Noom promises it’s the ‘last weight loss program you’ll ever need’, but is it just a smart ad campaign? Dietitian Melissa Meier breaks down the science behind the Noom approach.
Another day, another diet… This time, we’re talking Noom.
It’s not a diet in the usual sense of the word, but rather a trendy smartphone app. With the tag line “The last weight loss program you’ll ever need,” and an Instagram bio stating they’ve changed more than 45 million lives across the globe, Noom certainly makes some pretty hefty promises.
In contrast to most fad diets that quickly backfire, however, research has shown that Noom has some merit. In fact, a recent study from The University of Sydney ranked Noom as the number one weight loss app in terms of quality, scientific coverage and accuracy, while other studies have linked Noom to successful weight loss.
Considering trying Noom? Here’s what you should know.
The pros and cons of the Noom diet
Most fad diets have a list of ‘don’t eat’ foods – and that really grinds my gears. Restrictive diets set you up for failure from the get-go because they make you crave your favourite ‘bad’ foods.
Once your willpower runs out, you pig out and then feel guilty, and the cycle repeats itself over and over again. Progress = nil.
Noom, on the other hand, uses a range of effective behaviour change techniques rather than silly lists of ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ eat foods to help you achieve your health goals.
In the long term, that’s a really good thing because it means you’ll build sustainable habits that will help you to become your healthiest self over time (and stay that way!), instead of going through periods of severe restriction that never really get you anywhere.
In the grey area on this spectrum of pros and cons of Noom is the fact that you need to record your food intake and exercise habits on the app.
For some, this self-tracking can be a good thing because it helps you to be more conscious of, and accountable for, your actions and choices. For others, however, tracking your every mouthful and move can become an obsessive habit that can do more harm than good in the long run.
Then there’s the cost, which could be prohibitive for many people. At the moment, a two-month trial period will set you back well over $100, and there are other costs if you want to use some of their extra services.
If that fits within your budget, that’s fine – but for many people, this expense just won’t work.
Overall, Noom seems like a sensible choice in the world of smartphone weight loss apps. Compared with other popular weight loss regimes, Noom scores big marks from me because it focuses on behaviour change rather than spruiking restrictive eating habits that can harm your relationship with food.
If it works for you and you can afford it, then go for it – but rest assured there are plenty of other (cheaper!) ways to improve your health and lifestyle if Noom isn’t for you.
Noom’s month-to-month plan is $59 a month plus a starter fee. There are discounts for the more months you sign up for. You can check out the program here.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.
This article was originally updated published on June 15, 2020 and updated on September 7, 2021.
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