep weight off.

And while not inexpensive, Noom likely costs less than working individually with a registered dietitian nutritionist unless your insurance plan entirely covers nutrition services.

Noom Diet Reviews

In terms of outcomes, one review published in 2016 in Scientific Reports found that almost 80% of people successfully lost weight while using the app. Those who logged their eating and weights more frequently lost more weight than those who logged less regularly.

According to Noom, 64% of people who completed the program (meaning they completed nine or more lessons weekly on core weeks) lost over 5% body weight after 24 weeks.

One of the potential downsides to using Noom is that the recommended tracking can be time-consuming, cumbersome, and stressful for some people. Or if you're trying to spend less time on your phone, Noom may not be the best weight loss approach.

Also, if you have any special dietary needs, working directly with a specialist may be better than using Noom. Registered dietitian nutritionists have special knowledge of food sensitivities, allergies, and chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They are also trained in both clinical nutrition and weight loss.

On the App Store, Noom has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, based on over 730,000 reviews. Among those reviews, you may see mixed feedback. 

Some people love the app and have positive experiences. In contrast, others complain that canceling isn't simple. And some say they could have been happier with the content or coaching. 

For example, some noted that the coaching messages seemed automated, and others weren't thrilled with the accessibility of the coaching. Another complaint involved the lack of food in the tracking database. 

Before signing up, it's worth taking the time to read some of those Noom reviews. While the Noom app provides support, users ultimately must make their eating and exercise decisions. So, the app may be a virtual version of a spontaneously ordered treadmill that soon becomes an expensive clothes hanger. 

In other words, you need to be motivated and engaged to benefit. That also means how much weight you lose and how quickly you lose it are determined by you. An app is simply a tool.

A Quick Review

Noom is one of many apps on the market to help support weight loss. The goal is to lose weight in a healthy, nutritionally balanced way with gradual lifestyle changes to help keep the weight off long-term.

Knowing what strategies and tools help motivate and support you are important when choosing a weight loss approach. Keep your healthcare provider in the loop when starting a weight loss program to ensure it's safe for you.

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