Noom Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Nov 6, 2019

What Is Noom?

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 it, you need to 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 plan tend to lose 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 deliver significant—and 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.

How Does Noom Work?

The first step for using Noom is signing up for an account online. You’ll start by sharing your fitness goals, current health and lifestyle, your most significant challenges to healthy living, and the situations that most often trigger unhealthy habits.

Noom will use your 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 your plan.

Once you commit, you will receive an activation link to download the app, which gives you a fully customized wellness plan as well as unlimited access to a health professional and group support.

The primary benefit of following Noom is learning how to change your relationship with food. Your goal is to tackle your emotional triggers and develop healthier habits through both behavioral changes and accountability.

From a food perspective, you will learn to pay attention to the nutrient content of your food and stay away from options that are too calorically dense.

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

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.

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.

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 National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) certified.

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.

The Evidence for Noom’s Effectiveness

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.”

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,” he said.

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

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.”

How does this translate to Noom’s users? While we found from customer reviews that the majority of Noom participants are happy with the service, a number of them plateaued 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.”

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 roll to your chosen plan and pay the associated fee, which will automatically renew until you cancel. Note that you will continue paying for Noom even after the completion of your 16-week program unless you cancel first.

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 78% stating that they would recommend the service to their friends. Here’s a summary of some takeaways from these reviews.

  • Noom can lead to successful weight loss. A clear majority of Noom users are happy with the app. Many wrote that it helped them lose weight when they hadn’t had success before because it created a framework for slow and steady weight loss that kept them motivated.

    One reviewer wrote that the app helped him lose 30 pounds in 73 days because he never felt demoralized when experiencing a setback.

  • Coaching can be hit or miss. While many reviewers wrote that they found the personal coaches to be amazing and supportive, the majority who mentioned them in their reviews found this program feature to be less beneficial.

    For instance, one reviewer noted that she had requested a female coach but was quickly switched to a male when her original coach went on maternity leave. It took more than a week of requests before she was transferred back over to a female, but she found this new coach’s advice to be scripted, impersonal, and not relevant to her personal health goals.

    One reviewer wrote that they were in a coaching group with more than forty members, but no one ever contributed in the group, and the Coach only shared articles that Noom required without putting in any extra effort.

  • The food classification system is simplistic. Some reviewers wrote that Noom’s food classification system didn’t translate well for those following specialized diet plans like the ketogenic diet or Whole30.

    While some of these users wrote that they appreciated Noom’s focus on cognitive behavior, they preferred using other food tracking apps like MyFitnessPal to monitor what they ate.

  • Billing complaints are common. Most one-star reviews were related to billing issues. These users reported that they were charged for a full Noom subscription before their trial expired and that they took issue that they needed to pay for the “free” trial in the first place.

    There are also reports where Noom purportedly billed users for hundreds of dollars without any apparent purpose.

Overall, we think these reviews 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. You do have the option to join online communities through the Weight Watchers app if you prefer.

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.

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.

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.


Read 1301 Noom Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 4.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 742 4 star: 242 3 star: 66 2 star: 59 1 star:  192
Bottom Line: 78% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 1301
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  • Scam

    • Ohio,
    • Nov 8, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve read all of the reviews NOW. I wish I had read them before. I never would have joined. I am being charger $105.68. There is no person to talk to in order to inquire WHY I am being charged that amount. Thankfully, my credit card is now handling the matter.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Warning! Rip-off!

    • Eugene, OR,
    • Nov 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for Noom in hopes of losing the last 40 pounds of my needed weight loss. It was the "14-day free trial" so I figured I had nothing to lose except the weight.

    WRONG!

    I immediately lost $18.47 from my account less than 24 hours into my "free" trial!

    After searching and clicking and going around and endless rabbit trail online, I finally was able to contact a real person via email. I requested a refund and was told they cannot refund the trial period charge.

    What happened to FREE?!

    Now, after having read several reviews of hefty additional charges, I will contact my financial institution to block any additional UNAUTHORIZED charges!

    Caution: Do NOT sign up for Noom, no matter how desperately you need to lose weight.

    Weight Watchers, people. WW!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    30 pounds in 73 days!

    • California,
    • Oct 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I started Noom when I was feeling overweight, out of shape, and out of control of my physical health. Now 73 days and 30 pounds lighter and I feel great!

    If you are ready to lose the weight and take care of yourself then this app can be very helpful. I think it helps with accountability. I still have about 40 more to go and when this first 16 weeks is up I'm pretty sure I will do it for the second 16 weeks.

    My coach checks in with me weekly, my group is there daily, and I like logging my food and exercise, it just really helps me think about what I'm going to eat and log before I do.

    I should mention I am also taking Contrave, a weight loss medication that reduces cravings. The combo of Noom and Contrave have helped me feel great again.

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

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  • 9 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Surprise cost

    • New York,
    • Oct 15, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up and gave Noom my PayPal information for a suggested $10 fee. A couple of weeks later my PayPal account gets debited $172.32 by Noom. I had no clue. I complained to PayPal and Noom. PayPal said as far as they were concerned it wasn't unauthorized. But who can read all the fine print? Noom is suddenly silent.

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

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    DO NOT DOWNLOAD

    • Utah,
    • Oct 9, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Did not work for me during the trial period, so I decided to cancel. When I went to check my statement it charged me $212. When I tried contacting the company they wouldn’t respond to my emails. There is also not a phone number to reach any customer support just an answering machine. I have been trying to reach them with no success. This program probably works, but because of the poor customer service, I would never recommend this program.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Noom worked for me!

    • California,
    • Oct 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    By accident, I paid for a full six months of Noom. I wasn’t too happy about my mistake but went ahead and joined. I have no regrets. It was around the holidays so I knew I was going to struggle. The app counts your daily calories as you log your food, counts your daily steps and records your daily/weekly weight on a scale to see your progress. My personal coach was amazing - very professional, supportive and encouraging! I loved reading the daily articles that were very informative as well as humorous. I also had a support group with another encouraging coach who reached out to my group with some fun ideas to get us sharing our ups and downs. There was never any judgment. Let me say that again - there was never any judgment, just support and encouragement! His weekly sayings were always encouraging and most welcomed.

    What I got most out of Noom was not to give up when you overdo it and to get moving! I wasn’t going for a quick weight loss. I wanted to get healthy and get more energy with strength. I had two knee replacements so I had no strength. After the six months mark, I was so sad to leave my group and coaches - I didn’t have the money to keep going. But I kept the app recording my meals...counting my steps and recorded my weight weekly.

    Again, let me stress, I wasn’t in this for the quick weight loss - I learned so much more about why I eat and how to control and why moving is important. I am riding my stationary bike a half daily. I am able to now keep up with my daughters as we take walks. I have so much more energy and strength. Now for weight...I started at 198 and I’m now at 177. My clothes are huge on me - gone from 16 to a size 12.

    Am I happy? You bet I am! I wish I had the vocabulary to share more of what I learned and applied. I’m truly truly satisfied. Thank you Noom!

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

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Cancel before the trial is up

    • New Jersey,
    • Oct 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Unless you are 100% satisfied during your 14-day trial, CANCEL BY DAY 12. On the advice of an acquaintance I waited to get a coach and a support group. HUGE MISTAKE as now I'm paying $80 (it was a podcast code/discount) for something that just isn't for me.

    I'm old school. I like paper and pens, the ability to take notes, the ability to review where I've been, make updates, etc. There are so many acronyms for too many different goals, and they make it really difficult to go back and review what you've answered previously. There is no way to print out what you've done, except to take screencaps and print them out. And since most pages require you to scroll it's a total waste.

    My first goal "specialist" felt like I was conversing with a bot. That should have been my first clue that this is not worth it, not even at the deep discount. I struggled with my first goal, but rather than walk me through it, she was randomly high-fiving my daily weigh-ins.

    The app doesn't care if you're Keto, NSNG, Whole 30, or any other program that is low-carb. The foods you like to eat will be in the "red zone" and I don't care what they say, we all know red = stop/bad.

    If you want to log your food and weigh yourself every day, there are plenty of free apps out there. Don't bother with this past the 14-day free trial.

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

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  • 9 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Do NOT purchase.

    • North Carolina,
    • Oct 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for a trial period and in addition, paid $59.00 for a meal and exercise plan. After almost two weeks of back and forth about the fact that I had never received my meal and exercise plan, I messaged my coach saying that I was probably just going to ask for a refund and it almost made me want to quit the program if everything was going to be that hard. Next thing I knew, my program had been canceled and $29.50 had been refunded to me. I made repeated attempts, first of all, to see exactly why it had been canceled without someone talking to me and second, why I was not being refunded the total of $59.00 when I never received any portion of the exercise or meal plan. Support is like talking to a computer, basically like my computer-generated "coach" that never truly responds to my questions.

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

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Lack of ongoing access (1 year paid membership)

    • Ontario, Canada,
    • Oct 2, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    During the trial, I was incredibly impressed with the support from my goal specialist and the information in the daily learnings. However, as soon as I joined (paying in full for a one-year membership), my goal specialist sent little more than "Hey! Just checking in!" messages. I was initially connected to a group. I did inform my goal specialist that I would be on holiday. However, during that time my group access was revoked and not reinstated for almost six months. This app is not designed for travelers or anybody with an irregular schedule. The app works on a punishment system of sorts - the removal of benefits and failure to resolve issues professionally and within a reasonable time limit (almost six months, in my case, connecting with multiple people on the app itself and via email).

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

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  • 7 out 10 people found this review helpful

    What happens with my data?

    • Nieuwpoort, Belgium,
    • Sep 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I tried to subscribe to a 14-day trial period for only 1€. They asked me my credit card numbers and also the code on the back of my credit card. When I tried to pay 1€ suddenly I get the message that something went wrong with the payment. I receive an email that I can get the 14-day trial for free. But I have to redo the whole questionnaire. When I get to the payment page, although it is for free, I have to give my credit card data, which I have already entered the time before. There it is stated that I have to pay 109€ for the first 4 months. So the free trial is just a scam. I just closed the internet page, but I have already given them all my credit card data when I tried to pay the 1€, so I don't know if they can deduct the money anyway.

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

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  • 10 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Do not sign up for the free trial!

    • Florida,
    • Sep 28, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I decided to check it out and do the 14-day FREE trial. Then I canceled after a week and took a screenshot of the cancellation confirmation. Guess what? It's not free. Then next thing I know they charged $1.00 to my credit card. I know that isn't much but it's the principal. I called my bank and told them this was fraud. After reading all of the horror stories about all of the people who were taken for much more I called the bank back right away and told then I needed a new credit card with different numbers so they could not charge my card in the future. I suggest everyone do this as I see that they charged people many months later when they were not expecting it. I hope one day that a class action suit is brought against this terrible Noom company. Obviously they are just out to take peoples money. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THE FREE TRIAL!

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

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