noom diet app review from clean eating chelsey

Noom Review: Pros & Cons, Is it Worth it?

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Crash diets and other dieting fads almost always fail. The key to losing weight for life is to develop better habits in terms of diet, exercise, and self-care.

This is where Noom can help.

This popular weight-loss app offers customized meal planning and has been used by more than 46 million people, making it one of the top diets of 2020. Even though the app is trendy, it focuses on helping people make lifestyle changes that will allow them to achieve long-term weight loss results.

Does it work?

As with any type of diet, there are advantages and disadvantages to Noom. Our Noom Review will cover some of the most important information to know before deciding if their coaching app is worth your investment.

What is Noom?

Noom is an app that was originally geared toward millennials, but is now in use by millions of adults of all ages. It is based on behavioral psychology and is designed to help you implement changes that lead to long-term weight loss.

The goal is to help you change your lifestyle to achieve better health rather than relying on drastic changes like eliminating entire food groups or cutting out certain nutrients.

Here’s a quick video explaining Noom in pretty clear terms:

How Does it Work?

At a price of about $39 per month (can be cheaper if you commit to more months at a time), the app lets you:

  • Create customized calorie recommendations using answers to a variety of questions about your lifestyle.
  • Work with a Noom coach to help you stay on track and answer questions
  • Keep track of the foods you eat by scanning their barcodes or looking them up in the Noom Food List
  • Track your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and exercise habits.
  • Take advantage of one-on-one health coaching through the app during normal business hours.
  • Take quizzes or read articles to maintain your motivation.

According to Noom [1], the psychologists who developed the app chose content and techniques that are designed to help you develop healthy habits more quickly than you could on your own.

Noom Pros and Cons

Pros

One of the primary benefits of Noom is that the dietary recommendations incorporate whole foods. The recommended meals and snack options are both healthy and packed with nutrients.

When you first install the app, you will be asked to answer a series of questions about your activity level, your weight-loss goals, your demographics, and any health conditions that you suffer from. After receiving this information, your calorie needs are calculated using a special algorithm.

The calorie recommendations are further broken down to include the specific number of calories that you should get from carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Food and Activity Tracking

To ensure that you stick with the program, the app requests that you track what you eat. Keeping track of your diet like this has been proven to help with weight loss since it allows you to get a better sense of the amount you are eating and the types of foods that you are consuming.

Tracking your food intake is relatively straightforward. The app has a database of over 150,000 foods that you can search. Alternatively, if you eat packaged foods, you can simply scan in the barcode to automatically record the food. Researchers at Duke University found that obese or overweight people who tracked their meals using apps on their smartphones were more successful in losing weight.

This study was published at the beginning of 2019 in the JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth Journal [2]. According to the findings, people who used tracking apps to record their meals lost more weight than people who tried to monitor their diet without the assistance of an app.

In 2016, Scientific Reports reviewed data for more than 35,000 people. This review found that over 77% of people who have used Noom for nine months reported that they had lost weight [3].

Coaching

The coaching can also make a big difference in helping people reach their goals. In essence, it is like having someone cheering for you as you work to lose weight. Every day, you get recommendations on what to do to stay on track toward your goals. These recommendations are customized just for you based on your physiology, nutritional requirements, and psychology.

The app uses coaches who have been approved by the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches. These coaches are available to provide assistance on weekdays during normal business hours.

Health Tracking

Users who are interested in keeping track of their blood sugar or blood pressure can either enter the information manually or they can sync the app with their devices. This information is easy to share with your doctor or with someone in your family.

One of the biggest things that Noom has going for it is that it creates a sense of community. People using the app can join groups where they can talk to others in real-time and support each other. This can make a big difference in helping you achieve your goals.

Affordable

When compared to what normal health coaching might cost, we’d say the price of Noom is very reasonable. You can get access to all of their features and programs for as little as $16.58 per month.

You’d be hard-pressed to find access to everything Noom offers for such a low price.

14-Day Free Trial

Noom gives you a chance to see try the app and coaching app with no financial commitment. This trail period lasts for two weeks, giving you plenty of time to decide if you want to make a financial commitment to using Noom to help you reach your health goals.

Cons

Price Can Be Prohibitive

Paying $39 a month for an app is fairly expensive, but you can bring that monthly price down substantially by purchasing more months in advance. The yearly plan, for example, comes out to be only $16.58 per month. There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about whether the value provided by the app is worth the expense.

There are other apps available such as MyFitnessPal that allow users to track food in much the same way. These apps are free to use, but their free versions don’t really come close to offering everything that Noom does.

Conflict with the Research?

The Duke University research referenced above primarily looked at the effects of free apps. That seems to indicate that there may not be a major difference in your results based on whether you use a free app or opt for the paid service.

Limited Access to Coaches?

Another drawback is that the coaches are only available during business hours. This may be inconvenient if you happen to have questions that come up in the evening when you are eating out at restaurants, traveling, or struggling with food decisions.

If this does happen, though, you can always connect with your Noom Community, which the app assigns you to, to check in and see if a fellow Noomer can assist you.

*Note: There is an option to pay extra for a goal specialist who is available after normal hours. Since the app is already quite expensive, however, the cost may be prohibitive for many users.

How Does Noom Coaching Work?

Wondering what Noom’s Coaches are like? Let’s hear from Coach Trish directly, to give you an idea of the caliber of coaches you’ll be working with:

 

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When you sign up with Noom you will be assigned a coach, also known as a “goal specialist.” According to the Noom webiste [4], you will connect with your coach via their app.

This takes place in a private messaging feature, that can only be seen by you and your coach. Just look for the message bubble on the top right hand corner of your screen to send and check messages.

You and your 1:1 Goal Specialist will work together every week through the chat feature. They are there to offer support as you move forward in your health journey.

They’ll also help with goal setting, that meets your individual needs and expectations.

Review Summary

Noom encourages users to form better habits. Apps like these have been proven effective by research. Based on that, you may want to try doing the 14-day trial. As long as you cancel your subscription before the first two weeks are up, you won’t be charged. Just avoid purchasing any additional subscriptions through the app.

If you notice that the coaching or the content of the app itself makes you feel like you aren’t worthy or makes you feel ashamed, however, don’t be afraid to cancel your subscription.

Accountability apps have been proven useful. Like anything, however, they may not work for you since everyone is different. It all depends on your personal approach to achieving better health and your likelihood to follow through on the recommendations.

Since it is a paid app, it may not be the best platform for trying to figure out whether or not this type of system works for you.

Losing weight and achieving better health both require you to actively make changes in your life. These changes need to occur on a physical, emotional, and psychological level.

If you keep this in mind, you are one step closer to achieving the healthy body you desire.

Resources

Cited Sources

  1. Published Research on Noom Users’ Experiences, Noom. Found at https://web.noom.com/published-research/
  2. Juliana Chen, et al., The Most Popular Smartphone Apps for Weight Loss: A Quality Assessment, JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. Found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704947/
  3. Sang Ouk Chin, et al., Successful weight reduction and maintenance by using a smartphone application in those with overweight and obesity, Scientific Reports. Found at https://www.nature.com/articles/srep34563
  4. How do I communicate with my coaching team? Noom. Found at https://web.noom.com/support/support-premium-features/my-coaching-team/2016/08/how-do-i-communicate-with-my-coach-2/