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After spending a month using both Noom and Lifesum, I have experienced the pros and cons of each nutrition app and can now definitely say which app is best based on certain needs and preferences.
The main difference between Noom and Lifesum is that Noom is a diet system that both tracks your food and teaches you how to lose weight through behavioral education, whereas Lifesum only focuses on helping you track your food and exercise intake, which helps you to make your own informed decisions around health goals.
To help you decide which nutrition app is best for you I’ve compared them head-to-head in key categories and provided a list of pros and cons for each one.
- Noom is best for those who have tried to lose weight in the past but weren’t successful because their behaviors and mindset did not set them up for success – Read my complete Noom Review.
- Lifesum is best for those who want an app to help them learn more about the nutritional value of food and to keep them on track toward their calorie and macronutrient goals. It can be used for a variety of goals, not just weight loss (like Noom) – Read my complete Lifesum Review.
Noom vs Lifesum: Quick Overview
Here’s a quick overview of how Noom and Lifesum compare to help you decide which is the better nutrition app for your needs.
|Food Categorization Based On Quality||Colors (Green, Yellow, and Orange Foods)||Ratings (A - E)||Noom places foods into green, yellow, and orange categories, whereas Lifesum gives you a letter grade for the foods you eat.|
|Tracking Capabilities||Noom doesn’t allow you to track macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats).|
|Calorie Recommendations & Accuracy||Calorie Range - Somewhat Accurate||Specific Calorie Target - Not Accurate At All||Noom gives you a flexible calorie range to hit (i.e. 1400-1800 calories), but Lifesum forces you to hit an exact calorie target (i.e. 1400). Lifesum’s calorie target is often inaccurate.|
|Level Of Customization||No Customizations Available||Ability To Customize Calorie & Macronutrient Targets||Lifesum allows you to adjust its recommendations to suit your preferences whereas Noom’s recommendations cannot be adjusted.|
|Education Opportunities||Daily Psychology and Nutrition Lessons||Nutritional Info When Logging A Particular Food||Noom educates users to set them up for long-term success, whereas Lifesum works more as a tool for data collection|
|Coaching||1:1 Coaching Included In Membership||None||Noom allows users to communicate with a coach for support and encouragement|
|Recipe Database & Meal Planning||Large Recipe Database||Large Recipe Database & Pre-Made Meal Plans||Noom and Lifesum both have recipes but Lifesum also offers meal plans based on the user's preferred diet.|
|Exercise Calories||Half Of The Calories Burned Are Added Back To Your Intake||All Of The Calories Burned Are Added Back To Your Intake||Noom makes it easier to lose weight by adding fewer calories burned back into your daily food allotment|
|Price||Monthly: $9.99 USD|
Quarterly: $24.99 USD
Annually: $49.99 USD
|Noom is the most expensive diet app on the market.|
|Reviews||4.3/5 stars||4.5/5 stars||Lifesum has better overall reviews than Noom even with 32,291 more reviews|
What Is Noom?
Noom is a nutrition app that uses behavioral psychology lessons and food logging to help users lose weight. According to Noom, the app hopes to be the “last diet that users ever go on”. We’ve reported on several before and after results from people using Noom with great success.
Noom works by collecting information from the user in the sign-up process to recommend a calorie range that will allow the user to work towards their weight loss goal. The calorie range also adjusts based on the activity that the user participates in.
Users are encouraged to stick to their calorie range by logging the foods they consume into the app using Noom’s food database and recipes. Having a calorie range vs a fixed number is unique to Noom and encourages users to have more freedom with their diet choices.
Another feature unique to Noom is its use of color categorization to educate users that all foods can fit but in different quantities.
Noom has green, yellow, and orange foods that are classified based on calorie content with green foods having the least amount of calories and orange foods having the most.
Users are encouraged to eat more green foods, recommending that users consume 45% yellow foods, 30% green foods, and 25% orange foods which are tracked in a progress bar in the app for users to reference each day.
Noom also enables users to take part in daily lessons about habits, behaviors, and nutrition so that users can begin to apply these principles in their own lives and make meaningful changes. This is great for people who want to understand why they might have failed diets in the past, too.
If users require additional support, then Noom provides opportunities to speak directly with a coach for support, guidance, and encouragement, which can justify the slightly higher cost of the app compared with Lifesum (which offers no direct support)
- Behavioral Psychology Lessons
- Calorie Range Over Specific Calorie Target
- A Large Database of Recipes
- Access To A Coach
- The Lower End Of The Calorie Range Is Very Low
- Does Not Track Macronutrients (Carbs, Fats, Protein)
What Is Lifesum?
Lifesum is a nutrition app that allows you to track your food intake, exercise, and key habits to help users improve their health.
Lifesum allows users to choose between weight gain, weight maintenance, or weight loss; though most users seem to pursue weight loss.
During the sign-up process, Lifesum collects information about the user to make calorie and macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) recommendations to help the user reach their goal. While testing the app, though, I found the calorie recommendations to be largely inaccurate because it severely underestimated how much food I should be eating.
As a nutrition coach, I know I can lose 1lb-2lbs per week (a healthy rate of loss) by eating 1800-2000 calories per week but Lifesum recommended I eat 1300-1500 calories per day, which is far too low and would likely cause me to lose muscle.
However, Lifesum also provides you with the opportunity to customize your own calorie and macro goals to suit your needs and preferences. So while you don’t have to rely on the app’s inaccurate calorie recommendations, some beginners might not know how to customize their intake properly. If you do though, then the app’s calorie customization is a benefit
Lifesum is known for its extensive food database as well as its recipe database, providing users with lots of options to choose from.
Lifesum also offers meal plans based on popular diets. With that said, some diets can be pretty restrictive, so make sure you preview the meal plans before starting to make sure they feel sustainable for you.
- Tracks Calorie & Macronutrient Intake
- Ability To Customize Calorie & Macronutrient Goals
- Habit Tracking Features (Water, Vegetable, Fruit, and Seafood Consumption)
- Extensive Food & Recipe Database
- Recommended Calorie Intake Is Too Low
- Some of The Pre-Loaded Diets Are Too Restrictive
Noom vs Lifesum: Head To Head Comparison
To compare Noom and Lifesum, I’ve put their key features head to head in 11 different categories.
Noom isn’t very customizable as you cannot make changes to your calorie target yourself so you’re stuck with whatever recommendation Noom makes for your calorie range.
Lifesum allows you to set your own calorie and macronutrient targets and choose whether or not you’d like to track specific habits.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum has more customization options for users than Noom so it’s the winner.
2. Tracking Capabilities
Noom allows you to track your calorie intake, exercise activity (steps and exercise), body weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose measures.
Lifesum allows you to track calorie intake, macronutrient intake, exercise activity, body weight, measurements, and habits.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum is the winner because it allows you to track your macronutrient intake, which is important for your health and body composition. It also allows you to track habits which is great for behavior change.
3. Recommendation Accuracy
Noom’s calorie recommendations are provided as a calorie range which I prefer because of the flexibility that it provides for users; however, the calorie range provided is quite large which makes it difficult to say whether the recommendations are accurate.
I found that the middle-to-upper end of the calorie range that was recommended to me was an accurate calorie recommendation based on my goals; however, the lower end of the range was much too low.
For example, my calorie range was 1330 to 2080 calories per day. If I were to eat 1330 calories I would lose a substantial amount of muscle and my ability to burn calories would slow to a crawl. However, if I were to eat 1800-2080 calories then I would lose weight at a sustainable pace.
Lifesum’s recommendations include a fixed number of calories and grams of macronutrients for users to adhere to. The calorie recommendation that Lifesum suggested for me to maintain my weight was way too low and would cause me to severely undereat if I were to use the app for weight loss.
The inaccurate calorie recommendation also negatively affected the macronutrient recommendations because these targets were calculated using the calorie recommendation.
Although Lifesum allows you to adjust your own calorie and macro targets, most people using the app probably don’t know how to set appropriate calorie and macronutrient targets for themselves.
The Winner: Noom
Noom’s calorie range is more accurate than Lifesum’s set calorie target, so I feel confident that those using Noom are less likely to severely undereat.
4. Exercise Calorie Adjustments
When you log exercise into a nutrition tracking app, the app estimates how many calories you burned through activity. Calories that are burned through activity can help you to lose weight by creating a calorie deficit that encourages your body to use its own resources (ideally fat) for fuel.
However, some nutrition apps are designed to add calories burned through exercise back into your daily intake. This would be appropriate if your goal was to maintain your weight; however, if your goal is to lose weight, then adding these calories back in is counterproductive.
Noom is designed to add half of the calories you burn through activity back into your daily intake by adjusting your calorie range.
For example, if you burned 300 calories from daily activity (i.e steps and/or exercise), Noom would add 150 calories back to your intake and you would still have a 150-calorie deficit created from your activity.
Although I would prefer that they didn’t add any calories back in (to make weight loss easier), at least Noom doesn’t add all of the calories burned back to your intake.
Lifesum adds all of the calories burned through activity back to your daily intake, making it impossible to create a calorie deficit for weight loss by exercising or moving more.
If you’re using Lifesum to maintain your weight then this isn’t a problem. However, if you’re using the app for weight loss, then it is more of an issue because it makes it much more difficult to lose weight as it is much easier to burn calories than to eat less.
That said, Lifesum does allow users to turn this feature off so that the calories burned are NOT added back into your intake.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum wins because they did provide users the option to turn this feature off and Noom does not.
Noom provides users with an opportunity to speak to a coach using a Live Chat feature.
When I tested the app, I reached out to a coach asking for advice to see if the advice they provided was up to my standards, and I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful and caring the coach was.
Lifesum doesn’t provide any opportunities for users to work with a coach.
The Winner: Noom
Noom allows users to speak to a qualified nutrition coach that will help them through the process and provide an additional layer of accountability.
6. Food Database
Noom claims that they have “the most reliable, comprehensive food database in the world”, with “over 3.7 million options to choose from”; however, Noom users have major complaints about the database being inaccurate.
Many Noom users claim that they use the app purely for psychology lessons but track their food in other apps with more accurate food databases.
Lifesum has an extensive food database, encompassing 5 different verified food databases, which contain foods that have been verified to contain accurate nutritional information.
Lifesum also allows users to create their own foods, which leads to the app having more inaccurate options due to user error.
However, as long as you’re sticking to foods that are verified (foods with blue check marks) then the food you’re logging will be accurate.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum has a more accurate food database despite allowing users to create their own foods because they provide more verified options to choose from. Noom’s food database appears more inaccurate and does not provide information about foods that are verified or not.
7. Recipe Database
Noom has a recipe database with over 150 options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The recipes tell you how much of each category of food the recipe contains (green, yellow, and red foods).
Lifesum also has a recipe database for its users with over 250 recipes for breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks. Lifesum provides in-depth nutritional information for each of its recipes so that you know how many calories, macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein), and micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) it has.
The Winner: Lifesum
Although the recipe databases are very comparable, I’m choosing Lifesum based on my own personal preference. I find the Lifesum recipes more appetizing than the Noom recipes, so I would be more likely to use Lifesum’s recipe database than Noom’s. However, others may feel differently.
Noom puts major emphasis on educating its users about behavior change and nutrition by incorporating daily lessons and quizzing you on information provided in these lessons to help users retain this information.
Noom also educated users on how often to eat particular foods based on the number of calories that they have by classifying them as green, yellow, and orange foods.
The only educational feature in Lifesum is the nutritional information for particular foods that are provided when you’re logging foods into your daily intake and classifying them with a letter grade from A to E.
The Winner: Noom
The education that Noom provides is top-notch so it wins this round.
Noom currently does not offer any type of community support; however, there are plans in the works to develop a community feature so that users can communicate with one another.
Lifesum does not offer a community chat in the app for users to communicate, and it is unclear whether this is something they plan to expand on in the future.
The Winner: Tie
Neither app currently allows users to communicate with each other in the app to share success stories, ask for support, or offer encouragement.
10. Customer Reviews
Noom has 4.3 / 5 stars from 287,000 reviews. The main reason why Noom has a lower rating is because of the frustration users have with the inaccurate food database. It’s a shame because all reviewers agree that the lessons Noom offers are a game-changer.
Lifesum has 4.5 / 5 stars from 319,291 reviews. Users are impressed with Lifesum’s features and don’t seem to care that calorie recommendations are too low because, at the end of the day, users see short-term results.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum has a better rating than Noom from more reviews so Lifesum wins this category.
Noom is the most expensive diet app on the market at $199 per year but the additional cost is associated with additional features that aren’t available on most other diet apps. These features include behavioral psychology and nutrition lessons, and the ability to work 1-on-1 with a coach.
In truth, I have mixed feelings about the price because most diets fail due to the lack of education and emphasis on behavior change, so investing in these lessons could be the difference between long-term success or failure.
However, there are basic features that fall short (customization, macronutrient data, and food database accuracy) that I would expect to be better in the most expensive app on the market.
Lifesum costs $49.99 per year which is much cheaper than Noom; however, Lifesum also lacks the advanced features that Noom offers. However, when compared with apps that have similar features and capabilities, like FatSecret ($58.99/year), it’s apparent that Lifesum is competitively priced.
The Winner: Lifesum
Lifesum may not have the most accurate recommendations but it allows users the opportunity to make their own adjustments, it has a large verified food database and features like meal plans, habit tracking, and recipes to improve the user experience.
So overall, Lifesum seems to offer more for the price.
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.