From Weight Watchers to Lite n Easy, I think it is safe to say that there are plenty of weight loss programs available across Australia. Joining a program can help us structure and re-evaluate our health goals. They can also be a great way to join individuals going on the same journey, which can be incredibly motivating. It is important to note that we are all unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. So, does Noom work? Noom claims to be the “last weight-loss program you’ll ever need,” so let’s look into it.
What is Noom?
So, what is Noom? Noom is a health app designed by behavioral psychologists, nutritionists, and personal trainers to help you lose weight. The app, which Noom says has helped over 1.5 million people lose weight, allows you to:
- Generate a personalized calorie breakdown based on a series of lifestyle questions
- Track the foods you eat but searching a database (similar to My Fitness Pal)
- Log exercise, weight, blood pressure and blood sugar
- Receive in-app 1:1 health coaching during business hours
- Stay motivated with interactive articles
When you get started, you’ll answer a series of online questions to address your current weight, health concerns, and lifestyle. From there, you’ll be assigned a coach and given eating recommendations. You will also have access to the built-in tools we listed above, which, according to reviews, can be both helpful and overwhelming. Noom divides food into one of three categories: red, green, or yellow. So no foods are exactly off limits. But it is suggested that you limit the number of red foods you eat and increase the number of green foods.
Now, let’s talk about the pros (gathered from a large variety of reviews). It is scientifically validated, as Noom has been scientifically studied (although minimally) and shown to help people lose weight and keep it off. In one study among almost 36,000 people who were Noom users, almost 80% reported weight loss while using the app for a median of 267 days. A second, much smaller study among just 43 overweight and obese Noom participants found that the plan led to a 5% loss of body weight. Another positive is that no food is off-limits, so if you want an apple pie, you can have it. You might get a tiny note on your food tracker telling you that you’ve gone over your portion limit for red foods. You’ll also receive encouraging words for tacking at all.
Firstly, the reviews online are mixed. Many people complain that the coaching is inconsistent (some say practically non-existent) and that the responses feel canned. People also complain that the database lacks many foods. They also complained that it is unreliable, and that tracking food on this plan is a big pain. This is a big drawback given that tracking is integral to this program’s success. Another thing to note is that health coaches don’t have the same qualifications as registered dietitians. There is a huge difference in education and training between a health coach and an RD. On top of this, based on reviews, the health coaching is really overpriced. Common complaints are that people feel they are talking with a robot instead of a person, the support is superficial, and coaches aren’t available 24/7 and often leave you hanging.
Look, a lot of reviewers found the program helpful. If you are someone who likes app-based learning and doesn’t mind tracking your food and hopping on the scale, then you might find it useful.