Since its inception in 2008, the Noom diet, or Noom, has quickly grown to become one of the most searched-for 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 based on pseudoscience with promises of unrealistic results, or whether it’s an effective program for healthy, sustainable weight loss.
This article covers everything you need to know about Noom, including what it is and how it works, as well as its pros and cons.
What is Noom?
Noom is a mobile health app that provides educational articles, tools for monitoring and tracking your progress toward weight loss, and support from virtual health coaches. You can download it on your smartphone or tablet. By focusing on behavioral changes, Noom calls itself a lifestyle, not a diet.
The app provides:
- Weekly challenges and educational information. Topics involve nutrition, stress management, goal setting, and healthy habit formation.
- Tools to track your progress. These allow you to log your meals, exercise regimen, and body weight.
- A virtual coaching team. A goal specialist, group coach, and support group are meant to help you stay on track.
- Biometric tracking. These features help you monitor blood sugar and blood pressure.
Subscription and pricing
Noom is available starting at $44.99 per month
Noom occasionally offers a two week free trial during sign up
To cancel, send a message to your coach (goal specialist). You have access for the remainder of that billing cycle.
Custom programs including meal and workout plans available.
This score is determined by our medical team, who uses the criteria below to fairly rate diets across Healthline.com.
Select a category below for more details.Noom’s overall score3.924.5Weight loss4.75Healthy eating3.75Sustainability2.5Whole body health5Nutrition quality3Evidence-based
How Noom works
Noom aims to help you lose weight like most 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 .
Noom estimates your daily calorie needs based on your gender, age, height, weight, and your answers to a series of lifestyle questions.
Depending on your goal weight and timeframe, Noom uses an algorithm to estimate how many calories you need to eat each day. This is known as your calorie budget.
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 .
Noom encourages food logging and daily weigh-ins — two self-monitoring behaviors associated with weight loss and long-term weight loss maintenance .
Can Noom help you lose weight?
Any reduced-calorie diet plan or program can help you lose weight if you follow it .
Still, sticking with a diet is difficult for many people. Most diets fail because they’re difficult to maintain .
To date, no studies have compared the effectiveness of Noom with other weight loss diets, but researchers have analyzed data from Noom users.
In one study in nearly 36,000 Noom users, 78% experienced weight loss while they were using the app for an average of 9 months, with 23% experiencing more than a 10% loss, compared with their starting weight .
The study also found that those who tracked their diet and weight more frequently were more successful in losing weight .
Noom’s food guide
Noom recommends eating based on calorie density and categorizes foods as green, yellow, or red accordingly.
The app recommends consuming a set percentage of foods from each color — 30% green, 45% yellow, and 25% red.
According to the Noom website, these are examples of foods for each color . They also provide a comprehensive list of foods.
Noom’s Food Groups
These foods, which are the least calorie-dense and contain the highest concentration of nutrients, should be what you eat most.
Hearty Veggies: Sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli
Fruits: apples, strawberries, blueberries
Dairy & Dairy Alternatives: Non-fat cheese, skim milk, unsweetened alternate milks
Whole Grains: Brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread
Beverages: unsweetened tea and coffee
Sample meal plan
Below is an example of one week’s meals using recipes from Noom.
This meal plan wouldn’t apply to everyone since calorie recommendations are individualized, but it shares a general overview of foods included from the color categories above.
As long as the majority of your diet contains foods in the green and yellow categories, you can include foods categorized as red — such as chocolate cake — in small portions.PreviousNext
- Breakfast: raspberry yogurt parfait
- Lunch: vegetarian barley soup
- Snack: creamy cucumber and dill salad
- Dinner: fennel, orange, and arugula salad
- Breakfast: banana-ginger smoothie
- Lunch: roasted orange tilapia and asparagus
- Snack: deviled eggs
- Dinner: mushroom and rice soup
- Breakfast: vegetable skillet frittata
- Lunch: broccoli quinoa pilaf
- Snack: homemade yogurt pops
- Dinner: pork lettuce wraps
- Breakfast: egg sandwich
- Lunch: chicken and avocado pita pockets
- Snack: mixed nuts
- Dinner: pasta with shellfish and mushrooms
- Breakfast: spinach-tomato frittata
- Lunch: salmon with tabbouleh salad
- Snack: chocolate cake
- Dinner: grilled chicken with corn salsa
- Breakfast: banana-apple and nut oatmeal
- Lunch: turkey cheddar tacos
- Snack: hummus and peppers
- Dinner: green bean casserole
- Breakfast: scrambled egg wrap
- Lunch: loaded spinach salad
- Dinner: salmon patties with green beans
- Snack: cream cheese fruit dip with apples
Pros and cons
Benefits of Noom
Noom’s program emphasizes a long-term approach to weight loss. It may have several benefits over quick-fix methods.
Focuses on calorie and nutrient density
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 concentration of nutrients.
Foods with the lowest calorie density, highest concentration of nutrients, or both, are considered green. Foods with the highest calorie density, lowest concentration of nutrients, or both, are labeled red, while 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 .
Generally, low-calorie-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain more water and fiber and are low in fat.
On the other hand, high-calorie-dense foods, such as fatty fish, meats, nut butters, sweets, and desserts, typically provide fat or added sugars but lack water and fiber.
Diets comprised mainly of low-calorie-dense foods and beverages are associated with less hunger, weight loss, and risk of chronic conditions like heart disease than diets rich in high-calorie-dense foods .
No food is off limits
Several popular diets can be restricting by limiting certain foods or entire food groups. This can promote disordered eating or obsessive behaviors surrounding healthy or “clean” eating .
Noom takes the opposite approach, offering flexibility by allowing all foods to fit into your diet.
Because some high-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 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.
Promotes behavioral changes
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 .
Without behavioral change, any weight lost with a reduced-calorie diet tends to be regained over time — often in excess of what was initially lost .
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 (Trusted Source).
Recognizing that behavioral change is difficult, Noom uses a psychology-based curriculum that encourages self-efficacy — the belief in your ability to execute habits necessary to reach your goals .
In this way, Noom may better equip you with the tools and education necessary for effective behavioral change that underlies 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 .
Drawbacks of Noom
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.
Keep in mind that tracking your food and calorie intake, whether through Noom or another program, may promote disordered eating patterns. These may include food anxiety and excessive calorie restriction .
At a minimum price of $44.99 per month, Noom may cost more than you’re willing or able to spend.
However, 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.
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 WiFi or cellular data options.
Virtual vs. face-to-face interaction
Noom offers a virtual support team to hold you accountable and assist with goal setting.
All communication with Noom’s health coaches is 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 .
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 .
Keep in mind that one of these studies was funded by the company.
Noom is an app that you can access with a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
The app may help people lose weight by promoting low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes.
If costs, accessibility, and a virtual style of health coaching don’t sway your decision, Noom may be worth a try.
Read more about: 12 Best Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants