Everything you need to know about the Noom diet

Apps such as Noom encourage people to self-monitor their weight loss on a regular basis. One 2017 study found that people who frequently and consistently record their dietary habits experience more consistent and long-term weight loss.

However, self-monitoring weight loss is a practice that tends to decrease quickly over time. To prevent this, the Noom app provides features to motivate self-monitoring.

These features include access to a health coach and access to a social platform, where people can discuss their weight loss challenges and successes with other users.

Research into the Noom app

In 2016, some researchers conducted a study of the effectiveness of the Noom app. The study analyzed data from Noom users who recorded their diet at least twice per month for 6 months.

Of 35,921 Noom users, 77.9% reported a reduction in body weight while using the app. The researchers found that users who monitored their weight and dietary habits more frequently experienced more consistent weight loss.

A separate study, also from 2016, used Noom to deliver a diabetes prevention program (DPP) to 43 participants with prediabetes. At the start of the study, each participant had either overweight or obesity. The purpose of the study was to investigate the efficacy of the DPP in promoting weight loss among the participants.

The participants had experienced significant weight loss by week 16 and week 24 of using the DPP. Of the 36 participants who completed the study, 64% lost more than 5% of their body weight.

However, one limitation of the study is that it did not compare the Noom diet with any other app or diet. It is therefore difficult to know whether or not the Noom diet is more effective than other weight loss strategies.

Group Chats

Again, nothing hard here, you do as much or as little as you like in this section. There is a group coach who moderates the group. She posts regular prompts to get us talking but people also post their successes, struggles, healthy meals, workouts achieved, milestones reached, and ask questions when they need help. Some days I go through and reply to several posts at once, some weeks I just read and don’t think to comment. I really liked the times when someone shared a struggle and we, as a group, brainstormed ways the person could handle the issue. I felt it was a really respectful and supportive way to get ideas or see how others handled that problem.

Searchable Noom Recipes

Oddly enough I didn’t use the recipes all that much, even though we have been cooking a lot. They look good and the app is easy to use, but I just happened to get recipes from other places.

Saved Articles Folder

I loved this feature and in hindsight I wish I used it more. I’d love the ability to search previously read articles. They are still in each day’s menu after you read them but in order to go back to one to review it, you either have to have clicked save or you have to remember what day it was. I wish I could search for key words from the days I really liked. There were a couple days where I’d have an off day and I thought, Oh I need to review that one article but I didn’t save it.

Help Section

I didn’t need it. The main questions seem to be pretty basic app questions as well as how to cancel your free trial, which as I said above, I had no need for. I knew this was the program for me, and truth be told, if I’d have done the trial and cancelled and gone back to my normal habits, then I know I would have gained that “one more pound” so I didn’t give myself the option.

Canceling Noom Account

Noom doesn’t want you to be a lifelong member. You can use it for life, but they’re not trying to get you to use it for life. They want you to break your bad habits, develop new healthy habits and move on.

Each Noom program lasts for a set number of weeks depending on your goal and the program chosen. You pay for that program all at once. Then if you finish your program and want to continue it will bill you for another session. If you want to be done at the end of your first program, just let you coach know.

I messaged mine about a month before my program ended and I asked her to set the cancellation date at the last day that I have paid for. I did it so far in advance because I didn’t space out and forget. But I still had full access until that date. When my coach submitted it, the system sent me record of the scheduled cancellation right in the app chat window. They also have a Noom Customer Support Page for any additional questions or issues, but I never needed it.

Easy peasy.

And that is the point. Like I said, they actually help you develop long term habits that do not rely on the app. You don’t need to become a lifetime member of noom.

My Noom App Results

I started Noom in September 2017 with an awesome group of “noomers” so it has actually been pretty cool now that 16 weeks has gone by, to see everyone celebrating all the weight they lost- even though we all did it during the holidays!!!

Here is my Noom Weight Loss Chart, to which I have added some fun icons to show where the holidays fell. According to Noom, 64% of users lose 5% or more of their body weight, and 60% maintain the loss for one year or more. I am one of those users for sure!So there is my chart, starting in September around my birthday, going to Jan 4th. It has ups and downs, as you can see. On previous diets I would have viewed these ups as failures but because this is not a diet, and because of the coaching and behavior education I can instead see them as just another day in my weight loss experience.

It may not be as impressive as Brandy or Cobie, but while on Noom I lost 17 pounds. That was 1 pound more than my pre-set goal weight, and many of my groupmates have lost quote a bit more in the same time. 13 pounds over 16 weeks is typical.

You can see above that I did go back up over Christmas but considering my previous routine of plowing right through the holidays towards a bigger size in jeans, and considering how equipped I am to stay on track, I am pretty much fine with that- AND ready to keep going.

I have made so many improvements, I feel better, happier, my back pain is gone. I have better self esteem and I know how to handle my triggers.

I have control again. And that is my result.

2019 Update: It’s been a year since I started and I am happy to report that I am BELOW my Noom goal weight. I could not be more ecstatic with these changes. I still use my Noom Food List Cheat Sheets as reminders of my go-to favorite foods of each color. I still log my foods, but when you stop paying for noom, you only have access to the logging portions (no Goal Experts, Group or Daily Lessons).

If you started today and lost 1-2 pounds per week, where would you be by Thanksgiving, by Christmas, by New Years?

Ready to check it out? Take their quick quiz, it’s the first step.

Have you already used Noom? Would you like to share your story or before and after photos? Send an email to info @ lalymom . com. (Take out the spaces.)

Thank you for reading my 2018 Noom Coach Review and Results, I hope it helps you on your journey!

Share Your Noom Success Story in the comments below.

Note: I do not work for Noom so I can’t answer questions about your account. You’ll have better luck if you head to Noom Customer Support Page.

I tried to add my Noom review video at the top, but in case it didn’t show up, here is the video review as well:

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Apps have become a mainstream part of living more healthfully. Just think about it: There are apps built in to smart phones that help you track activity levels (perhaps prompting you to move a bit more), apps designed to help you track what you eat, apps to guide you through workouts and meditations, and more. While there are a sea of apps to help you put healthier habits in place, Noom, which touts itself as “the last weight loss program you’ll ever need” is getting considerable attention. Case in point: Noom was one of the top-searched diet terms on Google in 2018.

Is Noom really the last weight loss program you’ll ever need? How does it work and who is it suitable for? Here’s what you need to know.

How Noom Works

The app takes a behavioral approach to weight loss in order to “trick” your body into building healthier habits. Noom promotes their coaches — supposedly real people (though not registered dietitians) — who help you set achievable goals and keep you accountable.

When you get started, you’ll answer a series of online questions to address your current weight, health concerns and lifestyle (like whether you cook or dine out more, and whether you sit at a desk most of the day). From there, you’ll be assigned a coach and given eating recommendations, as well as have access to built-in tools to help you track your fitness, food, blood pressure and blood sugar. Much of the advice comes in the form of short tips and quizzes, which, according to reviews, can be both helpful and overwhelming. If you find the on-boarding process cumbersome, this may not be the program for you, since the rest of the content on the platform is set up in a similar fashion.

Noom’s nutrition philosophy

The nutrition advice is based on the idea of calorie density, which was also popularized in the book Volumetrics. Low calorie (or low energy) density refers to foods that have few calories for the amount you eat (or the weight of a given food). Noom divides food into one of three categories: red, green or yellow. No foods are off limits, but it’s suggested that you limit the number of red foods you eat, while you’re encouraged to eat more yellow and green foods.

The Pros

It’s scientifically validated

Noom has been scientifically studied (although minimally) and shown to help people lose weight and keep it off. In one study among almost 36,000 people who were Noom users, almost 80 percent reported weight loss while using the app for a median of 267 days. Among the group, certain behaviors promoted better results: Tracking dinner was an especially effective strategy, while tracking overall calories, activity and weight weren’t far behind.

A second, much (much!) smaller study among just 43 overweight and obese Noom participants found that the plan led to a 5 percent loss of body weight — an amount that sounds small, but it’s been tied to really meaningful health improvements. Again, weekly weigh ins and meals logged were the main predictors of success.

No food is off limits

Noom is totally inclusive of any food you want to eat, so if you want an apple pie a la mode, you can have it. You might get a tiny note on your food tracker telling you that you’ve gone over your portion limit for red foods, but you’ll also receive encouraging words for tracking at all.

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The Cons

Several red flags jump out at me. Here are some to keep in mind.

The food categories are flawed

I’m all for encouraging fruit and veggie consumption, but the calorie density approach doesn’t take into account how filling, delicious and healthful many high-calorie dense foods are. Nuts, seeds, olives and avocados — along with their butters and oils — all supply protective plant compounds that help lower the inflammatory process, thereby lowering your risk of disease. These same foods as part of a healthful eating pattern have also been linked with improvements in body weight and waist measurements, and they may make it easier to prevent weight gain, which is a huge step toward aging healthfully.

And in my experience, people enjoy the green-light foods so much more when they’re served with these plant-based fats. Wouldn’t you rather have a salad with some crunch from nuts, creaminess from avocado, and a delicious dressing made with extra virgin olive oil compared to a salad with crunch from carrots and a sparse dressing? Granted, you can have either with Noom, but putting healthful fats in the red zone is misleading and may lead you to unnecessarily restrict them.

Reviews online are mixed

Many people complain that the coaching is inconsistent (and some say practically non-existent) and that the responses feel canned. People also complain that the database lacks many foods, is unreliable, and that tracking food on this plan is a big pain. That’s a big drawback given that tracking is integral to this program’s success (according to the research). There are also a notable number of complaints about canceling the program.

Health coaches don’t have the same qualifications as registered dietitians

I don’t like to knock any program or plan that makes people feel mentally and physically healthier. However, I will point out that there’s a huge difference in education and training between a health coach and an RD. If you have any food sensitivities, medical concerns, or other roadblocks to eating better (including lifestyle issues, like business travel or inexperience cooking), you’d be better off working one on one with someone who can help you discover what works best for your unique body and circumstances.

On top of that, based on reviews, the health coaching is really over billed. Among the common complaints: people felt like they were talking to a chat bot instead of a person; the coaching support is superficial; coaches aren’t available 24/7 and often leave you hanging.

When I tried the app, I asked a few questions and felt like responses were slow and vague. For example, on day one I asked, “How come I can’t find my food log?” and on day two, I got a response that said, “As we begin the journey, I want to point out one opportunity to get closer to your Super Goal: meal logging!” There was no further explanation on how to find the food log, which I eventually found on my own.

Calories might dip too low

In one online review, a reviewer said the app recommended an 1,100 calorie diet. This is too low to get all of the nutrients you need to thrive. Though the reviewer said she got used to this calorie level, most people would find this amount to be severely restrictive and limiting and I would never advise anyone to eat this few calories. In my case, the app suggested 1,200 calories, which is also too low.

While tracking can be an effective tool, studies also indicate that you don’t need to count calories if you stick to a few basic principles: Eat more whole foods, eat more veggies, and eat fewer processed foods and sugary foods.

Bottom line

A lot of reviewers found the program helpful, and if you’re someone who likes app-based learning and doesn’t mind tracking your food and hopping on the scale, you might also find it useful.

However, many people find tracking every last bite annoying! Even WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) has a wide range of zero-point foods that don’t need to be tracked, reducing the number of foods that do require tracking and making this task a little less daunting.

If you’ve ever had disordered eating behavior, this wouldn’t be an appropriate program, despite the emphasis on the behavioral components. Truthfully, I found some of the prompts condescending or insensitive. For example, a prompt to hop on the scale: “Now that you’ve weighed yourself (wait, you still haven’t? What would Michael Jordan say? Just do it. Right now. We’ll wait…)” Tracking food and monitoring your weight can be triggering so you’d be better off working one on one with someone who could provide meaningful support and guidance.

Noom has a lot of bells and whistles, but you may not need all of them, and you may get tired of the reading material and quiz format after a while. As I mentioned, there are plenty of apps that help you track food, weigh ins, activity levels, and that support mindful eating, and many of them don’t cost a penny. If you’re in it for the support, read the reviews online before you subscribe. This part of the program seemed to receive the most complaints.


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My own (small, but noteworthy!) bone to pick with Noom is about the language used to encourage and inspire behavior change. The iTunes description alone gives me some pause because of phrases like “‘trick’ your body,” and “master your triggers.” From both a clinical opinion and as a consumer, these words sound ever-so-slightly shy of condescension.

Using language that make you feel as though you’re doing something wrong or abnormal (requiring a “fix”) makes me question the execution of the app at large. We’re living, breathing humans with real feelings and real biological needs — not some technology software that needs an “update” in order to hack our health.

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The Bottom Line

Since Noom does encourage habit formation and there are some real, substantial benefits to the behavior-change-for-life systems used to help guide you, in my opinion it might be worth doing the 14-day trial period. (You can cancel at any point during the two weeks without getting charged, as long as you don’t purchase any subscriptions within the app itself.)


That said, if for any reason you feel as though the the app’s content or coaching platforms trigger feelings of shame or unworthiness, it’s time to consciously unsubscribe. Using apps for accountability may be helpful for some people, though I can’t guarantee it will universally work for everyone — especially since achieving better health and weight loss is highly dependent on your personal taste and health goals. Knowing what works for you versus what seemingly works for everyone else can be tricky to navigate on a platform you’re paying for. Better health and weight loss requires you to be in the driver’s seat about the changes you make to reach your goals — within the framework of your own personal boundaries, be it emotional, physical, or psychological. Remember that, and you’re already on the right path to better health for life.

This story was originally published in January 2019; it was reviewed and updated by GH’s health reporting team in January 2020.

Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute Director, Nutrition Lab A registered dietitian with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, Jaclyn “Jackie” London handles all of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition-related content, testing, and evaluation.

I will talk about what I eat on Noom, but first I want to mention the tricky part about telling people what foods to eat on Noom.

You see, the Noom weight loss app doesn’t TELL you what to eat. They do have an optional add-on where they can create a 2 week meal plan for you (I tried it, and it had some great examples of what to eat, but I just found I’m not a fan of following meal plans.) But generally you have to plan your own meals. The thing that makes Noom different from every other program I’ve tried is the behavior modification program.

Any program out there that has specific meal plans to follow, specific pills to take, special shakes to make, or even food groups to cut out…they all overlook one thing. Your behavior.

You can do ALL those things, and lose all the weight. BUT THEN WHAT?

When you stop, or have to maintain those things for life, you are still left with the bad habits that led to gaining weight in the first place.

So I know everyone always wants the specifics foods of a diet, but Noom Coach isn’t really even about specific foods. It’s about forming good habits when choosing foods. And then keeping those habits for life.

Because that is what we all want isn’t it?! We want to live a healthy LIFE. For a lifetime.

So whatever choice you make about your weight loss journey going forward, ask yourself:

  • Are you really going to make shakes or take pills for the rest of your life?
  • Are you really going to follow those strict food guidelines for the rest of your life?
  • What will you eat when it’s time to stop that plan?
  • What will you do at social gatherings or holiday parties?
  • What will you do when you don’t have access to the pills, shakes or specific foods?

This is why I think Noom is so powerful. It’s meant to give you the knowledge and ability to make healthy choices for life. And you deserve that!!

What is the Noom Diet and What do you Eat on Noom?

Okay okay okay. Healthy habits for the rest of your life, yeah yeah, yodda yodda. You still want to know what to eat, though, don’t you?!

I’ll give you a quick overview of the Noom Diet Plan, and then some examples of a day in the life of a Noomer.

  • No foods are off-limits.
  • Foods are all classified using a red-yellow-green food system. Like a traffic light.
  • Nutrient-dense foods are encouraged, they are your green foods.
  • Proteins and starches are limited, they are yellow.
  • Foods higher in fat and empty calories, especially things like pizza, candy, alcohol are red. While pretty limited, red foods are part of your allotment every day! You are just learning to balance them and eat them in moderation.

I will tell you that the first week when I logged my food in Noom…they were ALL red. All. Every one.

But that was okay. I think it was a vitally important part of my success to see that the foods I was currently eating were responsible for my weight. And if I changed my daily eating habits, I could lose weight.

Imagine taking a picture of the food you ate this week, and taking of picture of what you look like today. (When I did this, I seriously burst into tears.)

At the end of your Noom program, imagine taking another picture of all the foods you ate that week, and a picture of what you look like. (Okay fine, more tears but this time, happy tears.)

The journey that I made from day one to the last day seemed incremental, but the changes that I instilled for life were huge.

So when I started logging my food on Noom, my day looked like this:

  • Breakfast – 2 slices of cheese, as an afterthought as I made the kids’ school lunches
  • Morning Snack – More cheese maybe? Or nothing at all?
  • Lunch – Just whatever I could grab from the fridge and eat super quick, probably some deli meat, and more cheese..hey that’s most of a sandwich after all!
  • Afternoon snack – Handfuls of whatever the kids were eating, leftover snacks from the kids’ plates after they were done
  • Dinner – We ordered takeout a lot and I would stake my claim, eating half of everything my husband and I shared, despite the fact that he is 7 inches taller than me. I never considered how odd that was until Noom.
  • Evening – Wine

After using the Noom App it started to look more like this:

  • Breakfast – Better Oats brand instant oatmeal (yellow) with blueberries (green) and a small dab of almond butter (red)
  • Morning Snack – An apple or cucumber slices (both green) with hummus (yellow)
  • Lunch – I liked to make a sheet pan meal once per week and eat a little for lunch each day. I am not a great chef so it was usually veggies (green) I could just dump onto the sheet pan with a simple protein (yellow or red), salt, pepper, olive oil. Or I would have my leftovers from the Meal Delivery Dinners from the previous night.
  • Afternoon Snack – I learned to eat this before the kids get home from school so I’m not tempted to eat any of theirs – Smoothie with a banana, frozen fruit, chia seeds and water. You can make whatever kind you like but you can usually find all green ingredients to make them.
  • Dinner – Dinner used to be tough, partly due to my husbands taste preferences, but meal delivery kits made dinner SO much easier for me in terms of eating healthy. I talk more about it in my post Meal Delivery Kits for Weight Loss, but I would eat a half portion or whole portion of a meal delivery kit meal, from somewhere like Sun Basket or Hello Fresh. I also no longer feel the need to eat the same portion as my husband but that was a hard habit to break.
  • Evening – If I had room left in my daily Noom allotment then I might have a glass of wine.

As time went on I started to develop some favorite go-to foods for each color. But other weeks I had a hard time thinking of foods to get to satisfy my yellow or green foods.

I decided I needed to keep a handy list of my Favorite Noom Foods, so I made myself some printables.

They really don’t mean anything if you don’t actually JOIN NOOM and get your custom weight loss plan.

But if you are going to join Noom, go ahead and grab a copy of my Noom Food List Cheat Sheets.

I hope this helps to understand more about what foods are allowed on Noom, and what the Noom Diet consists of.

And most importantly I hope you take the step to commit to yourself and Join Noom Today.

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What Is the Noom Diet? A Nutritionist Explains

As apps become routine tools to help us navigate life, new options geared toward weight loss keep popping up. One, called Noom, is designed to foster healthier habits and shed weight long-term. The Noom diet was one of the most searched-for diets over the past year, and it continues to be trendy. Here is my take on Noom: how it works, if it’s healthy, and whether it can really help with weight loss.

There’s a lot to like about Noom. In addition to providing eating plans designed by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), Noom allows users to log meals, access workout plans and track exercise, read articles, search recipes, set goals, receive support from a personal health coach (note: not RDNs), rate your motivation level, track progress, and connect with a group of peers with similar goals. It even addresses emotional eating, and how factors like stress and boredom may impact eating decisions.

RELATED: What Is the Dubrow Diet—and Should You Try It?

Another positive of Noom for many people is that it doesn’t ban any food. Rather, it encourages eating more nutrient-dense foods (labeled green), such as fresh produce, and minimizing the portions and/or frequency of yellow-tagged (proteins, starches) and red-tagged foods (the latter being pizza, candy, alcohol, and the like).

In a nutshell, Noom offers a lot of bells and whistles not available with many other weight loss approaches. I also like that it emphasizes behavior change, rather than a quick fix that’s likely to fizzle out. The goal of the program seems to be to help you find a new normal that’s healthy and has stick-with-it-ness.

But it’s not cheap. While you can download the app for free and test it out in a short trial, a membership runs about $50 per month and is designed to last 16 weeks, or four months. The app also offers additional services for extra costs, like customized workout and meal plans.

In my experience counseling clients one-on-one, I see potential pros and cons to Noom. On the pro side, many of the people I counsel greatly benefit from daily support. Waiting an entire week between consultations can be extremely challenging when you’re eating 21 to 35 or more meals in between. For that reason, I often ask my clients to track their intake with an app like My Fitness Pal, and give me permission to view their journals. Others send me daily texts or email dairies. I have found that this kind of daily support and feedback can have a tremendous impact on success.

RELATED: The Scandi Sense Diet Is Supposed to Be the Simplest Diet in the World—Here’s What a Nutritionist Thinks

Another pro is that Noom addresses social eating and allows you to do things like plan ahead for events—like a party, holiday, or vacation. This is also something I address with clients that fosters true long-term behavior change. And while not inexpensive, Noom likely costs less than working individually with a dietitian, unless the latter is entirely covered by your insurance plan.

In terms of outcomes, one review found that the majority of participants successfully lose weight, particularly if they log their eating and weights more frequently. According to Noom, 64% of users lose 5% or more of their body weight, and 60% maintain the loss for one year or more.

On the con side, many of my clients dislike tracking, and find it to be cumbersome and stressful. Some are also trying to spend less time on their phones, not more, and fare better with IRL counseling and support. Also, if you have any kind of special dietary needs, such as food sensitivities or allergies, or chronic conditions like IBS, I think it’s best to work directly with an RDN, as a dietitian’s training includes both clinical nutrition and weight loss.

RELATED: How to Figure Out Exactly How Many Calories You Need to Lose Weight, According to a Nutritionist

After searching for Noom reviews online, I found mixed feedback. Some people seem to love the app and have positive experiences. Others complain that canceling isn’t so simple, or that they weren’t happy with the content or coaching provided. 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 foods in the tracking database. Before signing up, it’s definitely worth taking the time to read some reviews for yourself.

Finally, while the app provides support, the user ultimately has to make his or her own eating and exercise decisions. So the app may very well wind up like a virtual version of a spontaneously ordered treadmill that soon becomes nothing more than an expensive clothes hanger. In other words, you really do need to be motivated and engaged in order to benefit. That also means how much weight you lose, and how quickly you lose it are really determined by you. The app is simply a tool.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

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I tried weight-loss app Noom for three months—here’s what happened

What are the downsides to Noom?

Noom isn’t perfect. As mentioned before, the articles and quizzes have a particular language to them that some people may find off-putting. While I think Noom falls on the right side of the line as a whole, the occasional message, quiz answer, or button language made me roll my eyes. They work hard to avoid being condescending, but you can see all that effort at work.

Food logging is inherently annoying and, while Noom’s interface is a better-than-average one, it’s always a pain when the database doesn’t include the food you want to log. It’s frustrating to scan a UPC code and get a message asking you to enter that food manually, which usually happened whenever I bought an item that Trader Joe’s just launched. Entering in meals from non-chain restaurants is also bothersome, and the best course of action is to reverse-engineer your meal and guesstimate the portions of each ingredient in your serving (though this happens on any food-logging app). Or, as I’ve done, pick a similar-looking choice already entered in the database, which is why I logged a meal at a make-your-own taco bar as “street tacos.”

It’s also impossible to edit a custom meal once you’ve added it, which drives me mad. The one help message I’ve sent to Noom asked how I could fix a typo in my custom recipe, and I have yet to receive a reply. So, on nights I make it, I add “puttanesca dauce” to my food log and wonder if there’s any kind of diet that can fix fat fingers.

How does Noom compare to other diet plans?

How the Noom app looks on a typical phone. Noom

It’s impossible not to compare Noom to the similar WW, which also offers guidelines that designate foods into groups. (I haven’t tried WW myself, but I asked a coworker who has.) In WW’s case, it uses points rather than colors; zero-point foods being akin to Noom’s “green” food group. With WW, there’s some mental math involved counting points on the fly—with its app keeping official track when you log food—though it similarly doesn’t shame you for overdoing your overall point count. WW also offers differently priced plans depending on how much support you prefer, which varies from digital-only logging to personal phone calls.

You can also get basic food logging on apps like MyFitnessPal and Fitbit. With the free options, you have access to food databases and a way to track your intake, but these don’t provide the programmed guidance of Noom. Paid programs are available from those apps and others that include more support and coaching, but I haven’t tested those.

But it’s Noom’s programmed guidance—all those articles and quizzes and, yes, even that #NoomNerd eye-rolling terminology—that feels like the key differentiator. Noom’s emphasis on behavior management makes this program seem, well, mentally healthier than anything else I’ve tried. There’s no rigid rules to memorize and the calorie counting seems more informative than competitive. (You can’t, for instance, horde calories one day so you can blow your budget the next.) This is the first diet I’ve tried where I haven’t felt like a hungry, raving lunatic at some point during the process.

Does Noom work?

Noom’s strong points are its sensible approach to nutrition and straightforward logging. You don’t need an app to do that. A calculator and paper notebook would suffice. But Noom makes it a lot easier. Seeing the weight graph trend downwards is rewarding, and having an easy-to-use interface to log your meals is great for keeping track of your intake.

I also really appreciated how private Noom let me be during this process. There were no forbidden foods, so I didn’t have to explain to anyone that I was on a special diet when I dined with them. When we were done with our meals, I just typed a few things on my phone and that was it. There were no meetings to attend, so I didn’t have to worry about coordinating my schedule with whatever meetings were available. I could read—or ignore—the content they provided at the time that was most convenient for me, whether that was on the subway, in line at CVS, or in my kitchen making a meal. My outward behavior didn’t change, beyond preparing more meals at home instead of eating takeout lunches. (No one in the office even knew I was testing Noom, aside from my editor.) In essence, I feel like I lost 20 pounds in 100 days just by staring at my phone.

Weight loss apps are a lot like dating apps: The most successful customers are also the ones who ultimately no longer need it. The difference, of course, is that instead of ending up in a relationship with another person, Noom forces you to work hard on establishing a better (and hopefully long-term) relationship with food, and with yourself.

Sign up for a free two-week free trial with Noom

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Published 3:56 PM EST Jan 9, 2020

Noom’s Green Foods List – How To Eat More and Still Lose Weight

When it comes to losing weight, one of the most difficult things for many people is knowing what to eat. So for many, the solution to this problem is to eat less, not knowing more harm than good can be done using this method.

What many fail to realize is, that not eating enough can also cause you to gain weight. This is due to your body trying to conserve the energy that it does have, thus causing your metabolism to slow down.

With Noom’s Green Foods List, no longer do you have to worry about not knowing what’s good for you or not. You are given a list of foods that is rated based on a color coded system which I will get into later. But you’ll find that choosing food items are easier with this type of system.

So the goal of this article, is to show you how you can eat more and still lose weight with the noom weight loss program. So whether you’re already using the program or thinking about using it, you will find this article to be very helpful in understanding the basics of healthy weight loss.

Remember…Losing Weight Is All About CALORIES!!!

If you’re not aware of it by now, losing weight is all about putting your body in a caloric deficit. As long as you are burning more calories than you consume throughout the day, you will lose weight. So it’s important to make sure you are eating the right type of foods. So the goal should be to feel full and satisfied without consuming too many calories.

But is it possible to feel full without having to go over your daily caloric intake?

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What Is the Noom Diet?

Photo: MariaRaz / Getty Images

Diet fads come and go quicker than a cup of froyo on a scorching summer day. Yet some eating plans, such as the Mediterranean and DASH diets, tend to stick around and top “best diet lists” despite their lack of trendiness.

While 2018 was clearly the year of keto (long-term popularity and results TBD), 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the Noom diet. More than 47 million people worldwide have used the program, deemed by some as “Weight Watchers for millennials,” and it topped Google’s “Top Trending Diets” #YearInSearch for 2018.

Here’s what you need to know before noshing via Noom from dietitians and those close to the creators.

What exactly is the Noom diet?

“Noom exists entirely as an app, and its main focus is creating behavioral change surrounding food and exercise choices,” says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., the owner of Essential Nutrition For You. “You start by taking a short online quiz during which you’ll answer questions about your weight-loss goals and preferred coaching style.”

It’s similar to the points logged in Weight Watchers (which is now called WW, BTW), where no foods are off limits. Noom focuses on moderation with a traffic light–inspired regimen.

“Each of our users has a personalized calorie budget based on age, sex, activity level, and more,” says Adam Fawer, the chief operating officer of Noom.

Foods with low-calorie densities (you may recognize this term from the volumetrics diet) are “green,” and are supposed to make up most of your diet, while “yellow” foods are to be eaten moderately, and “red” items are to be consumed sparingly. Examples for each category include:


  • Apples
  • Coffee
  • Egg whites
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Skim milk and nut milk
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes


  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Beer
  • Eggs
  • Grilled poultry and seafood
  • Hummus
  • Low-fat cheeses
  • Quinoa


  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Cake
  • French fries
  • Full-fat cheeses
  • Pizza
  • Nut butter
  • Wine

“This color-coding takes both the quantity and quality of food into account,” says Fawer. “Even ‘red’ foods are expected to make up a fair allotment (about 25 percent) of your daily caloric intake.”

This all-things-allowed strategy permits Noom-ers to balance foods they enjoy with the nutrition they need and stay full while meeting weight-loss goals, according to Fawer. Each day, you’re asked to log your meals and exercise for a certain amount of time. The app also provides bite-size informational blurbs about nutrition, fitness, health, and wellness.

Related: The Best Free Weight-Loss Apps

What makes Noom different?

“You can’t outrun a bad diet,” was the driving principle behind the project, explains Fawer. It was created by two entrepreneurs, Saeju Jeong (a serial entrepreneur from Korea) and Artem Petakov (a programmer from Ukraine who’s obsessed with AI and behavior change), he says. While Petakov and Jeong felt that several existing fitness apps could be successful in helping people lose weight, they believed the root problem was much deeper-psychological.

Related: 6 Ways to Make Your Health Transformation Last

“One of the key differences between WW and Noom is that with Noom, every user is matched with a personal health coach who’s available to answer questions, provide healthful tips, and to keep you on track. You also have access to a group chat,” says Batayneh. “And because motivation is a key component of behavior change, you’re asked to rate your motivation on a scale of one to five.”

During the process, you’re set up with a personal coach who has training in the health or wellness field to act as your Noom “concierge.” Coaches help users “explore what they eat and why they make the choices they do,” says Fawer. “Then, we work together and consider their current habits, taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and psychological factors, to create a plan to make small, positive changes every day and develop healthier habits long term.”

“A few of my clients have seen the ads and their biggest concern was that it wasn’t going to be customizable enough to their lifestyle and food preferences,” says Batayneh. “Many said it reminded them of WW. This also turned them off, since several have not been successful on Weight Watchers in terms of losing weight, reaching their goal, and keeping it off.”

Subscribers can purchase one of two Noom memberships: the Healthy Weight Program or the Diabetes Prevention Program. The monthly rate is $59 or you can sign up annually for $199 right now (regularly $750).

Who are Noom’s coaches?

Noom Coaches go through “Noomiversity,” a training program that uses evidence-based practices to prepare them to consult with clients. To qualify for Noomiversity, coaches must have an associate’s degree or higher, have a health certification (such as a nurse, paramedic, or pharmacy technician) or have 2,000 or more hours on the job as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, or yoga instructor.

Initial coach training is one week long and includes information on behavior change techniques, the Noom curriculum, and coaching protocols.

“Beyond this first week of structured training, coaches participate in ongoing professional development opportunities, including twice-weekly clinical supervisions, lunch-and-learn topic lectures, user transcript reviews with clinical supervisors, and a peer-to-peer mentorship program,” says Fawer.

Related: Should You Try Online Fitness Coaching?

The goal of Noomiversity is to set coaches up to understand users’ current situation, their ideal goals, and their long-term dreams. Beyond base-level coaching, the onus is on each Noom user to schedule any additional coaching sessions for themselves.

“Unless you reach out first to ask for help, you typically do not hear from your coach in between those sessions,” says Fawer. Nonetheless, no matter the cadence, “Noom users develop a meaningful one-on-one relationship with their coach, who schedules the basic sessions, checks in to praise them and keep them accountable, and takes a personal interest in their progress.”

Should you try the Noom diet?

“Participants in our program learn how to outsmart their own impulses, which means they’re learning skills that will stick with them after they stop using Noom,” says Fawer.

Noom is helpful if you want support but don’t want to attend in-person meetings. And it might work pretty well for weight loss: A 2016 Scientific Reports study found that the Noom app led to weight loss in 78 percent of users across a nine-month period. However, like any new-to-the-scene diet, more scientific studies are needed before we can fully “weigh in” on the long-term results, says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. Plus, there’s nothing like in-person guidance.

“As with anything that’s relatively new, it’ll attract attention-but Noom users need to be motivated and willing to chart intake and activities and read related materials on their own,” she says. “I’m personally not a fan of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ finger-pointing at foods. I’m on board with the long list of fruits and veggies on their green list, but I’d hate to downplay the quality of nutrient-rich foods like nuts and seeds because they have more calories than other foods.”

Related: We Seriously Need to Stop Thinking of Foods As “Good” and “Bad”

Regardless, any diet that takes mind and body into consideration is worth a closer look, says Taub-Dix. “The best diet is one that you can live with,” she says. “Not just for a few weeks so that you can fit into a certain outfit, but for a lifetime so you can enjoy the body you’re spending all of your time in!”

  • By By Karla Walsh

“I liked Noom for tracking what I ate and making me think differently. I did it for two months and it helped, I took off the few pounds I wanted to lose and have maintained within a couple pounds. I have to say, when following the program, I was almost always hungry! Losing weight is no joke.”

Ultimately, if you plan on using Noom, you must be ready to commit to the process—the tracking, the community accountability, and the education.

I would really evaluate if you’re ready to make that commitment before downloading it so you don’t start, find you don’t have the time, and feel like you’ve failed, when in fact, it just may not have been the right plan for you and your lifestyle.

Also, just know that different folks respond to plans differently. Some people like having a clear outline of what to eat and why, some people like working face to face with a coach, and some people like doing it all through the convenience of their phone—it really comes down to the individual.

The bottom line: An app isn’t the only way to lose weight or build healthy eating habits, so know yourself and find a plan that works for you.

Nora Minno, RD Nora Minno is an award-winning New York-based registered dietitian, certified dietitian nutritionist, and certified personal trainer specializing in wellness communications and marketing.

Noom vs. Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal

Let’s look at how Noom stacks up to two other wellness programs, Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal.

Weight Watchers is similar to Noom in that it combines group accountability with diet and lifestyle changes.

One significant difference is that most of Weight Watcher’s coaching takes place in-person through group meetings. You do have the option to join online communities through the Weight Watchers app if you prefer.

From a food perspective, Weight Watchers assigns you a number of points that represent your daily allotted food. The amount of points per food item varies depending on its nutritional content and total calories.

Similar to Noom’s “green, yellow, red” system, no food is entirely off-limits for Weight Watchers.

The amount you pay to join Weight Watchers depends on the level of support you want. Digital membership starts at $15 per month, joining workshops is $30 per month, and coaching begins at $45 per month—though your price will vary based on how long you commit. This makes a Noom membership more expensive.

MyFitnessPal is slightly different. This app offers less in the way of coaching and is more of a one-stop platform for tracking your meals, fitness activities, and weight loss progress.

You can connect with other members through the app, and it also includes a built-in scanner for logging barcodes of what you’re eating.

This app is free for a basic package. Premium membership gives you access to more nuanced calorie counting settings, ad-free content, the ability to track your macronutrient levels, and more. It will cost you $9.99 a month or $49.99 per year if you prepay.

While MyFitnessPal excels at food tracking, it doesn’t offer the built-in support system you’ll get from either Noom or Weight Watchers.

If you prefer a streamlined way to track your progress, this service is a low-cost way to stay on track. If, however, you need both guidance and accountability, you’ll likely be happier with one of the other two options.

Here’s a summary of these differences:

Noom Weight Watchers My Fitness Pal
Cost Per Month $32.25 to $59.99 $15 to $45 Free or $9.99 ($49.99 for an annual membership)
Group Accountability In-app coaching and support groups In-person meetings with a coach and others in your community N/A, but can connect with other app users
Food Tracking Interface Track your daily calories, all food is classified as “green,” “yellow,” or “red.” All food is given a set number of points, and each participant has a number of allotted points each day. Track your exercise, food intake, and weight loss progress.

The Bottom Line: Should You Sign Up for Noom?

Noom offers a lot of value for those who are intimidated by starting a weight-loss journey alone because it breaks down the process into manageable steps.

Noom is set up so you spend less than 15 minutes on it a day, and it offers behavioral training based on psychological principles to help redefine your relationship with food. And compared to other wellness programs, Noom stands out from other options because of its built-in coaching and accountability.

All Noom users become part of a supportive community of coaches and other users dedicated to helping them meet their goals. If you’re looking for accountability but don’t want to join a traditional weight-loss program like Weight Watchers, Noom offers you a bit of both, but the quality of coaching might not be the same as with in-person groups.

You’ll pay for this extra level of service with membership fees between $30 to $50 per month.

That’s a lot more than other app-based weight loss options that let you track your meals and exercise, but you’re paying for the extra personalization, psychological motivation, and accountability that comes from Noom.

Likewise, the app is designed to “graduate” you after 16 weeks or so, so if you follow that timeline and cancel your subscription afterward, you won’t be paying more than about $200 for the service. And from what we’ve heard from users, Noom won’t try to convince you to stay.

“What I found refreshing about Noom,” DeVries shared with us, “is that the app tried to ween me off itself after my 16 weeks. The last few weeks of Noom focused on helping me establish habits for the long term.”

If you like the idea of Noom, we recommend signing up and possibly planning to use MyFitnessPal once you “graduate” to continue tracking your food intake. Following the program may teach you the skills you need to change your approach to health for good, regardless of whether you keep using it.


Noom before and after

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