Noom review: Does this weight-loss app really work?

Nutrition

A study found 78% of Noom users reported successful weight loss using the app. Noom is the first app recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a diabetes prevention program.

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Noom weight-loss program review

Diet trends and weight loss programs offer a dizzying assortment of tips and tricks — with mixed outcomes. Some people try diet after diet, hoping to make something stick. Even the most successful dieter can slip up and revert to old habits. At best, these failures can be discouraging; at worst, it can deter someone from ever pursuing their health goals again.

Weight-loss app Noom promises an approach that’s different from diets of the past — it uses psychology to help users change their eating habits and maintain those changes long-term. Noom isn’t a traditional diet plan, but a lifestyle-based approach that aims to help people lose weight and keep it off by developing healthy habits supported by daily check-ins. 

We wanted to see if Noom could create lasting changes in less than 10 minutes a day, so we put it to the test. Here’s what we learned.

Testing Noom 

Our tester used Noom for a 3-month period. Her fitness goals included losing a few pounds as well as developing healthier habits like walking regularly and reducing her alcohol intake.

What is Noom?

Noom is a weight-loss app and health subscription service that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help users achieve their weight-loss goals in a healthy, sustainable way. Its process is based on psychology and science with a focus on accomplishing goals, not dieting. It uses daily check-ins for accountability, creating a framework to develop long-term healthy eating habits. Since the app launched in 2016, Noom has attracted more than 50 million users worldwide.

How to use Noom

Users can sign up for Noom with an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. When you sign up, you take an onboarding quiz that lets Noom help you make relevant health and fitness goals. You can choose what level of coaching involvement you’d like and customize your plan based on additional goals as well as other habits or behaviors that may be getting in the way of your personal health. For example, your health goals may include running a 5k and meeting a goal weight.

Key features of Noom

Noom offers multiple tools to help users lose weight and develop healthy habits. Noom users check in each day to log the food and water they’ve consumed, record their weight and complete tasks. These tasks include reading about nutrition and psychological tools like mindfulness, then taking quizzes on what you’ve read. Of the eight or so tasks Noom assigns each day, only two are mandatory: weighing in and logging your food.

Is Noom a diet?

While Noom offers a calorie counter, it doesn’t manage your food intake in the same way a classic diet or weight-loss program does. Noom’s overall approach to food is based on eating in moderation while avoiding gimmicky crash diets. Food is classified into three categories based on the food’s caloric density. Green category foods are low-caloric-density choices like fruits and vegetables. On the other end of the spectrum, in the red category, are high-caloric-density foods like candy, cheese and nuts. Noom doesn’t punish you if you go over the allowed amount of yellow or red foods, but it encourages you to stay within your total daily calorie allotment.

Is Noom an exercise program?

Noom doesn’t offer specific exercise plans, but it does motivate the user to be more active and make time in their schedule for physical activity. Its articles focus on educating the user about the physical and mental benefits of exercise and how to make it part of your daily routine. However, some articles are available for help figuring out what kind of physical activity you might enjoy and what exercises fit within any existing medical or fitness concerns.

Noom price

When you first sign up for Noom, you’re offered a 7-day trial for $0.50, but it’s easy to find 14-day trial periods through special promotions. After that, Noom offers a range of auto-renewing subscription plans, paid up front, ranging from a monthly plan that costs about $66 per month up to an annual plan that’s available at a promotional price of $199. Neither the support coach nor the group chat are available until the subscription period begins. 

For additional weight-loss tools, Noom offers add-ons like customized workouts or meal plans, which cost between $80-$100, but can be purchased on sale. Subscription plans can also be purchased at promotional discounts throughout the year.

Where is Noom sold?

Noom

Noom is available in the Apple App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android users. It requires 10.3.3 or later on iOS, or 6 (Marshmallow) or later on Android.

Noom benefits

The Noom app is well designed. It’s bright, colorful and easy to use, and the articles are encouraging and informative. Our tester described using Noom as having a therapist for your health and fitness goals. Noom users can choose the level of coaching they want to support their goals. Since it only requires 5-10 minutes each day to check in, it’s easy to fit Noom into your everyday routine. Since Noom combines diet advice with accountability, users don’t often feel restricted or guilty. There are no “good foods” or “bad foods,” just color-coded categories. Its emphasis on behavior and habits as opposed to pure calorie counting makes the Noom diet plan feel healthier both physically and mentally.

Noom’s food logger is easy to use, offering a large database of food choices as well as the ability to scan a packaged food’s barcode. Users can also manually enter specific foods or meals that they eat regularly but don’t appear in the database.

Overall, Noom strikes a good balance between both food and exercise aspects of weight loss. The app can be tailored to what you personally struggle with and motivate you toward your individual goals, whether they align more with eating more healthfully, working out more or a combination of both. Noom can help change the way you think about health and fitness, using positive reinforcement to build and strengthen good habits. Our tester ultimately lost a few pounds and noticed her belly looking more toned.

Noom drawbacks

Since Noom isn’t a hard-and-fast diet, it may be challenging for users who prefer more regimented food guidance, recipes or meal plans. It focuses more on the behavioral and emotional issues that can lead to weight gain. It requires the user to be self-motivated enough to check in and use the app every day, then take steps to apply what they learn outside of the app. Users who need more reminders or structure may find that Noom doesn’t give them the results they desire.

Should you get Noom?

The Noom app is positive and encouraging, and it doesn’t demand sweeping changes to the user’s lifestyle or diet — nor does it penalize the user if they make a mistake. If you are self-motivated enough to check your phone, read some articles and cross some tasks off Noom’s list for a few minutes each day, Noom offers the educational and organizational tools that can empower most users to accomplish their health-and-fitness goals.

 

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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