Does Noom Work? Everything You Need to Know About the Diet

Before paying for its lofty monthly fees, learn more about the effectiveness of Noom, the app-based fitness platform that promises lasting results.


Nicolle Monico
Updated 8 February 2022
Does Noom Work? Everything You Need to Know About the Diet
Claim

Noom can help you lose weight and change your relationship with food.

Rating

Mostly True

About this rating


As a weight loss tool, the Noom app can be helpful for people trying to shed some pounds. However, like any calorie-restrictive diet, it takes work to maintain as well as a commitment to tracking every calorie to see any lasting changes.

Its calorie tracking, restrictive nature, and daily weigh-ins can be problematic though for those suffering from disordered eating or an eating disorder.

Sections on this page
  1. What is Noom? 
  2. How Does Noom Work? 
  3. Noom Success Rate 
  4. How Much Does Noom Cost? 
  5. What Does a Noom Subscription Get You? 
  6. What Can You Eat on the Noom Diet?
  7. Is Noom Easy to Follow? 
  8. Who is Noom Good For?
  9. Does Noom Work to Lose Weight?

If you’ve researched online weight loss programs in the last few years, you’ve probably come across the app-based fitness platform called Noom. According to its website, it’s an evidence-based program designed to help you “lose weight for good,” while changing the way you think about food. So does Noom work for long-term weight loss or it is just another fad diet?

Before you decide to pay for a membership, we looked at how it works, how easy it is to follow, what food restrictions there are, and whether it can help you lose weight, so that you have all the facts before joining. 

What is Noom? 

Founded in 2008, Noom made its way onto the fitness scene as a weight loss app in 2016 using psychology-based methods (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) to help individuals drop pounds and keep them off for good.

As of May 2021, Tech Crunch reports that the Noom app has more than 45 million downloads in 100 countries.

does noom work
The Noom app has more than 45 million downloads across the globe.

According to the company, it employs a team of behavioral health experts and registered dietitians to design its weight-loss curriculum. Their research focuses on obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes prevention and management, oncology, and hypertension.

Noom claims that it’s not a dieting app, but rather a tool to teach you how to make better eating choices and make behavioral changes in order to live a healthier life.

Weight loss is considered a benefit, not the entire goal.

How Does Noom Work? 

Noom is similar to many diet programs in that it asks you to keep a daily log of your food, exercise habits, water goals, and scale weight. It also works by keeping its subscribers in a calorie deficit, meaning, you’re consistently burning more calories than you consume each day.

When you sign up, you’ll be asked a series of questions that will help to personalize your health plan. You’ll be asked everything from your gender, height and current weight to your motivations, goals, activity level, thoughts on dieting, and weight loss timeframes.

Your answers help determine your plan length and how many calories will be recommended daily to hit your target weight.

Does Noom Work
Noom asks a number of questions to better understand your current eating habits, fitness level, and relationship to dieting.

Daily Logging and Tracking

Once your plan and goals have been mapped out, you’ll go into your app daily to log your weight, each meal, and whatever exercise you did that day.

Each day, you’ll also be encouraged to read or listen to an educational course (you choose the length of time you have each day to read/listen). This includes:

  • Motivational sessions and discussions
  • Prompts meant to make you think about why you want to lose weight
  • Quick quizzes to test your knowledge about what you’re learning
  • Tips on how to make better food choices and why it matters
  • Interactive challenges

The app also features a one-on-one coach who you can message privately via the app. Members can also chat with one another in assigned support groups.

Check That Your Calorie Limit Isn’t Detrimental to Your Health

Noom won’t recommend a diet that is below 1,200 calories a day, however, they often get close to that with 1,200-1,400 calorie deficits for many adults. If that’s the case for you, it’s a good idea to consult with your physician before beginning to ensure it’s a safe zone for you.

Noom Success Rate 

Noom promises that those who use its program and follow it closely can expect to lose around 1–2 pounds per week. Based on its own data, it claims to have already helped 3.7M subscribers lose at least 2% of their original weight (as of October 2021).

Although research on Noom’s effectiveness is limited, one study in Scientific Reports found that of the nearly 36,000 Noom study participants:

  • 78% lost some amount of weight using the app
  • 22.7% experienced more than 10% weight loss

This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the fitness app #13 in the Best Diets Overall category, scoring a 3.3 out of 5. When compared with 40 other diets, Noom's balanced diet eating plans afforded it its higher ranking as well as its focus on helping individuals gain awareness about their eating habits to encourage long-term change. 

How Much Does Noom Cost? 

You can get a free one- or two-week trial of Noom (depending on its current promotion) after answering its demographic questions. But you’ll need to supply your credit card information at the end of the questions to begin your trial.

After the trial ends, you’ll be automatically subscribed to their membership plan if you don’t cancel.

Currently, the cost breakdown is as follows:

1-Month Plan $59 7-Month Plan $169
2-Month Plan $99 8-Month Plan $179
3-Month Plan $129 9-Month Plan $185
4-Month Plan $139 10-Month Plan $189
5-Month Plan $149 11-Month Plan $195
6-Month Plan $159 Annually $199

Keep in mind, these prices are auto-renewed rates so you’ll either pay this each month, every two months, every three, and so on. You can also add-on custom meal and/or workout plans for an additional $49/month.

What Does a Noom Subscription Get You? 

Users get three types of benefits from the app which include:

  • Goal tracking: This is pretty common for most fitness apps, but Noom also includes biometric tracking (i.e., heart rate and activity level). If you have a smartwatch or fitness tracker, you can connect it to your app as well.
  • Educational content: You’ll get helpful content on weight loss but also nutrition and why your overall health is important aside from fitting into your favorite jeans. You’ll also be encouraged to reflect on your goals and motivations. 
  • Virtual coaching: If you’ve ever started a diet only to end it midway through due to lack of accountability, this might be your favorite feature. You can choose how much or how little you interact with your virtual coach which takes place over chat.  

What Can You Eat on the Noom Diet?

Noom provides three color-coded food categories: green, yellow, and red. These are grouped by their caloric density, concentration of healthy nutrients, and how much you should consume each day.

  • Greens: This would be fruits, veggies and whole grains, and make up about 30% of your diet.
  • Yellows: This would be lean meats and starches that make up a good proportion of your daily diet, around 45% of your diet.
  • Reds: This would be your red meats and desserts which should be consumed in smaller portions and eaten less frequently, around 25% of your diet.

If you’re not sure where to start, Noom also has a thorough list of recipes and their color breakdown to get you more familiar with this style of eating.

Does Noom work
Example of Noom's recommended recipes on the app.

There aren’t necessarily “off-limits” foods, but you’ll be encouraged to make better choices when eating so you may slowly start to forgo your favorite snacks for healthier options. 

Is Noom Easy to Follow? 

Noom is relatively easy to follow, but it does require daily work to get the right advice from your program. But because you’re not completely restricting yourself, it’s easier to maintain long-term.

The app’s food database also includes hundreds of thousands of items to choose from when logging your meals/calories, and Noom does work with many national restaurants so you can often still log your calories on days you eat out.

You will need to do your own cooking and shopping, but recipe ideas are included in your membership. Unfortunately, though, protein, fat, carbs, and other nutrient contents are not listed in the recipes.

Who is Noom Good For?

Does Noom work for everyone? Probably not. Before starting any diet, ask yourself whether the methods used will be beneficial to you.

Some may benefit from a more strict dieting plan with in-person support such as Weight Watchers while others may like the flexibility of programs like Whole30 where you aren’t required to keep track of calorie intake. 

Noom may be for you if: 

  • You need an app to track your calories, exercise, and scale weight progress.
  • You’d benefit from a virtual coach and support group to keep you on track.
  • You don’t like the idea of cutting out certain food groups when dieting.
  • You want to learn more about healthy lifestyle habits in order to change your current relationship with food and exercise. 

Noom may not be for you if: 

  • You’re on a tight budget. The cost can be steep and some of its extra features cost an additional fee.
  • You need a specific meal plan each week to stick to.
  • You need more in-person interactions with your coaches.
  • Your daily weigh-ins will have a negative psychological impact.
  • You are struggling with disordered eating or have a history of an eating disorder.

Does Noom Work to Lose Weight?

Does Noom work? In short: Yes. It can help you lose weight, but on its head, it’s not more or less effective than other calorie restrictive diets.

What Noom can offer its participants, however, is accountability.

A 2020 study suggests that human feedback and support incorporated into technology-based interventions were most effective for weight loss. So if you’ve been struggling to lose weight because you can’t seem to stay motivated, this may be a great app for you.

In general, eating in a calorie deficit or having a restricted-calorie diet will likely allow you to lose weight and shed some inches.

So Noom can work, but what makes any diet successful is less about the program you use and more about how willing you are to put in the work. Though the app works on educating users about how to create a healthy lifestyle, if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort it takes to lose weight slowly, no diet plan will work long-term.

It should be noted that Noom’s programs are designed to be followed for about four months and users are encouraged to sign-up for a 12-month membership to really see lasting results.

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