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Online weight loss services can help people lose weight by tracking food intake and offering advice and support. Noom and Weight Watchers (WW) have different approaches, but research suggests both are effective.
In this article, we look at how each service works and its weight-loss philosophies. We discuss their menu options and how research supports their effectiveness.
Noom and WW are online services that help people lose weight.
A person subscribes to a plan and follows a program that involves tracking food intake, receiving diet and lifestyle advice, and coaching support.
Noom is solely app-based, and WW offers services on its website and app. Noom and WW differ in their approach to weight loss.
Please note that no one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried this product. All information is research-based.
Although Noom and WW have different approaches to weight loss, they both encourage users to exercise daily. Noom asks people to log their activity, and WW awards FitPoints for exercise, which allows people more food points.
Noom takes a psychological approach to weight loss and fitness. When a user signs up for Noom, the app asks them in-depth questions about their eating habits, goals, and lifestyle. Noom focuses on identifying a person’s ultimate goal and helps them work toward this.
Noom does not ban any foods or suggest a particular diet to follow. Instead, it uses a color-coding system for foods and recipes. Noom code the foods as green, yellow, or red according to their calorie density.
Calorie density describes the water and nutrient content of food and its volume.
Green-coded foods include low-calorie density foods, such as fruits and vegetables that contain more water and a range of healthful nutrients, such as fiber and protein, that can help a person feel fuller for longer.
Red-coded foods typically contain more sugar and fat and have fewer beneficial nutrients. These types of foods usually have more calories but less volume. A person who eats high calorie, low volume foods may not feel as full and eat more.
However, Noom followers should be aware that just because a food is higher in calories does not mean it is unhealthful and less nutritious. A person might consider eating higher calorie foods in moderation.
Noom’s philosophy is to help people choose healthful foods and get into good eating habits without counting calories or points.
WW have introduced a new, more personalized approach with ‘my WW.’ This offers a flexible plan based on a personal assessment of someone’s food preferences, activity level, and lifestyle.
After a person has answered questions for the personal assessment, WW matches them to an eating style that fits them best. WW color-code the personalized plans into purple or green.
Alternatively, people can choose the original WW plan, which is blue. If someone wants to switch plans, they can do this on the app.
Each food plan has a unique balance of SmartPoints and ZeroPoints foods.
SmartPoints are a way of measuring foods based on their macronutrients and calories. Food higher in sugar and fat have a higher point value. People count their points according to their plan.
ZeroPoints foods form the basis of a healthful eating plan, and people can eat these foods freely without counting the points.
WW say that all their plans are equally effective for weight loss. The plans differ in the number of ZeroPoints and SmartPoints foods they allow, and people may suit one program more than another.
Some studies have looked at the effectiveness of Noom and WW for weight loss.
During the 24-week program and a total follow-up time of 65 weeks, the participants lost between 7.05–8.78 kilograms (kg) of weight. The amount of weight they lost depended on how much they engaged with the Noom app and which parts of the program they completed.
According to one study, people lose an average of 5–6% of body weight on a WW program. However, the studies do not reflect online programs in particular. The researchers also note that people can regain weight when they stop following the WW program.
Noom and WW offer different diet plans and guidelines.
Below is a list of some of the foods people can eat and meal options that Noom and WW suggest.
Noom color codes foods according to their calorie density. It is important to note that foods in the yellow and red categories are not necessarily unhealthful. For example, eggs, avocados, nuts, and nut butter are extremely nutritious.
- Green foods are lower-calorie, high-fiber foods, including include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Yellow foods, such as eggs and avocados, are more calorie-dense. Noom advise that people should eat these in moderation.
- Red foods are higher in calories, and Noom advise that people should eat less of these. Red foods include peanut butter, sugar, and red meat.
The following is an example of a one-day Noom food plan:
Breakfast: Overnight oats.
Lunch: Mushroom and rice soup.
Dinner: Chicken stir fry.
Snacks: Coconut energy balls and a hard boiled egg.
The WW green plan includes 100+ fresh foods and vegetables on the ZeroPoint list. Starchy vegetables, such as corn, parsnips, and peas, have SmartPoints values, and people need to count these.
When a person first joins WW, they get a personalized Smart Points Budget, which factors in variables such as age, weight, and whether the person is male or female.
The following is an example of a day’s meals on the WW green plan:
Breakfast: Buttermilk-oat pancakes with yogurt and pear.
Lunch: Salmon Nicoise salad with lemon-caper dressing.
Dinner with friends: Grilled chicken in a bun and 12 fluid ounces (oz) of a light beer.
Snacks: 3 oz deli-style turkey breast with six wholewheat pita chips and a fruit, cheese, and nut plate.
The WW purple plan has 300+ ZeroPoint foods that people do not need to count. Other ZeroPoint foods include vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
- fruits and vegetables
- skinless chicken and turkey breast
- fish and shellfish
- tofu and tempeh
- plain fat-free yogurt
- whole wheat pasta and grains
The following is an example of a day’s meals on the purple plan:
Breakfast: Cranberry almond morning barley.
Lunch: Pesto chicken salad sandwich with Italian arugula salad.
Dinner: Chickpea and spinach stew served over wholewheat couscous.
Snacks: Grapes, 2 oz low-fat cheddar, seven almonds, and deviled eggs with capers and dill.
WW may be a better option for someone who wants to lose weight by counting points. The plan is more structured, and this may benefit someone who has limited nutrition knowledge. WW may also suit people who enjoy more support, as there is an active social community online.
Noom may suit people who do not want to count points or calories. Noom gives people more freedom to make choices based on healthful eating. This may suit a person who is interested in or knows about nutrition and cooking.
Noom is a good choice for someone who has 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).
Although some people may benefit from following a program such as Noom or WW, it is important to note that these programs may not suit everyone.
For some people, logging food and counting points may lead to food fear and disordered eating. Others may benefit from individual nutrition counseling that does not focus on logging foods, counting points, or categorizing foods.
If a person is interested in losing weight loss in a healthful, sustainable way, seek advice from a healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian.
Noom offers support with a personal coach and sends daily prompts and encouragement to its users. Users can also chat with other members in a group chat facility.
WW has a chat function for people to ask questions. They also offer additional levels of support based on the subscription plan that someone chooses. Users can connect with an online community, receive coaching, or take part in workshops.
Noom and WW may both be effective ways for someone to lose weight. They differ in their approach, and people may find that one service suits their preferences best. People can choose based on dietary guidelines, menus, and service costs.
Research indicates that WW and Noom are effective for weight loss. Online weight loss services may suit people who prefer not to use a face-to-face program, such as traditional WW classes.