Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

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The Noom app has fast become one of the most popular choices on both iOS and Android platforms.

On the Play Store alone, it has been installed over 10 million times, and over 170,000 users have provided predominantly positive reviews.

It is designed to change your behavior towards food and create healthier habits; the majority of reviewers highlight that they have lost weight since starting the Noom diet.

What I was particularly interested in is what types of food they recommend and how they tailor the advice to help users lose weight in a sustainable way.

So, I went and spent a few days reading the reviews and chatting with users in Facebook groups and forums.

Here’s what I found...

Calorie Deficit

tablet with open app, fruits

So many people these days overthink things when it comes to losing weight.

There are some crazy diet ideas out there that would make you question people’s common sense.

Could you imagine an egg and chipotle only diet?

When it comes to achieving a healthy weight goal it’s all about the calories in foods you take in, and the energy burn. (1)

Essentially, if you take in fewer calories than you use throughout the day, then you will lose weight in the long term.

The problem is that under most diet guidelines you end up starving yourself and just feeling miserable. As a result, so many people just give up and move onto the next shiny advertisement that promises miracle results.

Noom is quite different in that it aims to monitor your caloric values throughout the day and display them so you can make sure you take in less than you use. Once fully set up, you can see your calories in minus your exercise and activity all in one place.

But, how do they get you to focus on the food you eat?

Noom Food Database

According to the latest information on Noom’s website, their food database has grown to 3.7 million different foods.

Most people will probably find it difficult to name a thousand different edible products, so it’s quite likely that whatever you’re eating, you’ll find it in the app.

noom app with food background

For each snack or meal during the day, you can simply use the search function, and it will even bring up branded products.

The database has information on all the nutrients and calories and once you add the amount you consumed, it will calculate the calorie amount based on that.

Because most people have their phone with them at all times, it’s a very easy way to immediately add everything you eat in a matter of seconds.

You can then check your daily progress to see if you can afford to eat that sneaky muffin on your coffee break.

As long as you are honest with everything you add and you have a daily calorie deficit, then you will be steadily getting closer to your weight-loss goals.

Noom Food Color List

colored food

Noom is all about getting people to good foods and healthy eating habits.

Rather than imposing a very strict diet plan where all sorts of foods are completely off limits, the company aims to simply replace high-calorie foods for lower ones.

To help you make better choices for your diet, Noom assigns a color-coding list based on a calorie scale effective for losing weight.

This is available in the Healthy Weight program (more on this below), and many users say it really helps you to come up with better meal plans and recipes.

1. Green Foods List

This is the list you want to focus most of your attention on. The foods in the green category are the least in calorie density or contain a lot of other very healthy nutrients that is very good for healthy eating and for your diet.

As you would expect, these are predominantly green vegetables, whole grains, some fruit, and berries as well as a few dairy products.

These are ideal foods to focus on and plan for throughout the day to fill you up and avoid the dreaded hunger pains while losing weight. Here are some examples:

  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Almond milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low -fat cheese
  • Egg whites
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas
  • Tofu

2. Yellow Foods List

meat and fish

This category is a bit more calorie-dense and you should only have a moderate amount of these in your diet plan.

These yellow foods are also slightly less beneficial from a nutritional perspective, though plenty of yellow foods have health benefits and they might fill you up, you won’t get as many benefits out of them.

What’s great about the color coding is that you can search for a group of foods and then pick green instead of yellow ones for healthy eating.

You’d be surprised how many substitutions you could make this way.
Here are some examples:

You’d be surprised how many substitutions you could make this way.
Here are some examples:

  • Lean meat
  • Fresh tuna
  • Turkey breast
  • Grilled skinless
  • Low-fat milk
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Tempeh
  • Guacamole

3. Red Foods List

These are the foods you want to avoid or at least keep the portion size as small as possible. These red foods are more on calorie density or have very little nutritional value.

In many cases, it’s these that are keeping people from healthy eating and achieve goals to lose weight.

Here are some examples:

  • Ham
  • Fried meat
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Salami
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pizza
  • Fries
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fruit Juice
  • Hamburgers
  • Chips
  • Sugar
  • White flour
  • Wine (yes, unfortunately)

Noom Programs

blood test and loose jeans

The way Noom is designed is you have two main programs available and it’s important that you understand what they are before you make a choice.

First, there’s the Healthy Weight Program which is what the majority of users work with for losing weight.

This is a weight loss program that aims to get you to keep a journal of what foods you eat throughout the day.

This is also where the above-mentioned color coding is used to help you identify foods that are less calorie-dense and more nutritional for your diet plan.

And, if you also sync up your fitness trackers, then you’ll get a full picture of your calorie surplus or deficit.

The second option is the Diabetes Prevention Program, and this is where the app will help you avoid the high-carbohydrate types of foods. By helping you reduce your carb intake, you will find it easier to lower and balance your blood sugar levels.

A lot of diabetic users have commented that it does help with their daily carb tracking.

You can read the full review on Noom here.

Unlike other buzz-worthing meal plans, it's not an elimination diet which means every food group is on the menu. Unlike other calorie tracking apps, the focus on making behavioral changes surrounding dieting and weight loss.
- Arielle Tsoukatos, Digital Content Editor for Marie Claire Magazine

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Noom diet?

The Noom diet is a mobile platform that aims to help you make behavioral changes in what and how much you eat. Through this psychological transformation process, you learn to distinguish between calorie-dense and light foods and work towards a calorie deficit.

How much is Noom?

The Noom coaching service costs $59.99 per month, but there are significant discounts for signing up for longer periods.

A lot of the features can be used free of charge without the subscription to the health coach, and many reviews highlight that they have successfully lost weight with the free version.

Does Noom work for weight loss?

Yes, Noom works for weight loss with millions of people using it for exactly that purpose. The free features are very helpful, but the majority of people have managed to get the best results by signing up to the Noom coach subscription.

Is there a free version of Noom?

Yes, there is a free version of the Noom weight loss app. This will give you full access to the food database, sync with fitness trackers to pull in your workout data and give you a daily indication of your net calorie balance.

The free version doesn’t include access to a nutritionist and wellness coach, but it’s still very helpful.

We discuss more about this in our article: Is Noom Free?


noom thumb

Health and fitness-related apps have become so popular that you cannot browse the web or check your social media without being bombarded with advertisements for the latest and greatest.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor services out there with hidden catches.

From all the reviews that I’ve read, and by chatting with several hundred users in Facebook groups, it does look like Noom has struck a good balance between functionality and motivation.

I would suggest that you download it and take advantage of the 14-day trial period for coaching for $1.

You can easily cancel before you get billed, but it will give you a better perspective of all the available benefits.

Noom app for weight loss


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About the author

  • Thanks for this article! But Isaac, if you’re going to pick between noom vs weight watchers, what would you choose for your own lifestyle? What app is better for weight loss?

    • Hi Lisa! I will choose Noom because of its better calorie tracking and coaching features. It’s also easy to use and cost effective. This app is focused to help you in your weight loss journey!

  • I was a member of another program for a few years and got down to my goal weight. But things suddenly changed. They started changing their program too many times until it confused the hell out of me. One day I decided not to stay a member. They missed the mark when they decided that certain foods would be zero points even though they are not; a zero point orange actually must have a point, right? But the zero points makes you think it will have no impact on your goal. Nevertheless, with this words from Isaac. I was totally convinced that my decision before was correct. I will now switch to this app and start rebuilding myself. Thanks you, Isaac!

  • A subscription model app to help lose weight seems ridiculous and a great way to bleed people dry who are unable to take responsibility for what they put in their mouths. While tracking and awareness provided by this app can help, an app won’t do squat if you are not committed to changing your behavior. Lack of long term/permanent behavior changes cannot be fixed by an app, but it will provide the failed weight loss person with something other than themselves to blame for failure. I’ve been there. I’ve had and maintained very significant weight loss for 25 years so I do have some idea what I am talking about. But I definitely agree with Isaac on this one. I will want you guys to try the mobile app out. Let us know what you have experienced with these programs

  • I like the flexibility of phone and computer accessibilities of the two programs. The previous program I had mainly because of the group meetings, leader encouragement and member interaction with ideas. To be honest, I love using this new program on their mobile app for tracking. My main dislike of the previous program is not knowing my total daily intake of food contents at a glance. A point that this program emphasizes doesn’t educate me. So I sort of left it and joined this new program with their mobile app. Slowly losing, so for me it’s working. Will keep you updated Isaac.

  • Thank you so much Isaac for taking the time to compare these two programs which everyone is debating on. In my experience, I have been a member of one of the two programs for several years. I did great and lost a lot of weight, but then they changed the program without asking if you were interested in changing to a different version of the plan which kinda sucks. I have not had very good luck staying on the new version of the program. Now I have gained weight on a vacation. I have thought about giving this other program with the mobile app a try, but I am so glad that I read the information that you have posted before subscribing to it. I only have a flip phone, and have no desire to have a smart phone… But due to your thoughts, I am willing to buy a smart phone just for this mobile app. Thank you so much for outlining how this mobile app works!

  • Thanks for sharing your well-thought-out assessment and comparison of the two programs. I tried the mobile app program. But I found the app-only aspect to be a big negative. While I was excited to try something new and was encouraged by the concept of a coach, I wasn’t able to successfully navigate the app on the small screen of my phone. I quit after three days when my frustration level regarding the technology aspect just overwhelmed me. I would have been more interested had they offered a format I could have used on my laptop with a larger screen. I am 63 years old. Perhaps, I do not fit the mobile app profile of happy app users as it is difficult for me for my age. Nonetheless, thanks again for your great comparison, Sir Robertson. Hoping to find the program that best fits me.

  • I started signing up for the mobile app in summer of 2019 and lost the a handful of weight. I struggled for years to get rid of but with patience. I found the app very smart at helping to uncover the reasons and triggers that drive mindless eating. But you won’t reach that understanding in a week. I was motivated to take the time to lose the weight slowly and did so in about three months. The daily interactive discussions are well-written, clever and engaging and as you get further into the app, require more thought and participation to find out what makes you tick when it comes to food. You start out stating clear goals about what you want to change in your relationship to food. I have also had epiphanies about other aspects of my life that have been borne of these daily discussions. Aside from this app, I had another program I ever had success with losing my extra kilos. However, I think this mobile app is even smarter and more effective compared to the other program I had. As a matter of fact, it also turns out to be cheaper than the other capitalist program. After years of going in and out of that expensive program, I found the meetings stale and mostly a gab session of people sharing tips about the latest pre-packaged products sold by the program and how many points they were. On the other hand, this mobile app focused me on adding much more green food into my already healthy food plan. I am a huge fan of this mobile app. Thanks Isaac. I totally agree with you on this one!

  • I was a chronic participant of the older program, and I lose and gain. I join and quit. I can’t stick with the program because they change annually. They say they change, but it’s relearning over and over. They were inconsistent which made me inconsistent in return. For good, I stopped all at once and rested for a while. Then, I decided to try the new mobile app after finding out your overview about it. I fell in love with it. I totally loved it. I loved the daily tools – they were whimsical and kept my attention. Also, the coaches were great and the group I was assigned to were from all walks of life. This was daily, so it did keep me more on track. I was able to convince my wife and we will be nerds together for this app.

  • Hi, thanks for your insight Isaac. I joined the program for over 25 years and though it did work I always went back to eating again and gained weight. Thus the 25 years wasted!! My daughter has lost over 50+ pounds while using the mobile app and she loves it. As jealous of her, I am trying it now and love it as well. I feel it really teaches you better choices in food and their system really works. Change your way of thinking about food really makes a huge difference. This is what I learned after joining the mobile app.