Why the Noom diet is proven to help people lose weight

  • The Noom diet doesn’t follow a traditional diet format, but lets you decide what foods to eat while setting limits on calories.
  • The Noom app connects dieters to a support group and a weight loss coach who can provide feedback when needed.
  • Early studies show that nearly 80% of people who use Noom will lose weight.
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The Noom diet is a modern approach to dieting, which uses a phone app to connect you to a supportive network. Rather than a quick fix, the app tries to change users’ behavior over the long term. The Noom diet is safe for anyone to try and even has special programs for diabetes and bariatric surgery.

How the Noom diet came to be

The Noom app was first created in 2008 by cofounders Saeju Jeong and Artem Petakov. According to the company website, the Noom diet was developed with an emphasis on psychology as much as nutrition. 

It is not a prescribed diet in the sense that it doesn’t restrict you to a certain type or amount of food. Rather it’s a way to plan meals and change behavior with the support of a group.

Personal coaching and group support are key to Noom

If you’re trying Noom to lose weight, then after downloading and launching the app, you’ll create a weight loss plan, where you’ll provide personal information including your weight loss goals and your activity level. Dieters will then start logging their food in the app to keep track of their calorie intake.

Two weeks later, after starting the app, you will be assigned to a support group of other dieters along with a group coach. These groups can be accessed 24/7 and the coaches check in daily and comment on your calorie intake for that day. Something to note, however, is that Noom coaches aren’t necessarily registered dietitians but instead are trained through the company’s own “Noomiversity.

Whether the Noom diet works

Because Noom is relatively new, there aren’t many studies evaluating how effective it is. However, a 2016 study published in Scientific Reports found that about 78% of the 35,921 participants who used Noom lost weight over an 18-month period.

And a 2017 study published in the Journal of Health Communications found that Noom helped people lose weight over a six month period, and that getting feedback from their support group encouraged people to log their food more often in the app.

Noom, like other diet programs, isn’t free. When you sign up, you have numerous payment options starting from an annual membership for $199 or a monthly plan at $59 per month. What sets Noom apart from other weight-loss apps is its access to the support group. And that, says Dr. John Higgins, MD, a sports cardiologist at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, is important if you’re trying to lose weight.

“Studies have shown that those who join a program with a friend/group rather than themselves are more likely to lose weight and also keep it off at 6 months,” Higgins says.

Whether the Noom diet is safe to try

Higgins says that the Noom diet is safe for anyone to try. He highlights that Noom provides a minimum number of calories per day, encouraging people not to restrict food in an unsafe or unhealthy way.

“I give it 2 thumbs up for the fact that it uses evidence-based behavior changes and smart… coaches to help people set and achieve their weight goals,” Higgins says.

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