Noom Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: May 9, 2020

Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, M.D., C.S.C.S

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What Is Noom?

Are you sick of signing up for different diet programs, only to always wind up where you started? One simple app promises to change that pattern forever.

Noom is a wellness app meant to help you reach your weight loss goals and improve your health. The program aims to utilize behavioral psychology to permanently change your relationship to food and fitness for lasting results.

To start using Noom, you’ll first sign up for an account and set your goals, complete targeted activities with your professional health coach and goal specialist, and track your progress along the way.

After working with more than 45 million individuals over the past five years, Noom reports that:

  • 84 percent of users complete their program
  • 64 percent lose five percent or more of their body weight
  • 60 percent maintain this weight loss for one year or more
  • 83 percent of diabetics better control their glucose and others experience a 73 percent reduction in their risk of developing diabetes

While everyone is different, Noom states that people who stick to the program lose an average of one to two pounds per week.

So, if you sign up for a Noom membership, will you find the app easy to use? More importantly, can you really expect it to help you achieve lasting weight loss?

Our review will answer those key questions through an analysis of how Noom works, how much it costs, what customers say about it, and how it compares to similar programs.

Pros
  • Proven effective as a weightloss program for thousands of users
  • Makes it possible to track your daily food and fitness choices
  • Provides community support in a virtual setting
Cons
  • Included eating guide doesn’t suit all diet strategies
  • Online coaches and goal specialists can vary in quality
  • More expensive than many app-based weight loss plans

Special Offer

Looking for a Way to Get in Shape, Lose Weight, and Improve Your Health?

We recommend Noom based on our extensive research and high customer rating. Noom is offering our readers a 14-day trial for a limited time. Click here for this special offer.

How Does Noom Work?

Noom’s primary benefit is that it will teach you how to change your relationship with food. Its goal is to help you tackle your emotional triggers and develop healthier habits through both behavioral changes and accountability.

When you sign up for a Noom account, you’ll start by sharing your fitness goals, current health and lifestyle habits, your most significant challenges to healthy living, and the situations that most often trigger unhealthy habits.

Noom will use these answers to create a personalized plan for reaching your weight loss goals. However, you’ll need to pay a donation (suggested amount $1–$18.37) and choose a membership term to see this plan.

Once you commit, you will receive an activation link to download the app and access a fully customized wellness plan. The app will also give you unlimited access to a Goal Specialist, Group Coach, and community support from other active participants.

16-Week Weightloss Program

Noom gives you an overview of your full wellness plan as soon as you sign up for an account. While the specifics of your plan may vary based on your goals, it will last 16 weeks and consist of four phases.

  • Phase 1 (Weeks 1–4): Focus on defining your goals and motivation to understand the “why” behind your ingrained habits.

  • Phase 2 (Weeks 5–8): Uncover the psychology behind weight loss to debunk myths to sustain healthier habits.

  • Phase 3 (Weeks 9–12): Learn the connection between biology and psychology to build more willpower and better manage stress.

  • Phase 4 (Weeks 13–16): Pull everything together with an added focus on mindfulness and exercise to create lasting change.

You’ll have the option to continue Noom after you complete the program by joining Part 2, which the company states is designed to enhance your new healthy habits and help you make them part of your regular routine.

Continuing your subscription also means you will continue to interact with your Goal Specialist and support group, and receive daily reminders to log your food.

At the time of writing, the app offers up to 52 weeks of unique content that reinforces what you learned during the first four months. However, some Reddit posters complained that the material after week 16 felt recycled, and they often felt it wasn’t worth the subscription cost.

Noom’s Food Guide

Noom divides foods into three categories:

  • Green: low-calorie foods, most vegetables, and fruit
  • Yellow: lean proteins, most carbohydrates, and some alcoholic beverages
  • Red: high-density foods like nuts, seeds, oil, butter, red meat, dairy

The app will teach you how to pay attention to the nutrient content of your food so that you can stay away from options that are too calorically dense. In other words, no food type is banned when you follow Noom. Instead, the app suggests you choose foods that are lower-calorie (but still filling) whenever possible.

As an example, the website states that a quarter-pound cheeseburger and quarter-pound salad will both leave you full, but that the salad has far fewer calories.

Group Accountability

Part of the appeal of Noom for many people is the virtual support network.

This service connects you with a Goal Specialist who works with you to help you meet set weekly goals, as well as a support group of other Noom participants and a Group Coach to help you monitor your daily progress and offer 24/7 support and guidance.

To help pair you with the right specialist, Noom will ask questions that are designed to find the right support group and Goal Specialist for you.

These coaches come from a variety of backgrounds, including psychology, nutrition, health coaching, and more. Many, but not all, are certified by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).

Noom claims this combination of technology, goal setting, and human empathy helps participants permanently modify their behavior for lasting weight loss.

Dr. James Armstrong, who has spent 23 years studying and lecturing on nutrient biochemistry and weight loss, told us that “group accountability is very effective in increasing the likelihood people will meet their weight loss goals.”

He shared with us that a meta-analysis of 138 previous studies concluded that weight loss participants are about 50% more likely to achieve their goal when their progress is monitored in a public context or shared with at least one other person.

We did additional research about the effectiveness of accountability in weight loss. An 18-month study from the Public Health Nutrition and Epidemiology showed that women better maintained their weight loss when they had accountability both from peers and through group educational sessions.

“Accountability to others, social support, planning ahead, awareness and mindfulness of food choices, basic nutrition education, portion control, exercise, and self‐motivation were perceived as key facilitators for weight loss and weight loss management by women,” the study noted.

Though Noom’s coaching system has the scientific backing to be a powerful tool, Reddit forum commenters share that the quality of this coaching relationship can vary.

Some people found their coaches to be engaging and supportive, while others described them as “robotic” and aloof.

Kristin DeVries, a staff nurse at Michigan-based Holland Hospital, agrees that Noom coaching can be hit or miss.

She successfully used Noom to lose 25 pounds and has maintained the loss since completing the program. But in her view, she resonated more with Noom’s daily articles than the coaching.

“I don’t like online relationships if I haven’t met the other person before,” she told us. “Working with my Goal Specialist felt robotic because I couldn’t relate to her.”

It’s possible to request new coaches and goal specialists, though we encountered some complaints from people who struggled with the transfer process and never received a new support team.

You can initiate the process of selecting a new Goal Specialist through Noom’s online contact page. You’ll choose “other” for your reason for the message, and then share your concerns about your current group and what you’re looking for in a new Specialist. Noom will respond to your message within a few days.

Likewise, you can contact your Group Coach directly through the app if you want to join a different group, and he or she will work to accommodate you.

Is Noom Effective? Looking at the Evidence

We wanted to know if Noom’s calorie-counting approach to food and its accountability system was truly effective, so we reached out to several experts to ask about this type of approach to weight loss.

Dr. Michael Bishop, is a psychologist and founder of Camp Pocono Trails, a summer program for young people that focuses on weight loss, fitness, and responsible tech use.

He told us that breaking down food into calorie-based categories is a solid approach to weight loss but not a comprehensive one.

“It absolutely makes sense to break down foods into three simple categories,” he told us. “The easier we can make the categorization of food, the simpler our tracking will become.”

A potential limitation of Noom’s platform is that it relies only on input of calories (while ignoring the breakdown of carbs, fats, and protein) in comparison to recommended daily allowances. Nonetheless, it boasts the most accurate caloric food database of similar apps.

How accurately you can count calories can make all the difference in whether you successfully lose weight, so this is an important factor when deciding whether to try Noom.

However, Dr. Bishop explained that there’s more to weight loss than monitoring what you eat. Watching your calorie intake will work for a while, but that change alone isn’t enough for sustained behavioral change.

For lasting progress, you need a clear idea of what you want to achieve.

“We’ve found it best to align daily behaviors with larger ‘big picture’ goals… and managing their calorie intake so that long term goals can be possible,” Dr. Bishop said.

“When daily tracking of calories consumed is linked to big-picture items, the motivation to stay on track helps create long-term success.”

In addition to calorie restriction, other lifestyle changes, like physical activity, are vital for successful weight loss and long-term maintenance. Though Noom’s primary emphasis revolves around diet, the app also lets you log your daily exercise and calculate the calories you burn in the process.

Likewise, Dr. Bishop’s perspective aligns with Noom’s strategy of getting participants to identify their goals at the beginning of the program and continuously checking in with a goal specialist.

“[It’s best to] write down your hopes and dreams, and describe the idealized ‘you’ that you are trying to become,” he told us. “Keep these thoughts in mind as you work each day to become a healthier, happier person.”

We found that majority of Noom participants are happy with the service, but a number of them plateaued in progress after their initial weight loss.

That’s partly because some users struggled to adjust to Noom’s eating standards and found it too difficult to follow for the long term, even with the program’s focus on behavior modification.

DeVries’s experience was different. She appreciated how the app’s psychology was built around the idea of forgiving yourself for any slip-ups and continuing to progress.

“Noom helps you accept where you are without feeling pressure to change too fast,” she told us. “One bad day doesn’t ruin all your progress.”

Special Offer

Looking for a Way to Get in Shape, Lose Weight, and Improve Your Health?

Noom is offering our readers a 14-day trial for a limited time. Click here for this special offer.


How Much Does Noom Cost?

All new Noom members are eligible for a free 14-day trial, though you’ll need to pay a “donation” (minimum $1) to access your free trial. You will also need to choose one of the following options during signup:

  • Monthly: $59/month
  • 2-Month Plan: $49.50/month
  • 4-Month Plan: $32.25/month

During checkout, you also can add a customized workout plan ($39), meal plan ($59), both for $59, or a weight loss DNA test ($39).

If you choose any of these options, your card will be billed immediately, while you’ll still have 14 days before being charged the full membership price for the program itself.

Once your trial has ended, you’ll immediately start your chosen plan and pay the associated fee, which will automatically renew until you cancel. Note that you will continue paying for Noom until you cancel, even after the completion of your 16-week program.

You can reach customer service for cancelation information at (800) 910-7375, programsupport@noom.com, or via the site’s contact form.

Key Takeaways from Customer Reviews

Over 1,300 Noom customers have left reviews on HighYa, and they have awarded this service an average of four stars, with 77% stating that they would recommend the service to their friends. Here’s a summary of some takeaways from these reviews.

Common Compliments:

  • Program can lead to successful weight loss
  • The program’s slow and steady approach works for many people
  • Many users lost weight who had failed at other previous attempts
  • Focus on cognitive behavior helped change habits

Common Complaints:

  • Personal coaching isn’t always effective, can seem scripted and impersonal
  • Overly simplistic food classification system
  • Food plan doesn’t pair well with specialized diets like Whole30 or the Ketogenic Diet
  • Many users paired Noom with other food tracking services
  • Billing complaints are common, some customers paid more than expected after signing up

Overall, we think these reviews show that Noom led to long term health improvements for a lot of participants, primarily those who were willing to pay for the service beyond the trial period and who were willing to engage beyond the bare minimum with their Goal Specialist and within their support group.

Noom vs. Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal

Let’s look at how Noom stacks up to two other wellness programs, Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal.

Weight Watchers is similar to Noom in that it combines group accountability with diet and lifestyle changes.

One significant difference is that most of Weight Watcher’s coaching takes place in-person through group meetings. If you prefer, you also have the option to join online communities through the Weight Watchers app.

From a food perspective, Weight Watchers assigns you a number of points that represent your daily allotted food. The amount of points per food item varies depending on its nutritional content and total calories.

Similar to Noom’s “green, yellow, red” system, no food is entirely off-limits for Weight Watchers.

The amount you pay to join Weight Watchers depends on the level of support you want. Digital membership starts at $15 per month, joining workshops is $30 per month, and coaching begins at $45 per month—though your price will vary based on how long you commit. This makes a Noom membership more expensive in most cases.

MyFitnessPal is slightly different. This app offers less in the way of coaching and is more of a one-stop platform for tracking your meals, fitness activities, and weight loss progress.

You can connect with other members through the app, and it also includes a built-in scanner for logging barcodes of what you’re eating.

This app is free for a basic package. Premium membership gives you access to more nuanced calorie counting settings, ad-free content, the ability to track your macronutrient levels, and more. It will cost you $9.99 a month or $49.99 per year if you prepay.

While MyFitnessPal excels at food tracking, it doesn’t offer the built-in support system you’ll get from either Noom or Weight Watchers.

If you prefer a streamlined way to track your progress, this service is a low-cost way to stay on track. If, however, you need both guidance and accountability, you’ll likely be happier with one of the other two options.

Here’s a summary of these differences:

Noom Weight Watchers My Fitness Pal
Cost Per Month $32.25 to $59.99 $15 to $45 Free or $9.99 ($49.99 for an annual membership)
Group Accountability In-app coaching and support groups In-person meetings with a coach and others in your community N/A, but can connect with other app users
Food Tracking Interface Track your daily calories, all food is classified as “green,” “yellow,” or “red.” All food is given a set number of points, and each participant has a number of allotted points each day. Track your exercise, food intake, and weight loss progress.

The Bottom Line: Should You Sign Up for Noom?

Noom offers a lot of value for those who are intimidated by starting a weight-loss journey alone because it breaks down the process into manageable steps.

Noom is set up so you spend less than 15 minutes on it a day, and it offers behavioral training based on psychological principles to help redefine your relationship with food. And compared to other wellness programs, Noom stands out from other options because of its built-in coaching and accountability.

All Noom users become part of a supportive community of coaches and other users dedicated to helping them meet their goals. If you’re looking for accountability but don’t want to join a traditional weight-loss program like Weight Watchers, Noom offers you a bit of both, but the quality of coaching might not be the same as with in-person groups.

Keep in mind that you’ll pay for this extra level of service with membership fees between $30 to $50 per month.

That’s a lot more than other app-based weight loss options that let you track your meals and exercise, but you’re paying for the extra personalization, psychological motivation, and accountability that comes from Noom.

Likewise, the app is designed to “graduate” you after 16 weeks or so, so if you follow that timeline and cancel your subscription afterward, you won’t be paying more than about $200 for the service. And from what we’ve heard from users, Noom won’t try to convince you to stay.

“What I found refreshing about Noom,” DeVries shared with us, “is that the app tried to ween me off itself after my 16 weeks. The last few weeks of Noom focused on helping me establish habits for the long term.”

If you like the idea of Noom, we recommend signing up and possibly planning to use MyFitnessPal once you “graduate” to continue tracking your food intake. Following the program may teach you the skills you need to change your approach to health for good, regardless of whether you keep using it.

Special Offer

Looking for a Way to Get in Shape, Lose Weight, and Improve Your Health?

Noom is offering our readers a 14-day trial for a limited time. Click here for this special offer.



Customer Reviews

Start your review of Noom:
  • 1312 Customer Reviews
  • 77% Recommend This Company
4.0 out of 5
5 star: 56% 4 star: 18% 3 star: 5% 2 star: 4% 1 star: 15%

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  • Frustrating website and interface

    • By Katherine K.,
    • Spring, TX,
    • May 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Definitely not a friendly interface and in my opinion, they do not disclose the price. Immediately billed $49 and a week or two later $129.00. I never logged in once and when I tried to cancel I could not get into the app to get it done. No place on the desktop to cancel. My Fitness Pal is just as effective and so much less. Never again...

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Terrible experience

    • By Brenda H.,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Mar 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for the $10 trial. I never used it, next thing I know I have a $99 charge pending on my credit card. I contacted Noom, which was not easy. No phone number to call where you can talk to a person, recording only. I had my credit card company dispute the charge, but Noom will not let it go. So, now I'm in a wrangle with them over this going back and forth. I have to submit documents, etc. to my credit card company to try and get reimbursed. A huge hassle. Beware of Noom!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Vicious automatic charges

    • By Richard W.,
    • Norwich, CT,
    • Mar 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    My complaint is that I told my "coach" at New Years I was stopping and yet they BILLED me $150 again in March. I did not lose weight on Noom but the real complaint is taken great care to KNOW how to stop them from billing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Take money without authorization!

    • By Stefan G.,
    • Spain,
    • Jan 16, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    WATCH OUT! I was stupid enough to give my bank details to pay 1€ for the trial.

    After 1 hour I saw that this app didn't suit me so left it there because it was only 1€.

    Now they charged me 79€ WITHOUT MY AUTHORIZATION and it is not possible to claim my money back! Please don't make the same mistake! SCAM COMPANY, WATCH OUT.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Join Noom - GAIN 50 LBS.

    • By Larry R.,
    • San Diego, CA,
    • Jan 12, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I joined Noom in July on their "free trial" - as it sounded like an interesting way to change your habits. They promised an online coach/specialist - it never happened!

    Instead of losing weight; I gained 50 lbs since the Noom Trial.

    Instead, I was charged $99 per month! I tried to cancel several times - my credit card company refuse to cancel - you MUST cancel through Noom - but no one to contact. I send emails to Noom since November 1st to no avail.

    Never sign up for a service that makes it impossible to cancel!

    You must have the app installed to cancel and you need to cancel through iTunes!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Noom will not warn you when the trial period is over

    • By Maaret S.,
    • Australia,
    • Jan 11, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Shame Noom has a good product just dishonest in subscribing me after trial period WITHOUT my authority. So when I signed up for the trial, I did not sign up for a year's subscription but unfortunately, I didn’t realize I was gonna get ripped off, and have been automatically signed up for a year's subscription for $219. I have canceled my app on the phone because I just feel sick to the stomach. I feel like I have been stolen from. It’s such a shame that they cannot rely on the quality of the product, instead they have to sweep to such extent to extract money. Has left a bad taste in my mouth. You would do better to shop around.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Smart, no-nonsense, helpful program

    • By Madi W.,
    • Bozeman, MT,
    • Jan 7, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been doing Noom since March 2019 and am really impressed with both my weight loss and the healthier habits I have developed. I've always been a pretty healthy person - I eat lots of whole foods, exercise almost every day, am careful with portions, etc. Like many others, I still have areas where I could make healthier choices and that reflected in my weight and struggles to lose the weight I wanted to lose. I'm 35 pounds down and have 15 more to go. I'm taking it slowly but surely and enjoy the benefits every day. I especially love having a coach and a support group to rely on. Noom will give you what you put into it and doesn't make any extreme promises or prescriptions. I strongly recommend giving it a shot.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Yep, I had a bad experience with billing too

    • By Alina G.,
    • Australia,
    • Dec 28, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Ugh. I wish I'd looked at this site before. I was enjoying a quiet evening, when I checked my email and saw they'd charged me for four months' subscription at once, with no refund for unused months. First you pay for a trial of 14 days, and then they take out four months' without alerting you first?

    Yes - once I searched through my email it was in one I had only scanned, and wasn't aware in any other way that there would be the 4-month payment. When I thought I was signing up for a trial, I wasn't alerted in any other way of this cost - so it is very easily missed.

    Be very aware of subscriptions. This is, unfortunately, not the first experience I've had with details being hidden in the scroll down.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Did you know about the recurring billing?

    • By Greg H.,
    • Oregon,
    • Dec 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I feel I was deceived. I bought a 10-month program. I was charged for a second 10-month plan. I want a refund. So far they are saying no.

    Their "system" did not work for me. I do not have a problem with the system, I have a problem with their shady billing practices.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Save your money

    • By Charles M.,
    • Pflugerville, TX,
    • Dec 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Please save your time and money by not joining this diet program as you can find many free apps on the internet that will do the same things as this company makes you pay for. Also, their fraudulent refund program policies make this a company that you want to avoid. There is a class action lawsuit being initiated against them for their company policies.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • App is not available

    • By James B.,
    • Bigfork, MN,
    • Nov 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The billing was fast but no phone number is available...slow to respond to things...need to have an iPad to get it. I would not recommend based on billing practice and customer service.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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Noom Diet: Does It Work for Weight Loss?