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 on person might not work for another. 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, as well as 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 (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, but you’ll also receive encouraging words for tacking at all.
The cons. Firstly, the reviews online are mixed with many people complaining that the coaching is inconsistent (and some say practically non-existent) and that the responses feel canned. People also complain that the database lacks many foods, 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 con important to note is that health coaches don’t have the same qualifications as registered dietitians and there is a huge difference in the education and training between a health coach and an RD. on top of this, based on reviews the health coaching is really over billed with common complaints that people felt they were 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, and 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.