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Noom is a diet app that uses psychology as a basis for weight loss. Published research suggests that the Noom programs can support weight loss and are beneficial for people with diabetes or hypertension.

In this article, we look at how Noom works, what foods someone following the diet can eat, and what the company’s research says about the benefits of the app. We also suggest alternatives to Noom, including other apps and weight-loss techniques.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried this service. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Noom is a health app that people can subscribe to with iOS or Android. Different programs are available for weight loss, fitness, and a healthy mind.

When a person downloads the app, it asks them some basic questions and carries out a psychology-based evaluation. The purpose of this is to help set achievable goals and identify situations and times when a person may overeat.

Noom allocates users a “goal specialist” coach who messages them with support and encouragement. People use the app to log their meals, activity, and exercise. They can also record their blood pressure. People who have diabetes can log their blood glucose, too.

The app contains additional information, including articles about positive thinking, eating habits, and stress relief.

Noom also reminds users to log their weight and meals, and it tests their knowledge with short quizzes.

Noom emphasizes long-term behavior change and the adoption of healthy practices. Individualized weight loss plans emphasize a slow and reportedly sustainable one-pound per week of weight loss.

This rate of weight loss is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations of losing 1-2 pounds per week. The CDC states that people who lose weight gradually are more likely to maintain their weight loss.

Noom may be suitable for people seeking this gradual approach to weight loss.

According to statements on the company website, Noom is about learning, not dieting. The goal of the program is to provide people with the information and self-awareness they need to make lasting changes to their weight and health.

The Noom approach is unusual for a diet program because it pays as much attention to why people eat as to what they eat. There are two key parts to Noom:

  • an emphasis on changing diet and behavior through education and online coaching based on cognitive behavioral therapy
  • a color-coded system of dividing foods into three groups, based on the principle of caloric density

The Noom platform claims to support lasting weight loss and the adoption of healthy habits. It does so by providing users with an individualized “course” of articles and materials based on their answers to an online questionnaire.

The articles on the website cover the science behind making healthy choices regarding food.

Color-coded foods

The Noom app uses color coding to help people choose from a database of recipes. It also color codes the meals that they log to allow them to learn a healthy way of eating.

A person will get a thumbs up if they pick healthful foods and a prompt if their choices are not so good.

Meals and foods are color-coded according to their calorie density. Calorie density refers to how much water and nutrients a food contains, its calories, and its volume.

  • Green is for foods with a low calorie density, which is higher in water, providing more volume and fewer calories. These foods contain the highest concentration of healthy nutrients, and people should aim to eat plenty of them.
  • Yellow is for foods that contain more calories and fewer nutrients than green options. People should eat these foods in moderation.
  • Red foods are the most calorie dense and have the fewest healthful nutrients. People should eat these foods less frequently.

Noom is available for purchase online.

Recipes are also color-coded so that people can make healthy choices. Noom details what percentage of the recipe is green, yellow, or red.

The color-coding system makes it easy to choose healthy meals and limit those with a higher calorie density.

The following table provides an overview of the types of food in each color-coded category, and how often a person should aim to eat them.

ColorFoodFrequency
Greenfruits and vegetables
whole grains
• nonfat milk and yogurt
• nonfat cheese sticks
egg whites
potatoes
sweet potatoes
tofu
polenta
as frequently as possible
Yellow• grilled chicken
lean meat
tuna
salmon
• eggs
• low fat cheese
• low fat milk
• pita bread
avocados
• baked beans
• white bread
pasta
hummus
• deli meat
• couscous
beer
• diet soda
in moderation
Redred meat
• processed meat
butter
• mayonnaise
• potato chips
peanut butter
orange juice
honey
sugar
• flour
wine
• full-fat cheese
• whole milk
less frequently and in smaller portions

Noom describes itself as more than a diet. It does not exclude any foods. It does not set levels for how much a person should eat from each of the color-coded food sections.

Instead, it sets a calorie range for a person. A person then selects the foods they want to eat within that range and enters the data in the Noom Weight food logger.

For example, if a person decides to eat something from the red group, in order to stay within their targeted calorie range, they then may need to eat a lot of foods from the green group.

A person must complete the Noom quiz to view personalized subscription results. This quiz asks people about their goals, medical history, and dieting mindset.

The company offers a 7-day trial for a discounted price. People can choose to pay $0.50, $3, $10, or $18.37 for this week.

Noom only offers auto-renewing subscriptions. The following table provides an overview of the cost of this service.

Monthly plan$60
2-month plan$119
3-month plan$149
4-month plan$150
5-month plan$164
6-month plan$169
7-month plan$174
8-month plan$179
9-month plan$185
10-month plan$189
11-month plan$195
Annual plan$199

All subscriptions come with:

  • access to the Noom app on multiple devices
  • an individualized plan to reach the goals the purchaser identified
  • daily lessons, based on science and psychology, to help people change their behaviour around food
  • group coaching online
  • a food logging system
  • exercise tracking
  • access to the Noom Weight recipe database of more than 1,000 recipes

Add-on services, such as personal coaching, are available for additional fees.

Other apps can help with weight loss and fitness. The following table compares Noom to these alternative services.

PriceFocusing onProgram design Coaching options
Noomfrom $60behavior change• calorie ranges
• education
• color-coded foods
• progress tracking
• group
• 1-on-1
WWfrom $15 weight loss and fitnesspoint-based approach to diets• fitness tracking
• in-person meetings
MyFitnessPalfree, or $19.99 per monthweight lossexercise and food trackingcoaching with premium subscriptions
LoseIt!free or $39.99 per yearweight lossgoal-setting, food-tracking, and weight-loss progresscommunity support with premium subscriptions
Fooducatefree or $3.99 per monthfood and nutrition trackingfood database and macro trackingextra tracking support with premium subscriptions
Yazofree, or $0.10 per dayweight loss and exercisecalorie and exercise trackingextra tracking support with premium subscriptions

Noom ultimately encourages people to think mindfully about what they eat so that they make more healthful food choices. This shift in mindset can lead to numerous health benefits.

Diabetes

Noom’s diabetes prevention program is the first fully mobile program to receive official recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of its National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP).

A 2018 pilot study by Noom evaluated weight loss in 59 participants during a 24-week diabetes prevention program.

The participants, who had overweight or obesity and had received a diagnosis of prediabetes, used the Noom app and its coaching facility. The study findings suggested significant weight loss and engagement with the app.

Users lost an average of 7.05–8.78 kilograms (kg) over a 65-week period that included a follow-up. The participants’ weight loss depended on how much they engaged with the app and which parts of the program they completed. The authors suggest that the app is comparable with, or more effective than, other eHealth interventions for diabetes prevention.

Learn more about foods for diabetes here.

Obesity-related diseases

Using Noom to lose weight could also help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases.

Research has associated obesity and excess body weight with a range of health conditions, including:

Learn more about obesity here.

Hypertension

Noom may also be helpful for people who have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

A small 2017 pilot study evaluated 50 adults with hypertension who used Noom’s hypertension prevention program. Over 24 weeks, participants who had 80% engagement with the app and completed the program had significant weight loss and blood pressure reductions that resulted in a hypertension category change.

In the study, Noom used the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet, which experts created to help people manage their blood pressure.

Learn more about hypertension here.

Special diets

Noom also has options for people who eat specific diets, such as vegan, gluten-free, or low carbohydrate.

Learn more about a vegan diet here.

Research suggests that psychological, emotional, and social well-being are all factors that influence a person’s weight. Noom is not the only option for people seeking psychological support for weight loss.

People wishing to adopt a more healthful diet may benefit from:

  • seeing a registered dietitian or certified nutrition specialist who can help with identifying goals, recognizing eating habits, and putting a personalized weight loss strategy in place
  • getting a referral to a psychological practitioner, such as a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) or counselor, which may be particularly useful for someone who has anxiety around food or is dealing with issues relating to trauma or stress
  • working with a personal trainer, who can design a weight and exercise plan for a person, provide support, and encourage them to reach their goals
  • finding a weight loss buddy, as it can improve morale to spend time with others also in the process of developing a new exercise regimen and trying new foods

Here we answer some common questions about this service.

Does Noom actually work?

Along with many anecdotal reports of success, a 2018 study concludes that people with a diagnosis of prediabetes who have overweight or obesity and who used Noom showed significant weight loss.

However, it is important to note that the authors were employed by Noom when they conducted the study.

What is the Noom diet?

The Noom diet is a multi-faceted program that the company claims support healthy, long-term changes in how a person eats and exercises.

It also incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to change how a person behaves in relation to food and exercise.

How much is Noom per month?

The monthly cost of Noom depends on the length of a person’s subscription. A subscription starts from $60.

What do you eat for breakfast on Noom?

A person can eat whatever they want for breakfast on Noom, as long as their calorie count for the day falls within the range the company recommends.

The goal is also for people to eat healthy foods and feel satisfied and energized by their diets. A sample breakfast from Noom is toast with mashed avocado, tomato slices, and a poached egg.

What do you eat for lunch on Noom?

On Noom, as long as a person’s calorie count for the day falls within their recommended range, they can eat what they like.

However, the program also emphasizes healthy eating. A sample lunch from Noom is grilled chicken in pita bread with yogurt dressing, peppers, spinach, and mushrooms.

Noom is a user-friendly app that uses psychology as a basis for weight loss. Published research suggests that it is effective for weight loss and the prevention of diabetes and hypertension.

Noom does not disallow any foods. Instead, the app encourages people to choose wisely using a color-coding system. A personal health coach helps users achieve their goals.

People can also get support for weight loss by working with a personal trainer or dietitian, addressing food anxiety through counseling or CBT, or finding a diet buddy. Other weight loss and fitness apps are also available.