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Online weight loss services can help people lose weight by tracking food intake and offering advice and support. Noom and WW (formerly Weight Watchers) have different approaches, but research suggests both are effective.
In this article, we look at how each service works and its weight loss philosophy. We also discuss both services’ menu options and how research supports their effectiveness.
This table compares the main features of Noom and WW.
|online check-ins with a coach every week
|online and face-to-face workshops
|lessons, tracking tools, and quizzes
|guided meditations, recipes, and meal planning
|effective for short-term weight loss
|effective for short-term weight loss
|from $17.42 per month
|from $23 per month
|iOS and Android
|iOS and Android
|available in 5 languages
|available in more than 15 countries
Noom is an app that helps people with stress, anxiety, diabetes, and other conditions lose weight. It offers two programs:
- Noom Weight: This helps users engage in physical activities and food plans to help them reach their goal weight. People can also chat with a Noom Guide who can support and help with diet-related difficulties.
- Noom Mood: This highly structured program claims to provide insight, education, and skill development to help people understand their triggers and methods to manage stress.
Noom offers weekly challenges, food tracking, and biometric tracking. Once a person signs up, the company provides a rough timeline of when they can expect to reach their goal weight.
Additionally, Noom offers optional coaching. This may benefit those who prefer accountability. People who do not find coaching helpful do not need to interact with this part of the program.
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 it.
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 codes the foods as green, yellow, or red according to their calorie density.
The number of calories and amount of water in a certain amount of a food determines its
Green-coded foods include those with low calorie density, 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 full longer.
Red-coded foods typically contain more sugar and fat and have fewer beneficial nutrients. These foods usually have more calories in less volume. A person who eats high calorie, low-volume foods may not feel as full and may eat more.
However, Noom followers should be aware that a higher calorie content does not necessarily mean a food 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.
- does not eliminate food groups from an individual’s food plan
- offers optional coaching for those who prefer accountability
- allows users to adjust their goals in the app at any time
- unlike WW, does not lock features behind tiered membership options
- can be more expensive than WW, depending on the pricing plan a person chooses
- available only online, so it does not suit people looking for in-person coaching
WW is a doctor-recommended weight loss program that may help people reach their weight goals. WW uses a points system, giving people a budget that they can spend however they want.
People with type 2 diabetes may prefer to use WW, as it has a program specifically for this condition. This program aims to help people lose weight and lower their blood sugar levels.
The program offers a customized plan and the ability to talk with a WW coach at any time. Unlike Noom, WW is also a support group, offering in-person and online group chats to discuss victories and challenges.
People can also access recipes on the website, which may help motivate them to continue with their weight loss plan.
WW has introduced a new, more personalized approach with “my WW.” This is 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 the membership option that fits them best. A Core membership offers all the basic features of the program, whereas Premium offers in-person and coach-led meetings.
Each food plan has a unique balance of Points values and ZeroPoint foods.
Points values are a way of measuring foods based on their macronutrients and calories. Foods higher in sugar and fat have higher points values. People count their points according to their plan.
ZeroPoint foods form the basis of a healthful eating plan, and people can eat these foods freely without counting the points.
WW says that all its plans are equally effective for weight loss.
- offers online and in-person meetings, making it a great option for people who prefer accountability
- uses a points system, which means people do not need to meal plan, as they can eat what they like within their budget
- offers a plan specifically for type 2 diabetes
- has recipes on the website for members to try
- offers a barcode scanner and a restaurant search function so people can stay within their budget when eating out
- due to the points system, may not provide people with the nutritional education they need to make healthier choices after finishing the program
- encourages people to weigh in in front of others at meetings, which may make people uncomfortable
- involves group accountability, which may not be the right option for every person
- unlike Noom, requires people to purchase a more expensive membership to unlock all features
- more expensive than some of Noom’s pricing plans
Noom and WW both offer different pricing tiers with various features.
Noom offers several pricing plans:
|Monthly auto-renewing plan
|2-month auto-renewing plan
|3-month auto-renewing plan
|4-month auto-renewing plan
|5-month auto-renewing plan
|6-month auto-renewing plan
|7-month auto-renewing plan
|8-month auto-renewing plan
|9-month auto-renewing plan
|10-month auto-renewing plan
|11-month auto-renewing plan
|Annual auto-renewing plan
People pay in one lump sum, regardless of the plan they choose. However, people may find that they receive more value for their money by choosing longer plans, as those plans work out to less money per month.
WW has two membership plans:
|$23 per month
|• nutrition plan
• 12,000+ recipes
• weight and activity trackers
• 200+ ZeroPoint foods
• barcode scanner and restaurant search
• members-only digital community
|$45 per month
|all the features of a Core membership, plus:
• virtual and in-person coach-led meetings
• in-person group support
• weekly behavior change techniques
Noom and WW have different methods of logging food.
To log food on Noom, a person must:
- Choose the “Log Your Meals” card under “Today’s Progress” on the home screen.
- Select the meal or type of food they want to record, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.
- Add the meal by searching by name, choosing from saved meals, or entering a new recipe.
- Choose a portion size from among measurements such as cups, slices, and ounces.
- Choose “Done” in the top right corner of the screen after logging all food.
On WW, people need to track only foods that have Points values. ZeroPoint foods do not require tracking, as WW says people can eat as much of these foods as they want.
To track food with Points values, a person must:
- Type the name of the food in the “My Day” search bar.
- Hit “Search” and choose the food, serving size, and time of meal.
- Click “Track Food.”
People can also scan the nutritional label of their food, which may be a quicker way of logging Points.
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 green, yellow, or red 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 fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Yellow foods, such as eggs and avocados, are more calorie-dense. Noom advises that people should eat these in moderation.
- Red foods are higher in calories, and Noom advises that people should eat less of these. Red foods include peanut butter, sugar, and red meat.
The following is an example of a 1-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
WW includes 200+ fresh foods and vegetables on its ZeroPoint list. Starchy vegetables, such as corn, parsnips, and peas, have Points values, and people need to count these.
When a person first joins WW, they get a personalized Points budget, which factors in variables such as age, weight, and sex.
The following is an example of a day’s meals:
- 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 light beer
- Snacks: 3 oz deli-style turkey breast with six whole wheat pita chips and a fruit, cheese, and nut plate
Several studies have investigated the effectiveness of Noom and WW.
During the 24-week program and a total follow-up time of 65 weeks, the participants lost 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.
There is evidence that WW is effective for short-term weight loss. Research suggests that, on average, people who attend in-person meetings lose
However, the above findings are applicable only to people who attend in-person meetings. People who only use the online program may not lose a significant amount of weight in a 12-month period. This suggests that in-person meetings are a key component of success.
However, it is important to note that some of the researchers received grants from WW to conduct this study.
Both Noom and WW are available on desktop and iOS and Android devices. The following table compares the apps.
|App Store rating
|4.7 out of 5 stars
|4.8 out of 5 stars
|Google Play rating
|4.2 out of 5 stars
|4.6 out of 5 stars
|• food logging
• recommended calorie zone
• 1,000+ interactive lessons
• thousands of recipes
• community circles based on user interest
• water tracking
• maintenance mode
|• customized food plan
• customized Points budget
• food, activity, and water tracker
• weight tracker
• barcode scanner
• progress reports
• meditations and workouts
• 24/7 live coach chat
• 12,000+ recipes
• blood sugar tracker
Both Noom and WW have Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot pages.
Noom has accreditation with the BBB, and the organization has given Noom an A+ grade. However, customers give it an average rating of 1.28 out of 5 stars, and Noom has closed 528 complaints as of the time of publishing.
On Trustpilot, customers give Noom an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews on both platforms state that this service is effective. People appreciate the emphasis on understanding the psychological aspect of overeating and how that can affect health.
However, some people say they found it difficult to cancel their subscription, claiming that the company kept charging them after cancellations.
WW does not currently hold accreditation with the BBB. The organization has given the company a C grade.
At the time of publishing, the BBB also warns that the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice are currently taking action against WW for allegedly illegally collecting children’s sensitive data.
Customers give WW an average rating of 1.05 out of 5 stars, and, as of the time of publishing, the company has closed 123 complaints in the past 12 months.
On Trustpilot, customers give the company an average of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews on both platforms state that the app is simple and easy to use, especially when it comes to logging food. Others mention that the company recommended changing plans to save customers money if they could not use all the Premium membership features.
However, others say they did not receive all the features the company promised. Some people found it difficult to cancel their membership or found the membership options unclear.
Although some people may benefit from following a program such as Noom or WW, these programs may not suit everyone.
For some people, logging food and counting points may lead to food fear and
If a person is interested in losing weight in a healthful, sustainable way, they can consider seeking advice from a health professional such as a registered dietitian.
The company promotes lower-calorie and high-volume eating to help people reduce calorie intake and lose weight. Noom may suit people who do not want to count points or calories, as it uses color coding. Noom gives people more freedom to make choices based on healthy 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).
However, Noom does not offer in-person meetings, and while it offers optional coaching, it involves less accountability than other services. People who would prefer more support or would benefit from setting goals with others may find this service less useful.
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. Those who have the Premium membership can also benefit from online and in-person coach-led meetings.
This service does not exclude any foods from a person’s diet. Instead, people receive a Points budget and can eat what they like as long as they do not exceed their daily number of Points. This may benefit those who do not like following structured meal plans.
However, WW locks some of its features behind tiered memberships, which can be expensive. Because in-person meetings may make WW
Help is available
Eating disorders can severely affect the quality of life of people living with these conditions and those close to them. Early intervention and treatment greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.
Anyone who suspects they or a loved one may have an eating disorder can contact the National Alliance for Eating Disorders, which offers a daytime helpline staffed by licensed therapists and an online search tool for treatment options.
Many other resources are also available, including:
- The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
- F.E.A.S.T., which provides support and educational resources to friends and family who want to help someone living with an eating disorder
Here we answer some common questions about these programs.
Which has better results: Noom or Weight Watchers?
Noom and WW (formerly Weight Watchers) are both effective at helping people lose weight in the short term.
For example, one study found that people who use Noom can lose
Additionally, a 2021 research review suggests that people who use WW can lose up to
People should choose whichever program best suits their needs. For example, those who prefer group accountability and in-person meetings may choose WW over Noom.
How does Noom differ from Weight Watchers?
Noom is an online-only service that aims to help people understand the psychology of eating. WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is a service that gives each user a Points budget. Neither service offers strict meal plans — both instead encourage members to eat more high volume and low calorie foods.
What is the downside of Noom?
The main disadvantage of Noom is that it does not offer in-person support. This service may be suitable only for people who do not need group support or encouragement to reach their weight goals.
Noom and WW may both be effective ways for someone to lose weight. They differ in their approaches, and people may find that one service better suits their preferences. People can choose based on dietary guidelines, menus, and service costs.
Research suggests that WW and Noom are effective for weight loss. Online weight loss services may suit people who prefer not to take part in a face-to-face program such as traditional WW meetings.