What is the Noom diet?
You may have seen adverts for the Noom diet popping up all over social media. With an estimated 10 million active users around the globe, we decided to delve a little deeper to understand what exactly the Noom diet is...
The Noom diet isn’t actually a diet at all, its a smartphone based application, which addresses psychological factors that can be barriers for many to effectively lose weight. Specifically, the app focuses on key behaviour change techniques to assist with weight loss such as self-monitoring of diet and exercise, social support and provides feedback on diet and exercise behaviour.
What the diet says you can eat?
The Noom diet does not provide a dietary plan. It asks the user to monitor and record all foods consumed into the app and uses a traffic light system (red, green, yellow) to indicate the healthiness of the foods consumed.
What are the potential benefits of the Noom diet?
- Weight loss: A large cohort study of 35,921 Noom app users over an 18 month period found that 77.9% of study participants reported a decrease in body weight while they were using the app with 22.7% of these experiencing >10% weight reduction compared with baseline. However, this is the only study examining its effectiveness and more research including clinical trials compared to a control group should be carried out to truly establish the effectiveness of the Noom diet on weight.
- Does not eliminate foods: unlike many fad diets, the program doesn’t eliminate any foods or food groups, and encourages positive behaviour change techniques to assist with weight loss.
What are the downsides and risks of Noom diet?
- There is no information regarding the validity and reliability of the app, in particular for recommending which foods are deemed healthy and the feedback report that is provided on the diet.
- It is unclear if the health and wellness coaches who provide dietary advice are trained professionals like Accredited Practising Dietitians.
- Cost: While you can download the app for free to test in the short term, a membership is about $50 per month and is designed to last four months. The app offers additional services for extra costs, like customised workout and meal plans.
The bottom line:
The Noom diet plan is extremely popular and utilises key behaviour change techniques which are associated with achieving and maintaining weight loss. However, there is a lack of quality scientific evidence to support this plan and there are concerns with the validity and reliability of the information provided. Before commencing the Noom, please consult with a qualified health professional such as an Accredited Practising Dietitian.