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Noom Reviews: Long-term weight loss through behavioral change?

Our experts test Noom and assess the science behind its weight loss program

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Poonam Merai, MD
Last Updated: May 26, 2022
Noom Reviews

According to the CDC, more than 40 percent of American adults are obese. As the Mayo Clinic points out, obesity significantly impacts health and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and many other dangerous health conditions.

Many people who have tried to lose weight know it isn’t easy to accomplish. Several factors— including psychological roadblocks like stress, anxiety, and boredom—influence eating behaviors. Health professionals emphasize that learning to make mindful, healthy decisions is the key to controlling weight gain over the long term.

That’s where Noom comes in. Noom was designed to help people lose weight by analyzing the thoughts and actions behind their negative habits. In this way, the company wants to help you change your relationship with food. Does Noom succeed? We’ve thoroughly tested Noom’s services. Find out if you should give it a try.

Editor's Summary

Overall Rating 8.7 / 10

Competitively priced Noom is a comprehensive weight loss program with access to coaches and a community, an easy-to-use app, and its best feature: a personalized curriculum rooted in psychology to help someone establish healthy habits.

Pros

  • Psychology-based approach to weight management
  • Daily curriculum that helps you learn about nutrition and healthy habits
  • Easy-to-use app with food and exercise tracking
  • Discounted pricing and free trials are offered regularly
  • CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program
  • Weight loss guarantee
  • Try out Noom with a 2 week discounted trial

Cons

  • The purchase process is unnecessarily stressful
  • Free trial periods are not always available
Our Top Picks

Noom

While other weight loss programs offer quick solutions with temporary results, Noom aims for enduring success by changing how you think about food. And it works.

Noom offers a special opportunity to invest a small amount of time each day to become more mindful of your choices and your relationship with food. By driving at the core of weight issues, Noom makes itself truly valuable and a worthwhile investment.

3-Month Subscription
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6-Month Subscription
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12-Month Subscription
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How we evaluated Noom

Cost

Rating: 8 / 10

Noom’s pricing is based on a subscription model, and the longer you subscribe to Noom, the lower your per month cost is. During the sign-up process, Noom recommends a monthly subscription that’s based on how long it will take you to reach your ideal weight. As a comparison, a monthly autorenewal subscription costs $66.35, and a year-long autorenewal plan costs about $17 per month. Noom usually offers free or incredibly discounted trials so you can experience its weight loss plan before committing.

Compared to similar services, Noom is reasonably priced, especially for its comprehensive offerings, including a personal coach, access to a community, daily lessons, and its incredibly user-friendly app. You could create a piecemeal experience similar to Noom for much less money by joining weight-loss communities on social media or using free food and exercise tracking apps like MyFitnessPal. But Noom’s focus on educating and empowering you with its well-designed tools is unbeatable.

Ease of use

Rating: 9.5 / 10

The best weight loss plan is one you can stick to, and Noom has made it incredibly easy to commit to it. Because the Noom program is accessible via the app, you have access to everything you need in the palm of your hand. You can adjust the app settings so you receive reminders about logging food. You can pair the Noom app to a fitness tracker or your smart scale so your movement, calories, and weight are automatically logged each day.

Noom’s daily lessons are also on its app, and they are chunked into bite-size, manageable chapters so you can read or listen to them whenever you have time. In testing the app, we also found that the daily lessons were rather enjoyable—a moment to learn and accomplish something during the day.

Personalization for individual needs

Rating: 8 / 10

Because everyone is different, there are no one-size-fits-all weight loss programs. Noom recognizes this and offers an array of options so you can ensure your weight loss program works for you. To begin, Noom suggests a subscription based on your weight loss goals. Noom doesn’t expect you to use the app indefinitely. Rather, Noom empowers you with knowledge and tools so you form and sustain healthy habits long after the subscription ends. Subscriptions range from one month to an entire year, so it really depends on what you need.

Noom doesn’t prescribe any workouts or meals; you choose what to eat and how to exercise. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more prescriptive, Noom sells meal and workout guides for an additional cost.

Noom also customizes the support you receive. You can choose to work with a Noom guide, or if you’re looking for more accountability, you can work with a coach. And for added support and camaraderie, Noom also has a community, if this is something you’re interested in.

In addition to the above major personalization options, there are also little things along the way, such as app settings, that Noom has taken into account so your weight loss program works for your lifestyle and preferences

Customer care

Rating: 9.3 / 10

Noom delivers some of the most motivating and considerate care. After signing up, your Noom Guide contacts you to answer any questions. Whether you’re messaging a Noom Guide or a Noom Coach, they are positive, sincere, and supportive. You immediately feel like someone is cheering you on throughout your weight loss journey.

The company’s support team is also incredibly helpful and timely with their responses. Representatives responded to our questions via email within minutes. They were exceptionally friendly and thoughtful in their communication.

Overall, Noom is supportive with most of its communications—aside from the payment process. This was the only interaction when Noom felt pushy and manipulative instead of caring and supportive. But once you purchase a plan, Noom never adopts that approach again.

What is Noom, and who is it for?

Founded in 2008, Noom is an app-based program that combines behavioral science, technology, coaching, and support to empower people to live healthier lives. Originally, Noom began as a structured, weight care platform known as Noom Weight. Since its inception, Noom also launched Noom Mood—a program focused on stress and anxiety management—as well as Noom Enterprise, which is a business offering for employee benefits programs.

As for Noom Weight, the program is designed to help people lose weight, understand their relationship to food, become more mindful of their habits, and receive support to achieve their goals. Noom Weight provides:

  • Daily educational lessons focused on the week’s particular theme, such as nutrition or physical activity
  • Interactive challenges intended to boost confidence and motivation and help you develop and maintain healthy habits
  • Calorie, food, exercise, step, and weight tracking
  • Recipes based on your budget
  • A support system, such as a support group, a coach, or both

Noom is for someone who wants to learn about their health and lose weight in a gradual and meaningful way. Additionally, the program is best suited for those who can commit 10-15 minutes a day over the course of months.

You should not join Noom if:

  • You don’t have 10-15 minutes a day to spend on the program.
  • You’re looking for a program that guarantees you will lose a certain amount of weight in a fairly quick period of time.
  • You prefer following a strict meal and workout plan tailored to your specific weight goals.

Noom is not focused on rapid weight loss. Instead, it’s about building and reinforcing new, healthier habits. Such a process takes time but can become a more powerful way to keep the weight from returning over the long term.

Long Term Results

How Noom tracks your caloric intake, food, and calories burned

Using the Harris-Benedict equation, Noom calculates your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you burn just by existing. Though it does have limitations, the Harris-Benedict equation is an age-old equation for estimating energy expenditure and is widely used. Noom uses it to establish your daily caloric intake.

You’ll use Noom’s color-coded food classification system to choose which foods to eat. Noom categorizes foods as either green, yellow, or red to help you understand the type of food that you’re eating. The color classification is based upon calorie density, which is the number of calories—or energy—in a given volume of food.

  • Green foods are the least calorie-dense and/or contain the most nutrients. They mostly include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Yellow foods are more calorie-dense than green foods and/or contain fewer nutrients than green foods. Yellow foods include lean meat and starches.
  • Red foods are the most calorie-dense and/or have the least nutrients, such as red meat, sugary treats, oils, and nuts. Red foods should be eaten less frequently or in smaller portion sizes.

Noom makes it easy to log your food each day in one of three ways:

  • You can search its food database and input how much of the food you consumed (e.g. ½ cup cooked black beans).
  • You can create your own recipe.
  • You can scan an item’s barcode and log how much of the food you ate. This is a good option if you’re eating packaged goods, like a specific protein shake or healthy snack bar.

Noom provides a visual so you can see how much food from each category you’ve eaten throughout the day.

Exercise tracking

You can either sync Noom with other fitness-tracking apps, like Fitbit or Polar, or you can manually enter your exercise information. Either way, Noom calculates how many calories you burned based on the intensity and length of the workout, and it adjusts your daily caloric intake accordingly.

Noom coaches and community support

Noom’s coaches and community are incredibly supportive, compassionate, and integral to accountability. In fact, a PubMed study shows that people are more likely to adhere to weight loss programs, like Noom, that offer social support. Noom recognizes that not everyone needs the same type of support, so you can choose the type that works best for you in order to achieve your weight loss goals.

Within hours after signing up for Noom, you’re paired with a Noom Guide. This is someone who can answer any questions about Noom’s process and share helpful tips. Your Noom Guide will reach out a few times a week or more if you have questions. From our experience, Noom Guides are kind, positive, and helpful.

After a few days of using Noom, you’ll be given the opportunity to connect with a Noom Coach. This is someone who helps you set personal goals, helps with accountability, provides motivation and support, celebrates your wins throughout the process, and answers any questions. They get to know you so they can best help you. Noom Coaches are compassionate, empathetic, and incredibly knowledgeable.

In addition to a coach, you also gain access to a small group of Noom users who are at a similar point in their weight loss journey. A group coach moderates the group chat and posts prompts to encourage engagement. In the group chat, you can share healthy meals, successes, struggles, milestones, exercises, or questions. You can also individually message group members. Groups are useful for meeting other people using the Noom program, and they can be a great way to stay motivated.

Overall, Noom offers multiple options for social support so you never feel alone during the weight loss journey, but you must actively participate to benefit from them.

Insider Tip: If social support is helpful to you during your weight loss journey, there are also unofficial, private Noom support groups that you can join on Facebook.

How the daily curriculum works

Noom’s daily curriculum is its best feature. The content is informative, user-friendly, motivational, and easy to read. Based upon cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, the curriculum helps you understand healthy choices around nutrition, movement, and mindset in order to establish healthy habits. The curriculum spans the length of your Noom subscription, and the information slowly builds. You begin as a Noom novice and work to become a Noom apprentice, followed by a Noom scholar, and then finally a Noom expert.

After signing up for Noom, you immediately have access to your first lesson, which guides you through the app and its features. You can either listen to an audio recording of the daily lessons or read them like an ebook. Housed in the lessons are knowledge checks and interactive elements. You can also save any course material so you can easily revisit it later.

The time commitment for the daily lesson is up to you, and Noom tailors the curriculum based upon your choice. You can opt to spend anywhere from 5-15 minutes a day on the daily lesson. The lessons are chunked into chapters, and you have to read them in order. No skipping ahead. But once you complete a lesson, Noom provides extra credit reading if you’re inclined to continue.

Noom's diabetes prevention program

The chronic health condition diabetes affects how the body turns food into energy, and there are three types: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Noom specifically focuses on type 2 diabetes, which is incredibly prevalent. Of those with diabetes, 90-95% have type 2. Type 2 diabetes is preventable with healthy lifestyle changes, like Noom’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Noom’s DPP was the first CDC-recognized virtual program, which means Noom’s program meets CDC requirements and delivers proven diabetes prevention lifestyle changes. Noom’s DPP is a year-long curriculum focused on improving eating habits, physical activity, stress management, sleep hygiene, and other areas affecting health.

Determining eligibility for the DPP begins with an initial survey with questions about weight, height, and whether or not you currently have diabetes. If deemed eligible, you are then paired with a DPP Lifestyle coach who will help you set goals and track progress, as well as motivate you during any tough times and celebrate your victories.

Noom’s DPP involves four stages, spread out over a year.

  • The first stage is learning and involves monitoring of routines, as well as understanding nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep.
  • The second stage is practice and involves setting goals with a Noom DPP Lifestyle coach and gaining support to overcome any potential obstacles.
  • The third stage is advanced learning, in which you solidify your routine and healthy habits.
  • The fourth stage is mastery and entails learning how to maintain healthy habits over the long term and despite any potential obstacles.

Customizing your diet and workouts

Noom is not another restrictive diet plan. Rather, Noom makes it incredibly easy to customize your meals and workouts.

Within the app, you have access to many recipes tailored to the budget you provided Noom during the sign-up process. You choose what to eat. With the color-coded food categories (green, yellow, and red), Noom helps you understand nutrition so you’re better-informed about food choices.

Noom Recipes

But if you prefer adhering to a meal plan, Noom does offer a meal guide created by a Nutrition Specialist. The meal guide is something you can purchase during the initial sign-up or at any point during your Noom subscription. Noom’s meal guide does not appear in the Noom app and will be emailed.

Noom takes the same approach to workouts and does not prescribe any. You can exercise however you’d like. The Noom app has preloaded activities you can log, including walking, a sand run, mixed martial arts, Zumba, horseback riding, kayaking, and dozens of others. Or you can sync the Noom app to your fitness tracker.

If you prefer a workout plan, Noom offers a workout guide, which you can purchase during the sign-up process or at any point throughout your subscription. The guide will be emailed and will not appear in the Noom app.

How much does Noom cost?

The cost of Noom varies significantly depending upon what type of autorenewal subscription plan you choose. Noom has nine plan types. The longer your subscription, the more you save. Here’s a handy chart breaking down the discounted pricing of Noom’s autorenewal options:

  Discounted price Effective monthly cost Regular price
Month-to-month N/A $66.35 $66.35
2-month $99 $49.50 $132.70
3-month $129 $43.00 $199.05
4-month $139 $34.75 $265.40
5-month $149 $29.80 $331.74
6-month $159 $26.50 $398.10
7-month $169 $24.14 $464.45
8-month $179 $22.38 $530.80
Annual $199 $16.58 $796.25

Noom provides either free or discounted trial periods and tells you up-front that each free/discounted trial costs the company about $18. There is an option to contribute a donation to help offset this cost. Otherwise, you can choose to pay very little or nothing at all for the trial period. Additionally, if you refer a friend and they continue on past the trial period, your friend receives a 20% discount, and you earn a $20 Amazon credit.

You can cancel at any time, whether during the trial period or mid-subscription. However, you’ll want to pay close attention to your billing dates. If you choose to cancel after the trial period but mistake the dates, you’ll be automatically charged. To cancel your subscription or trial, you can either do so from the app or the online subscription portal. Canceling is as easy as clicking a button labeled “Cancel Subscription.” Deleting the app from your phone does not cancel your plan.

Noom is clear about not being open to refunds; it believes both the trial period and multiple pricing options are fair.

HSA, FSA, and health insurance

Noom does not have an official policy concerning these forms of payment. Its customer support recommends reaching out to your insurance provider to see if they cover a weight loss/management program. Some health insurance providers may cover Noom, but others may only do so when deemed medically necessary by your doctor. Check with your insurance company to be sure.

Add-ons

In addition to Noom’s core program, the company also offers add-ons that some users may want to purchase. Add-ons include:

  • Weight loss DNA test
  • Custom workout plans
  • Custom meal plans

These add-ons strike us as interesting directions that Noom might further develop in order to improve its impact and efficacy. For instance, Noom partners with Orig3n to offer its DNA test, but the results are not available in the Noom app. The results are only available in Orig3n’s app. The DNA test results also have no bearing on your Noom program. Though you can share your DNA results with your coach, these specialists are not DNA researchers and cannot provide any more insight than what is available in the Orig3n app.

Does Noom protect your privacy?

Noom takes your privacy seriously and protects your data using transport layer security (TLS) encryption, which is the same type of encryption used in emails and instant messaging. Noom does upload the app’s data—like weigh-ins, meals, and exercises—to its servers to give coaches access to your information so that they can provide good service.

Signing up for Noom

You can sign up for Noom through its website or smartphone app. Getting started takes about 15-20 minutes.

Step 1: Questionnaire

To begin the sign-up process, you fill out a fairly extensive questionnaire that asks general information like your age, sex and gender, height, current weight, and goal weight. You’ll then be asked to submit your email address. After doing so, Noom provides an estimate for how long you can expect to achieve your goal weight.

Noom Timeline

The questionnaire then asks other relevant questions focused on your current habits and commitment to your weight loss, including:

  • Health concerns
  • Factors that have contributed to your weight gain
  • Other weight loss programs you’ve tried in the past
  • Any fitness and/or wellness apps or memberships you subscribe to
  • Whether or not you own a scale or a fitness tracker
  • The price you’re willing to spend on reaching your health goals

Step 2: Review your proposed plan and pricing

Noom uses the information from the questionnaire to put together a personalized plan. The company is confident in its plan and even has a weight loss guarantee: If you don’t lose the weight after the Noom program, you get your money back.

Noom offers a free or severely discounted trial with different pricing options. Noom reveals that each free/discounted trial costs the company about $18. You can contribute a donation to help offset this cost, or you can pay very little or nothing at all for the trial period.

After you choose how much you’re willing to pay for the trial, Noom reveals your personalized weight loss plan. While you review your personalized plan, a clock ticks down because you only have 15 minutes to reserve your subscription. The countdown is stressful and not in keeping with how motivational and supportive Noom has been up to this point. It suddenly feels like you’re buying coveted concert tickets instead of a weight-loss program.

Step 3: Subscribe

Noom provides a fair trial disclaimer, which explains that you should be open to committing at least five minutes a day to Noom. If you’re up for the time commitment, then you enter your payment details. And the timer continues to count down.

After you subscribe, Noom can get a bit sales-y, urging you to skip the trial and just commit. The process does become a bit pressure-filled with disclaimers and countdowns.

Using the Noom app

You will use the Noom app every day to log your weight; track food, water, and exercise; interact with your coach; and complete the daily curriculum. It’s incredibly user-friendly and is one of the best parts of Noom.

After you’ve purchased a Noom subscription, you’re then prompted to download the app. The app’s home screen is incredibly intuitive and is where you’ll spend most of your time. At the top of the home screen, you can see how many calories you’ve consumed for the day. This will change as you log your food, and it’s a helpful reminder.

The home screen also contains the Noom tasks you’re encouraged to complete, beginning with the daily lesson. The daily lesson is chunked into chapters. You must read the chapters in order, unlocking them as you go.

The Noom app provides an illustrated path that shows where you are in its curriculum. You can see past and forthcoming lessons. The visual helps you see the progress you’ve made in a way that isn’t tied to food or weight.

Logging Your Meals

You can log up to six meals a day:

  • Breakfast
  • Morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon snack
  • Dinner
  • Evening snack

You can opt to receive food-logging reminders so you don’t forget to do this. Similar to other food-tracking apps, you can search for foods in the Noom database, add recipes, or use the barcode scanner.

After you add all the food for a particular meal, you have to click “Done” in two places to finish logging it. This is the least intuitive part of the app and does take some getting used to.

Weighing In

For some, weighing in daily can be difficult, but this is a part of the Noom process. If you have a smart scale, weighing in is automatic. Otherwise, you’ll need to log your weight manually each day. Noom provides a graphic depiction of your daily weight to see how it’s changed over time.

Tracking Movement

Your movement can be automatically tracked if you sync the Noom app to a fitness tracker. Or you can manually input this information.

Tracking Water

Tracking water is not required, but you can do so by choosing how much water you want to drink daily. This is something you’ll have to manually input into the app each day.

Collecting NoomCoins

When you complete any of the three healthy habits—weighing yourself, completing the daily lesson, and logging all your meals—you receive a NoomCoin. You can collect a total of three coins per day, and Noom congratulates you for earning each one. These coins are not redeemable. They seem like a silly feature, but some may enjoy watching their NoomCoin collection grow. It’s another reminder of how far you’ve come in your weight loss journey.

Other App Features

Built into the Noom app is a message system, and this is where you will communicate with either a Noom Guide or your Noom coach.

In the app, you can also purchase add-ons (like a meal guide), revisit saved lessons, check your course progress, adjust settings, reach out to customer support, and cancel your subscription.

Your alternatives and how Noom stacks up

WW

Formerly known as Weight Watchers, WW is a weight loss program that has been around for more than 50 years. WW offers a holistic and customized weight loss approach that helps with food, activity, sleep, and mindset. Just like Noom, WW uses an app for food and activity tracking, goal-setting, Live Coaching, and more. Depending upon the WW subscription, you can also gain access to more features, like in-person or virtual workshops, meditation sessions, cooking demos, and a WW community.

WW offers frequent discounts, like one free month. Its prices range depending upon the subscription. On the low-end, a subscription costs $3.38 per week ($13.52 per month). Depending upon your location, the high-end can cost more than $10 per week, which is slightly less than Noom’s month-to-month subscription.

WW also has a rewards program. You earn WellnessWins that you can redeem for exclusive products and experiences—something Noom doesn’t have. Overall, WW is more abundant with its offerings and has a lower price tag compared to Noom, but Noom’s daily curriculum is unique.

MyPlate

Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, MyPlate is a free, comprehensive healthy-eating plan. Using your demographic information, activity level, and weight loss goals, you receive a personalized MyPlate Plan with a caloric allowance. To help you adhere to your plan, MyPlate has an app, but its focus is solely on food and nutrition.

MyPlate has a tool that helps you find cost-saving opportunities in your area to aid in budget-friendly, healthy meal planning. MyPlate also offers other resources, like video recipes and MyPlate Alexa, which provides tips and information geared toward caregivers and children. If Noom’s cost is a barrier, MyPlate is a helpful alternative; however, it does lack the social support and psychology approach that Noom has.

MyFitnessPal

Website and smartphone app MyFitnessPal is an extensive resource. It has a library of workouts and recipes, a food diary, a searchable food database, an exercise tracker, a supportive community, and informative articles about health, nutrition, and exercise. In terms of its offerings, the free MyFitnessPal membership provides much more compared to Noom. However, MyFitnessPal does not provide a personal coach or guide as Noom does.

MyFitnessPal premium, which costs either $79.99 for the year or $19.99 per month, provides even more features, including extra diet and goal customization, faster meal logging, curated nutrition and fitness plans, and the ability to export your information as a CSV file to view in Excel.

The data you can track with MyFitnessPal far exceeds Noom’s capabilities. But as a tool, MyFitnessPal is only useful if you know what to do with all of its data and information. Unlike Noom, MyFitnessPal doesn’t guide you with a curriculum, so the onus is on you to educate yourself about topics such as macronutrients, calorie density, and progressive overload. For those starting out on their weight loss journey, MyFitnessPal could be overwhelming.

Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem is a weight loss program focused on protein-packed, easy-to-make meals so you don’t have to worry about meal prep or calorie counting. Nutrisystem tailors meal plans based on your age, weight loss goals, and lifestyle to keep hunger at bay. They also offer customizable plans if you have special dietary needs.

Nutrisystem offers three plans: Basic costs $9.74 a day, Uniquely Yours costs $11.57 a day, and Uniquely Yours max+ costs $12.98 a day. Each plan includes hundreds of menu options for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks; access to the NuMi app; and on-demand, one-on-one coaching support. Nutrisystem’s easy-to-cook and delicious meals differentiate it from Noom. If you want to learn about nutrition and healthy habits, Noom is the better option. But if you’re looking to quickly lose weight, then Nutrisystem is the way to go.

Why you should trust us

At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including Noom. All told, our team has spent over 136 hours testing and researching the products and services of Noom and its chief competitors in order to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how the products and services compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

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