How It Works, Cost, and Effectiveness


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Noom is a popular weight loss app that focuses on behavior change to support weight loss. While there are many benefits of the app, there are also several downsides worth considering.

Since its inception in 2008, the Noom diet, or Noom, has quickly grown to become one of the most searched diets.

According to Noom, people who use the program and adopt a healthy lifestyle can expect to lose 1–2 pounds (lb) (0.5–1 kilograms [kg]) per week.

However, you may wonder whether Noom is just another fad diet or an effective program for healthy, sustainable weight loss.

While I know people who use Noom on a regular basis, I decided to try the platform myself to see whether it’s a program I’d recommend to others.

This article covers everything you need to know about Noom, including what it is and how it works, what I liked, and what I think could be better.

diet review scorecard

  • Overall score: 3.7
  • Weight loss: 5
  • Adherence: 4
  • Whole body health: 3
  • Nutrition quality: 4
  • Health promotion: 2.5

BOTTOM LINE: The Noom diet encourages you to eat low calorie, nutrient-dense foods and monitors your progress via a mobile app. Although its well-established methods are likely effective, it focuses mostly on increasing weight loss rather than improving overall health.

Noom is a mobile app you can download to your smartphone or tablet. Because the program focuses on behavioral changes, Noom calls itself a lifestyle, not a diet.

The app provides:

  • Weekly challenges and educational information: Topics involve nutrition, stress management, goal setting, and healthy habit formation.
  • Tools to track your progress: These allow you to log your meals, exercise regimen, and body weight.
  • A virtual coaching team: Noom guides and interest-based communities, known as Noom Circles, are meant to help you stay on track. Individualized coaching is also available for an additional fee.
  • Biometric tracking: These features help you monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Noom offers a 7-day trial if you’d like to test it out before paying the monthly fee.

  • Name: Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD
  • Role: freelance writer and registered dietitian
  • Dietary needs and preferences: vegetarian, high protein

Prior to trying Noom for Healthline, I had never used any other weight loss apps. However, as a registered dietitian, I’m pretty familiar with counting calories and tracking food intake. I also have experience using apps to estimate the nutritional value of specific meals, foods, or diet plans.

Here are some things I liked about Noom during my experience:

  • App: The Noom app is well designed, intuitive, and easy to use.
  • Quiz: The online quiz developed a customized plan based on my needs and goals and allowed me to reflect on the habits, behaviors, and environmental factors that may contribute to my eating patterns.
  • Daily lessons: I felt the daily lessons were simple and straightforward yet informative. Being able to select the amount of time you want to spend on these daily lessons is also very useful, especially for those who want to spend only a few minutes per day on the app.
  • Support: The Noom guides were helpful and offered resources, advice, and support, which can definitely be an advantage if you have trouble staying motivated. Additionally, Noom Circles can help you connect with others to foster a sense of support within the community.

On the other hand, I thought certain factors could be improved:

  • Food tracking: When it came to logging my foods each day, I felt the food tracker tool was somewhat cumbersome and confusing. As mentioned above, certain foods were categorized as green in one entry but yellow or orange (previously red) in others.
  • Categories: The criteria used to define the color-coded system was confusing. For example, several foods low in calories and high in fiber or protein were categorized as orange (previously red) or yellow. For example, a fiber crispbread with just 20 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a single serving was classified as an orange food.
  • Calorie goals: The number of calories in my daily budget felt very low, especially compared with what I normally eat in a day while maintaining my weight. However, I appreciated that I could easily adjust this as needed to set a more realistic and sustainable goal.

If you’re ready to try Noom, here are the steps you can take to get started.

1. Take the online quiz

To start with Noom, you take a simple quiz on the company’s website or the app.

The quiz collects information about your age, weight, health status, and fitness goals. It also asks for details about your current diet, activity levels, and any habits or behaviors that may affect your health.

Here are a few of the questions the quiz asked me:

  • What feelings are you hoping to achieve during your journey with Noom?
  • Which best describes the area you live in?
  • How long has it been since you were at your ideal weight?
  • Have any life events led to weight gain in the last few years?

2. Set your goals

The app uses information from the online quiz to create a custom plan and provide a realistic timeline for reaching your goals.

As I went through the quiz, the app adjusted my estimated timeline for reaching my target weight based on my answers.

3. Start using the app

Noom requires users to spend just a few minutes per day on the app. The app provides daily educational articles, tips, and activities you can complete at your own pace.

The app also encourages you to log your food intake, exercise, and weigh-ins; send messages to your Noom guide; and join Noom Circles, which are coach-led, interest-based communities, for added support.

Additionally, Noom offers an in-app reward system called NoomCoin. It’s designed to increase motivation to help you complete your daily tasks.

You can easily customize the amount of time you want to spend on Noom lessons each day and can choose from specific ranges, including:

  • 1–4 minutes
  • 5–8 minutes
  • 9–12 minutes

Here’s a closer look at how Noom works and how it may support weight loss.

Reduces calorie intake

Noom aims to help you lose weight the same way as most other commercial diet plans and programs by creating a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit occurs when you consistently consume fewer calories than you burn each day.

Noom uses an algorithm to estimates your daily calorie needs based on your sex, age, height, weight, and answers to a series of lifestyle questions.

When I used Noom, this was known as your calorie budget. Now, Noom provides an ideal calorie range, which is known as your weight loss zone.

For safety reasons and to ensure adequate nutrition, the app does not allow a weight loss zone below 1,200–1,320 calories for women or 1,400–1,540 calories for men.

Noom encourages food logging and weekly weigh-ins. These two self-monitoring behaviors are associated with weight loss and long-term weight loss maintenance.

Noom also allows you to view an analysis of your foods as you log them throughout the day. It displays the color categories of the foods you’ve eaten, the number of calories you’ve consumed from each category, and your total calorie intake for the day.

When I tried Noom, the color categories were green, yellow, and red. The company has since updated its categories, replacing red with orange.

Promotes other healthy habits

Noom encourages regular exercise by setting daily step goals and providing a generic workout guide.

Users can log their physical activity in the app, which provides an extensive list of exercises to choose from. Because I have an iPhone, Noom automatically connected to my Health app to display my total daily steps.

Noom also allows users to track several other measures of progress, including water intake and mood.

If they like, users can enable notifications to set up meal reminders at specific times during the day.

Noom offers the following subscription plans:

  • Monthly auto-renewing plan: $70
  • 2-month auto-renewing plan: $129
  • 3-month auto-renewing plan: $159
  • 4-month auto-renewing plan: $169
  • 5-month auto-renewing plan: $174
  • 6-month auto-renewing plan: $179
  • 7-month auto-renewing plan: $184
  • 8-month auto-renewing plan: $189
  • 9-month auto-renewing plan: $195
  • 10-month auto-renewing plan: $199
  • 11-month auto-renewing plan: $205
  • Annual auto-renewing plan: $209

If you’re confident you’ll use Noom for over a few months, the company’s yearly membership provides the best value at $209 per year.

The company offers discounts frequently throughout the year, too.

If you work for a company that offers a workplace health and wellness program, you can contact the human resources department to find out whether you may receive a financial incentive for participating in a wellness program like Noom.

Still, starting at $70 per month for a monthly auto-renewing plan, Noom may cost more than you’re willing or able to spend.

Note: Noom Med — Noom’s weight loss medication service — costs an additional $49 per month and does not include the cost of any medications you might be prescribed.

Available add-ons

For an additional cost, Noom offers several optional add-ons.

You can choose from:

  • customized meal plans (pdf format)
  • customized workout plans (pdf format)
  • a metabolism test kit
  • a mental wellness course
  • behavior change coaching
  • prescription weight loss medications

You can also purchase a smart scale for an additional fee. A smart scale tracks your body weight and several other metrics of body composition.

Weight loss medications

Noom recently introduced their new program, Noom Med, which is intended to be paired with their behavior change program to promote weight loss.

After signing up, you complete a medical intake form, upload a copy of recent blood work, and schedule a video visit with a Noom clinician.

The clinician then assesses whether you’re a candidate for prescription weight loss medications, including GLP-1 agonists. These medications work by reducing your appetite, slowing the emptying of the stomach, and increasing feelings of fullness after you eat.

If you qualify for a prescription, your care team will also provide ongoing support, monitor your progress, and adjust your care plan as needed while taking these medications.

Mental wellness course and behavior change coaching

Optionally, you can add a mental wellness course to your subscription for $50. It’s designed to help you minimize stress and manage cravings.

For a monthly recurring fee of $150, you can also purchase a subscription to work with a Behavior Change Coach.

According to the company’s customer service team, Behavior Change Coaches can help refine your goals based on your lifestyle and needs. They provide additional support via email, phone, video sessions, or in-app messaging.

Noom also offers a separate program called Noom Mood. It’s designed to help you practice mindfulness and better manage stress levels. However, you’re unable to enroll in both Noom Mood and the weight management program at the same time.

Metabolism test kit

Noom recently partnered with Everlywell, which offers an at-home metabolism testing kit.

The testing kit is designed to measure levels of thyroid hormones, cortisol, and free testosterone. All these hormones are involved in weight management and metabolism.

Users can purchase the kit when signing up or directly on Everlywell’s website. However, because of state regulations, the testing kit is not currently available for residents of New York.

Noom categorizes foods as green, yellow, or orange (previously red) based on their calorie and nutrient density.

The app recommends consuming a set percentage of foods from each color category:

  • 30% green
  • 45% yellow
  • 25% orange

Users receive a target calorie range for their weight loss zone and are allotted a specific number of calories from each category.

For example, of my total daily 1,350-calorie budget, my calorie distribution for each category was as follows:

  • Green foods: 405 calories
  • Yellow foods: 608 calories
  • Red (now classified as orange) foods: 337 calories

According to the Noom website, here are examples of foods for each color:


  • Fruits: bananas, apples, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries
  • Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens, carrots, onions, spinach
  • Starchy vegetables: parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, squash
  • Diary: skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat Greek yogurt, nonfat cheese sticks
  • Dairy alternatives: unsweetened almond, cashew, or soy milk
  • Whole grains: oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread, whole grain pita, whole grain pasta, whole grain tortilla, whole grain cereals
  • Condiments: marinara, salsa, sauerkraut, ketchup, light mayo
  • Beverages: unsweetened tea and coffee


  • Lean meats: grilled chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
  • Seafood: tuna, salmon, tilapia, scallops
  • Dairy: low fat milk, low fat cheeses, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt
  • Legumes and seeds: lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, peas, quinoa, black beans, soybeans
  • Grains and grain products: couscous, white rice, white bread, white pasta
  • Beverages: diet soda, light beer

Orange (previously red)

  • Meats: ham, red meats, fried meats, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers
  • Nuts and nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, walnuts
  • Desserts and sweets: cake, chocolate, cookies, candy, pastries
  • Snack foods: french fries, potato chips, energy and snack bars
  • Condiments and toppings: butter, mayonnaise, ranch dressing
  • Beverages: wine, juices such as orange juice

Keep in mind that some foods may not necessarily fit into the categories exactly as outlined above.

For example, when logging sweet potatoes, I found that certain entries — such as grilled sweet potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, and sweet potato wedges — were classified as green foods. But others — including mashed sweet potatoes, baked sweet potato fries, and oven-roasted sweet potatoes — were yellow foods.

After using Noom for several weeks, I felt that the app made it easier to decrease my calorie intake by categorizing foods as orange (previously red), yellow, or green.

I can see the simple color-coded system being helpful for promoting long-term weight loss, especially when it’s combined with the quick and easy daily lessons for developing healthy habits.

Though I personally didn’t track my weight while trying the app, my mom has used Noom twice with great results. Last year, she lost about 20 lb (9 kg) over 4 months.

Recently, she started using it again and has lost 10 lb (4.5 kg) in 1 month. (Of course, the amount of weight you can or should lose will vary based on factors such as your height, weight, age, food intake, and activity level.)

My mom attributes much of her success to her group and personal coach. Both provided motivation and support to help her stick to her diet and reach her goals.

While any reduced calorie diet plan or program can help you lose weight if you follow it, sticking with a diet can be difficult for many people. In fact, most diets are unsuccessful because they’re difficult to maintain.

What the research says

While research on Noom’s effectiveness is limited, one 2016 study involving nearly 36,000 Noom users found that 78% experienced weight loss while using the app for an average of 9 months, with 23% experiencing more than a 10% loss compared with their starting weight.

Researchers also found that those who tracked their diet and weight more frequently were more successful at losing weight.

Additionally, a 2020 study including 225 adults with binge eating disorder found Noom to be more effective at reducing the number of days participants engaged in binge eating over 52 weeks than standard care.

It’s important to note that the study above was funded in part by Noom, and several authors have conflicts of interest because they’re employed by or have equity ownership in Noom.

Overall, more comprehensive research on the program is needed.

Noom’s program emphasizes a long-term approach to weight loss. It may have several benefits over quick-fix methods.

  • Focuses on calorie and nutrient density: The program categorizes foods by color — green, yellow, or orange — based on their calorie density and nutrient concentrations. In addition to helping you lose weight by eating fewer calories, this categorization system encourages an overall more nutrient-rich, balanced diet.
  • No food is off-limits: Overly restrictive diets can promote disordered eating, which may lead to eating disorders, or obsessive behaviors surrounding healthy or “clean” eating. Noom takes the opposite approach, offering flexibility by allowing all foods to fit into your diet.
  • Promotes behavior change: Noom uses a psychology-based curriculum that encourages self-efficacy. This is the belief in your ability to execute the habits necessary to reach your goals. In this way, Noom may better equip you with the tools and education necessary to make the behavioral changes that underlie successful long-term weight loss maintenance.

While Noom is a comprehensive tool you can use to help you reach your health goals, there are a few things to keep in mind about the app, including:

  • requires a smartphone or tablet and access to wifi or cellular data
  • doesn’t offer in-person interaction with coaches or community
  • an additional cost for personal coaching
  • coaches aren’t qualified to replace a registered dietitian or doctor
  • tracking food intake may promote disordered eating patterns, such as food anxiety and excessive calorie restriction

Other considerations include concerns over calorie goals, limited focus on overall health, and the potential for weight regain.

Calorie goals may be too low

Several reviewers note that Noom recommended a calorie goal that was quite low and significantly less than their typical intake. I also found this to be true.

Cutting calories too drastically can have negative effects, including making it more difficult to stick with your new diet. Noom allows users to adjust their calorie goals.

However, without the help of a trained nutrition professional such as a registered dietitian, many people may not realize that their goal needs adjusting.

Limited focus on whole body health

Noom mostly focuses on promoting weight loss by reducing calorie intake rather than on helping you make healthy food choices.

However, weight loss is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to health.

In fact, many other factors are just as important, including maintaining your mental health, getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly, and managing your stress levels.

Although Noom does offer some advice and educational resources on these topics, it’s not designed to specifically address these other pillars of health.

Additionally, many nutritious and health-promoting foods are categorized as yellow or orange. This implies that these foods are less healthy or should be limited as part of a balanced diet.

While Noom emphasizes that all foods can fit into a healthy diet, the color-coding system and categorization of foods may give some users the impression that calorie content is the most important factor to consider when building a balanced diet.

Potential for weight regain

As with most diets that focus on calorie reduction, there’s a chance you may regain any weight you’ve lost once your diet ends.

While Noom encourages making sustainable lifestyle changes, some users may find their new habits difficult to maintain without ongoing accountability.

Additionally, given that Noom categorizes foods based on their calorie content, some foods higher in calories may actually be beneficial for maintaining your weight.

For example, nuts and nut butters are considered orange foods because they are calorie-dense due to their high fat content.

However, eating healthy high fat foods, including nuts, has been shown to aid weight loss and maintenance.

Noom is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating from the organization.

As with many weight loss apps and programs, Noom’s reviews are mixed.

Positive reviews note that the program provides plenty of guidance, support, and motivation and is effective for long-term weight loss.

On the other hand, less favorable reviews report issues with the functionality of the food tracker and the app itself, as well as dissatisfaction with the responsiveness and level of support Noom guides offer.

Many popular weight loss plans have several similarities to Noom.

Here’s a closer look at how Noom stacks up against two competitors: Calibrate and WeightWatchers.

Noom vs. WeightWatchers

Noom and WeightWatchers are two of the most popular diet programs. Both offer simple, user-friendly mobile apps and promote weight loss by encouraging healthy food choices and lifestyle changes.

However, they also have several differences.

Susanne Arthur, a former senior editor for Psych Central, has a unique perspective, as she has tried both programs firsthand.

Arthur first joined WeightWatchers in 2014 based on a friend’s recommendation. She reached her goal weight and maintained it for a year thanks to the accountability and support she found by attending weekly in-person meetings.

She said she continued using the WeightWatchers app for several years on and off before moving to Iceland, which rendered many useful features of the app, such as the barcode scanner, useless. Additionally, without the in-person meetings, she found that WeightWatchers wasn’t as beneficial.

Arthur joined Noom in August 2021. She said several app features are very helpful, including its intuitive design, the ability to set your own speed for weight loss, and the support from a personal coach.

However, she pointed out that Noom lacks some features that are available in the WeightWatchers app, including the ability to plan meals in advance.

Furthermore, while Noom’s group feature can be useful, Arthur said the in-person WeightWatchers meetings made it easier to feel motivated and engaged.

“I think, for me at least, online support alone only goes so far. It is a supportive tool, but there can be a lot of challenges as well. I believe in order for me to be successful, I’d need in-person support. So, I think if WeightWatchers were available in Iceland with in-person meetings, I’d go back to that and prefer WeightWatchers over Noom,” Arthur said.

For a detailed comparison of WeightWatchers and Noom to help you decide which is right for you, check out our comprehensive article.

Noom may be a good option for people who:

  • are trying to lose weight but unsure how to get started
  • need extra motivation from coaches or peers to stay on track
  • are looking to build healthy habits and seeking a more sustainable alternative to fad diets and other short-term solutions

However, Noom might not be ideal for:

  • people who regularly cook homemade meals, since logging each individual ingredient may feel tedious or inconvenient
  • people who enjoy cuisines from a variety of cultures or use ingredients in their cooking that are less common in the United States, as the selection of foods available on the app is somewhat limited
  • people who are very active or have increased calorie needs, as Noom provides very low calorie recommendations

If you’re unsure how many calories you should consume each day, I recommend reaching out to a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian.

Additionally, if you have any underlying health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or kidney disease, you should talk with a healthcare professional before changing your diet.

Noom emphasizes choosing foods with a low calorie density, which may be an effective strategy for weight loss.

One 2016 study found that Noom was effective at promoting weight loss in 78% of users. However, whether Noom will work for you depends on many factors, including your diet and activity level.

Noom’s monthly auto-renewing subscription costs $70. Meanwhile, an annual auto-renewing plan costs $209, which is about $17.42 per month.

However, this cost doesn’t include any optional add-ons, such as behavior change coaching, weight loss medications, custom meal plans, or custom workout routines.

According to Noom, users can expect to lose an average of 1–2 lb (0.5–1 kg) per week while using the app, though this may depend on several factors, including your diet, lifestyle, health status, and activity level.

While Noom may be a good fit for some people, there are a few downsides. Most notably, Noom doesn’t offer in-person interactions with coaches or other Noom members. The cost, concerns around low calorie goals, and potential pitfalls of food tracking are among other downsides of the program.

Noom is an app you can access using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet.

The app may help people lose weight by promoting low calorie, nutrient-dense foods and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes.

If its cost, accessibility requirements, and virtual-only health coaching are acceptable to you, Noom may be worth a try.


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