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Noom is being advertised everywhere I turn, and as a nutrition coach who teaches clients to change their nutrition by developing better habits and behaviors, I was intrigued by an app that claims to combine nutrition and psychology to help people “lose weight for good.”
Along with my colleague, Janine Collins, we tested the app for a month, exploring every free and paid feature it offers (I wrote the article you’re reading, and she produced the YouTube video).
Combined, we’ve tested and reviewed 20+ nutrition apps, so we have a solid understanding of how these apps compare with one another.
- Noom is excellent if you’ve previously tried to diet and were unsuccessful because you didn’t understand how to make your diet fit your lifestyle. Rather than help you just track calories, Noom emphasizes habits and behaviors that help your diet feel sustainable.
- According to an independent study of 15,376 Noom users (3,761 males and 11,615 females), 77.9% reported a decrease in body weight while using the app, with 22.7% experiencing more than a 10% weight loss from baseline.
- If Noom was recommended to you by a healthcare provider, you can get reimbursed for the cost of the app (conditions apply).
- Noom doesn’t allow you to track macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats), so I recommend looking elsewhere if you’re looking for a macro tracker only.
Noom offers a 14-day trial for $1 (using this link) if you want to test it out before paying the monthly fee.
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
Medical Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for educational insights only. It should not be used as medical guidance. Individuals with a past of disordered eating should refrain from weight loss programs or calorie tracking. For medical advice, consult a certified healthcare professional. If you’re struggling with eating disorders, contact NEDA for assistance.
What Is Noom?
Noom is a nutrition app that focuses on food tracking and behavioral psychology to help you either lose or maintain weight.
That said, Noom is primarily used as a weight loss app that teaches you how to change your mindset about food and your body so that you can be successful long-term.
Noom claims that they strive to be the last diet that you ever do because they want you to lose the weight and keep it off.
Noom emphasizes habits and behaviors that help you adapt to your nutrition so that it feels sustainable rather than just helping you track calories.
- Related Article: What Does Noom Track? And, What Apps Does It Sync With?
How Does Noom Work?
Noom works by using the information it gathers about you in its sign-up process to calculate a calorie intake range that will help you reach your goal. Noom encourages you to track everything you eat throughout the day to ensure that you’re staying within your recommended calorie range.
In addition to daily tracking, you are also expected to weigh in (although not required) and partake in lessons about nutrition and behavioral psychology.
Noom also makes an effort to teach you about balance (eating all foods in moderation) so that you develop a better relationship with food while losing weight. Their method for teaching users that no foods are ever off-limits is to use color-coded food categories: green, yellow, and orange foods.
- Green foods are foods that are lower in calories and nutrient-dense (i.e. spinach).
- Yellow foods are foods that have a moderate calorie content but are nutrient-dense (i.e. eggs).
- Orange foods are foods that have a high-calorie content and fewer nutrients (i.e. bacon).
Note: Noom used to use “Red Foods” to categorize foods that are high calorie, but in 2022 they changed it to “Orange Foods” because they thought that “Red” had a negative connotation. Just know that if you see “Red” or “Orange” foods, they’re the same.
Noom encourages you to eat mostly green foods (70%) with some yellow foods, and a limited amount of orange foods. The colors associated with food choices are designed to help users understand how each food fits into their daily intake.
Noom doesn’t make adjustments to your calorie intake beyond its initial recommendation so if you reach a weight loss plateau and you’re not making progress, you will have to adjust your calorie intake yourself (which you can do by making a “manual calorie adjustment” under “weight loss settings”).
- 35 Noom-Friendly Breakfast Ideas
- 35 Noom-Friendly Dessert Ideas
- How To Use Noom + My Top 6 Tips For Beginners
Note: Other nutrition apps that I’ve reviewed (like Avatar and MacroFactor) adjust your calorie intake automatically based on how your body is changing. This is helpful when you reach a plateau in your weight loss journey and don’t know what to do about it.
What I Liked About Noom
Before diving into what I liked about Noom, I’ve put together a list of 40 Noom before and after results of what people have achieved by using the app. Check it out if you want to real-life stories.
1. The Daily Lessons Keep You Motivated To Work Towards Your Goal
I like that the app offers daily lessons about mindset and behavior change because I believe it functions as a source of motivation for those using the app and educates them on key concepts related to nutrition and habits.
It can be hard to stay motivated when progress is slower than you’d like it to be, but having constant reminders that you’re on the right track can help users accept that progress takes time and that mental progress is just as important in the long run as physical progress.
The app also strives to help users feel more confident and knowledgeable by educating users on key concepts and then quizzing them to ensure that they’re understanding the information being provided.
My only worry is that people won’t take advantage of these daily lessons because they aren’t required. You can use this app to log your food without taking part in a nutritional or psychological lesson, so this powerful tool might go unused.
2. The App Won’t Let You Eat Below A Certain Calorie Threshold To Protect Users
Another thing that I like about the Noom app is that it has limits to how far it will allow users to push to achieve their weight loss goals.
The app has limits built in that won’t let women eat fewer than 1200 calories and men fewer than 1400 calories, because intakes beyond these thresholds can be dangerous for your health.
This is such a valuable feature because oftentimes people just don’t know that a 1200 calorie or 1400 calorie intake isn’t appropriate, so having these limits in place helps to educate users that calories shouldn’t be too low, even when weight loss is the goal.
That being said, it is important to recognize that intakes higher than 1200 or 1400 can still be unhealthy for certain individuals, they just aren’t as dangerous as intakes lower than these limits.
For this reason, I wish the app encouraged users pursuing sustainable weight loss to stay within a 50-500 calorie deficit (50 to 500 calories below their predicted maintenance), but I’m still happy that they have some protections in place.
Note: Out of all the apps I’ve reviewed, I haven’t seen any other one have these permanent lower limits in place for calorie intake. The closest I’ve seen to this is with MacroFactor, which allows you to set your own lower limit.
3. You Can Set A Daily Step Goal To Increase Your Calorie Expenditure
I also really like that Noom encourages you to set a step goal to adhere to because I think the calories that you burn while doing daily activities are often overlooked when it comes to weight loss.
Having a step goal encourages users to move more often throughout the day, which has been proven to be extremely beneficial for weight loss and overall health.
I’m always encouraging my clients to work towards a step goal so that they’re making an effort to move throughout the day and because it gives them something to focus on beyond weight loss progress.
The only downside to having a step goal in the Noom App is that the more steps you get, the more it adds calories back into your intake, which is very frustrating considering you can’t turn this feature off (more on this in the next section).
What I Didn’t Like About Noom
1. It Provides Too Large Of A Calorie Range For Your Daily Target
I don’t like that there is such a large range for what Noom considers an acceptable calorie target (aka their “weight loss zone”).
In my opinion, an appropriate calorie deficit to lose weight sustainably would be anywhere from 50 calories to 500 calories below maintenance.
I worry that people will want to be overachievers and eat on the lower end of this range (which would be 1330 for me). I don’t feel it would set users up for success because it wouldn’t be enough calories for sustainable weight loss (if that’s Noom’s stated goal).
I think that those eating on the lower end of this range will get to a point where it no longer feels sustainable, but still feel like they need to adhere to the lower range to “see progress more quickly”. When they can’t adhere anymore, they may feel like they’ve failed.
That said, I do like the idea of having a calorie range for your daily intake target because it reinforces that you don’t have to adhere to an exact number of calories to see progress. I would just make sure you’re not exceeding a 500-calorie deficit per day.
2. It Ignores Your Macronutrient Intake
The lack of macronutrient information (protein, carbs, and fats) is a missed opportunity for Noom and its users because it doesn’t teach users that eating enough of each nutrient is important for their overall health.
The app functions as a calorie counting app, which I understand that’s what most people want, but I still think there should be an option to see your macronutrient intake to ensure you’re getting enough of each one.
Instead, Noom completely ignores the fact that macronutrients exist.
This raises a red flag because their goal is to educate users on nutritional concepts, but they’re failing to provide the full picture if they’re not mentioning macronutrients.
You could eat within the app’s recommended calorie range and choose foods that are mostly “green foods” and still be unhealthy if you’re undereating protein or healthy fats.
Note: Even Fooducate, which is purely a calorie counter (and has very limited features) allows you to see your macronutrient intake in a daily summary.
3. It Adds Calories Burned Back Into Your Daily Intake
I’m also not thrilled that Noom encourages you to track your activity but then adds calories back to your intake for doing so, which makes it harder to achieve a calorie deficit.
Here’s why that can be frustrating for users:
- Let’s say that you’re achieving 5000 steps per day, which is allowing you to burn an additional 200 calories per day.
- These additional 200 calories that you’re burning would normally count towards your calorie deficit making it easier to lose weight; instead, Noom adds these 200 calories you burned back into your daily intake.
- In doing so, Noom makes it harder for you to lose weight because none of your activity is helping you achieve a calorie deficit.
In my experience working with clients, it’s much easier for clients to burn more calories through activity and exercise and keeping food intake higher, than having to decrease food intake because of a lack of calories burned through movement.
If Noom provided an option to turn this feature off then it wouldn’t be an issue.
I can understand that they would want to offer this feature to those who are trying to maintain their weight because these users would want to eat back the calories they’re burning so that their weight stays stable.
Edit: It turns out that Noom is only supposed to add HALF of the calories you burn back into your intake (I read that in this article on the Noom’s website), it turns out the app was malfunctioning for me and added ALL of my calories burned back into my intake. This was confirmed by customer support when I reached out to them.
4. It Is More Expensive Than Other Apps On The Market
Another drawback for Noom is that it’s the most expensive nutrition app on the market at this time. Noom costs between $17-$68/month, but to get the lowest price you have to commit to a 12-month membership.
Other paid nutrition apps with similar calorie tracking capabilities and that also track macros, generally range from $3.33/month to $11.99/month. For reference, some of these other apps are designed with built-in diet coaches that adjust everything for you.
The main feature that is truly unique to Noom is the psychology aspect of the app, which I do love, but ultimately you have to decide whether that aspect alone is worth the additional cost.
The key features of Noom are:
Daily Nutrition/Psychology Lessons To Encourage Education
The best feature that Noom has to offer is its daily nutrition and psychology lessons, which users can take advantage of to help them change their mindset and level of nutritional education.
Noom has a progressive course curriculum that allows users to unlock new lessons once the previous lesson is complete.
The lesson plan includes:
- Intro to the psychology of weight loss,
- Food fundamentals
- Mastering motivation
- The only 7 habits you need
- Food fundamentals (II)
- Beyond food, sleep, stress & you
- Matters of the mind
- Embracing the journey
- Food fundamentals (III)
- Inside your intuition
The app will only let you complete a certain number of lessons per day so that you can’t just power through these lessons as fast as possible.
Additionally, there are regular quizzes to ensure that you’re grasping the information you’re receiving.
I love the way they’ve designed these lessons because I think every decision they’ve made regarding this feature shows that Noom actually wants you to retain this information and use it to change your perspective.
Food Categories To Emphasize Food Quality
One of the key features of Noom is its food quality categorization using its color rating system of green, yellow, and orange foods.
This feature is a good way to convey that no foods are off-limits. Most people who have tried to diet in the past have probably tried to cut out or severely restrict certain foods to try and reach their goals, and failed.
Restriction isn’t productive for sustainable weight loss, so the fact that Noom is trying to find a way to explain that some foods should be eaten in lesser quantities because they are higher in calories and have fewer nutrients without encouraging the notion of “good” and “bad” foods is commendable.
- Related Article: The ULTIMATE Noom Fast Food Guide (18 Meal Examples)
Recipe Database For Meal Inspiration
Another key feature for Noom is its recipe database which has tons of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options to inspire users to try new recipes and meal combinations so they aren’t getting bored.
The recipes give you an overview of the quality of the food involved by telling you what percentage of foods in the recipe are green foods (lower-calorie, higher-nutrient foods), and that it shows you how well this recipe will fit into your calorie budget.
Large Food Database Making Food Logging Easier For Users
One feature that can make or break the Noom experience is the size and accuracy of Noom’s Food Database, which is what the app uses to provide users with nutritional information based on the foods that they’re eating.
The Noom database is quite extensive with over “3.7 million options to choose from” according to Noom, meaning that users shouldn’t run into issues logging foods that don’t exist in the Noom app.
Additionally, Noom claims that they “pride themselves on having the most expansive and reliable food database available”, so one would assume that this food database is accurate.
However, there have been items here and there that I know for a fact aren’t accurate, and I also found this thread on Reddit where Noom users expressed their frustration with Noom’s database not being accurate.
Ability To Track Your Blood Pressure & Blood Glucose
Noom also provides you with the ability to track changes in your blood pressure and blood glucose levels, which is helpful for those who want to know if they’re improving these metrics.
It’s not super obvious where you can find this feature, but scrolling to the bottom of the app, and selecting “track more progress” is where you can get started with this feature.
Direct Messaging With A Support System & A Coach (If Requested)
Noom also has a messaging feature where a support team called “Noom Guides” who you can contact if you have any questions about the app or your program. However, they also state in their automated message that they can provide tips and tricks to help you throughout your journey.
I reached out to the Noom Guides to ask about how to deal with nighttime snacking, which is a common struggle that my own clients have. The Noom Guides responded by sending me three articles related to overcoming nighttime snacking.
The articles were very informative, but it’s not a personalized experience like you would get from a one-on-one coach. It felt more like a customer support agent just trying to answer my ticket.
I’ve read in other online reviews that Noom has the ability to talk one-on-one with a nutrition coach. So, after receiving the articles from the Noom Guides I asked if there was a possibility, and it turns out there is.
Apparently to speak with a coach one-on-one you have to request it, which is very important to know because otherwise, I wouldn’t have known that they provided the opportunity to speak to a coach (i.e. they don’t actively promote this feature).
After requesting to talk to a coach, I was paired with a coach who I genuinely found very helpful. My coach was very focused on goal setting and suggested weekly check-ins to ensure that I was succeeding with the goals I had set.
- Related Article: 15 Noom-Friendly Smoothies, According To Dietitian
What Other Customers Think
Noom’s TV commercials advertising the app involve alleged Noom users claiming the app changed their life but Reddit users weren’t thrilled with the accuracy of the food database, so I wanted to investigate a bit further to see what users genuinely think about the app by going through the app’s Google Reviews.
The app has an impressive 4.3/5 stars from 287,000 reviews as well as over 10 million downloads. I’m not surprised at the number of downloads because I truly see advertisements for this app everywhere.
Those who are newer to Noom seem to be very excited about what they’ve seen and experienced so far and share that they’ve lost 1-5lbs in the first month. The most common theme among positive reviews is how valuable the daily lessons are for behavior change.
“I love the daily lessons.They start my day with a positive focus. It’s like cardio or strength training…the results aren’t immediate, but with daily persistence you see the benefits. I’ve used several different tracking systems, all of which have had their benefits. But I like Noom’s approach with the combined daily lessons. You still have to put in the work, and it’s not always easy, but Noom provides the right tools and support to keep me going and overcome obstacles.”
“It’s early on still, but noom is very easy to use and figure out. With short easy lessons and clear tools and set up, it takes a lot of stress out of it. You still have to put in the work of watching what you eat and exercising, but it takes the guess work out and is very informative.”
“Noom is so enjoyable and easy to use. The daily lessons are very helpful in changing my thinking patterns and behavior, recipes are helpful, and the tracking is easy because of the extensive food data base. I like the positive notes I receive, and encouraging others throughout the day. It’s like a personal coach. So many good tips along the way. Thank you Noom!”
Noom Negative Reviews
As I dived further into the reviews, I noticed that those who have been using the app for a while (>2 months) have more negative things to say about Noom and don’t share how much weight they’ve lost.
Common negative themes among these reviews were that the food database is frustrating because of a lack of certain items and inaccurate nutritional information and that users have had a ton of issues with the app freezing and crashing since its latest update.
“The actual nutrition course is really nice and well put together. But all the other features are pretty bland and just worse versions of other apps. The food logger isn’t particularly good, and there’s no way to connect to a better one. Or more than 1 device. You can pretty much connect a watch and that’s it. It gets advertised with some sort of assistance (coach?), but it’s a bot that just breaks down the meal entries. If I could, I’d give them negative stars for customer service.”
“I wish this app worked better. I really love how helpful the program has been, but my stats and goals keep resetting and it often doesn’t load. You would think with how much they ask for the premium version the app would perform better. The constant crashes and technical issues have gotten in the way of my weight loss routines and I don’t think I want to pay them anything until the app works. Very disappointed.”
“The app hasn’t worked well in the last few months. It is incredibly slow, it crashes and it does not allow you to log your exercise. They just keep telling you to uninstall and reinstall it. I am disappointed with my Noom experience in the last few months. Before the app stopped performing, the program was great! I hope they get it fixed so people can benefit from the program”
Note: Although I only used Noom for a month, I personally never experienced any issues with the app freezing or crashing.
Overall, there were plenty of positive reviews about the lessons that the app provides; in fact, even those who gave the app a one-star review stated that they liked the daily lessons, but there were a lot of users who were unimpressed with how the app functions.
How Much Does Noom Cost?
Noom is a paid app, so there is no free version of the app for you to download; however, you can try noom for 2 weeks at a lower cost before committing to their full-price membership.
You have the option to try noom for 2 weeks for only $1.
However, as you’ll see in the screenshot below, Noom also allows you to pay more for the 2-week trial. Yes, you read that correctly. You have the choice to pay more if you want.
I don’t know who would opt to pay more, but Noom says that if you’re willing to pay more for the 2-week trial, then they can continue to offer lower prices to those “who need to select the lowest trial prices”.
After the 2-week introductory price, noom has multiple different payment plans:
- 2 month auto-renewing plan $129 USD ($64.5/month)
- 4 month auto-renewing plan $169 USD ($42.25/month)
- 6 month auto-renewing plan $179 USD ($29.83/month)
- 8 month auto-renewing plan $189 USD ($23.62/month)
- 12 month auto-renewing plan $209 USD ($17.41/month)
If you’re still unsure whether Noom is a good fit for you, then it’s best to go with the 2-month plan; but if you’re committed to using Noom long-term then it’s a much better deal to pay for the 12-month plan.
Who Should Use Noom?
- Those who want to improve their relationship with food
- Those who want to develop healthier habits
- Those who want to understand why they may not have been successful with dieting in the past
Who Should NOT Use Noom
- Those who want to gain mass
- Those who will try to eat as little as possible to achieve their goals
- Those who want to track their macronutrient intake
- Those who will get frustrated using a food database that isn’t the most accurate
Sign Up For Noom
When you sign-up for Noom you have the option to create an account using your email or using a “Unique Program ID”.
Upon further investigation, I learned that if Noom was recommended to you by a healthcare provider or insurance company that is registered with Noom, you could get reimbursed for the price of using the app if you have the right coverage in your insurance plan.
If you can get coverage for Noom through your insurance provider, they will provide you with an ID that you can input to sign up.
The sign-up process for the Noom is quite extensive with three different categories of questions for you to answer.
The three categories are:
1. Demographic Profile
The demographic profile questions include questions about your sex, gender, age, height, weight, goal, health history, and relationship with food.
2. Behavioral Profile
The behavioral profile questions ask about your motivations for losing weight, how your weight has affected other aspects of your life, what barriers have stood between you and your goal, and your current level of motivation.
3. Habits & Behaviors
The habit and behavior questions are related to how many meals you eat, what your meals currently look like, what lifestyle stressors you deal with, and your willingness to set exercise goals.
I’ve tested 18+ nutrition apps (click to check out the full list). Based on my experience, here are some top 2 alternatives:
The best alternative to the Noom app is MacroFactor because it has the largest food database that has been verified by a registered dietitian to be as accurate as possible, so you can rest assured that the foods you’re logging are accurate.
Another reason that MacroFactor is a great alternative for Noom is that it adjusts your calorie intake based on how well you’re progressing toward your goal, so you don’t have to worry about what to do if you reach a weight loss plateau.
Enter code FEASTGOOD when signing up to get an extra week on your free trial (2 weeks total). Cancel any time before your trial ends without being charged.
The second best alternative for the Noom app is the Avatar app, which also adjusts your calorie intake for you but does so using weekly check-ins.
Another perk that comes with the Avatar app is the ability to talk to a nutrition coach for support, guidance, and motivation to keep you on track with your goal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Noom Good For Weight Loss?
Noom appears to be good for weight loss in the short-term based on user reviews and its calorie calculations, but it’s unclear if those who lost weight using the app have kept it off. Noom could use improvement nutritionally, but the mental progress that users achieve using Noom is undeniable.
Is Noom Free?
Noom is not a free app and does not offer a free trial. You can try Noom at a lower price ($1-$24.41) for 2 weeks, after which you would need to buy one of their memberships (2, 4, 6, 8, 12-month membership).
Is Noom Compatible With Apple Watch?
Noom is compatible with Apple Watch, as well as Google Fit, Fitbit, Garmin, and iGlucose. If you intend to only track your steps (and not exercise) then you can also use Noom’s built-in pedometer.
Is Noom Accurate?
Noom’s behavior coaching is accurate, it’s a very good resource for those who need to improve their relationship with food and mindset. However, its calorie range is way too broad so you could technically be severely undereating or eating an appropriate amount and still be considered “on target”.
How Do I Cancel My Noom Subscription?
You must cancel your Noom subscription in the app store that you used to download it from. Deleting the app will not cancel your subscription, so make sure you cancel your subscription before uninstalling the app.
How To Contact Noom?
You can contact Noom through the app under the “messages” tab in the drop-down menu, or you can visit their webpage here to contact their support team.
Noom emphasizes habits and behaviors that help you adapt to your nutrition so that it feels sustainable rather than just helping you track calories.
Other Diet App Reviews:
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- FatSecret Review
- Macrostax App Review
- My Diet Coach App Review
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About The Author
Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath. She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.
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