The “Noom” app, which has over 45 million users, claims to use psychology to help us eat better. What do nutritionists think?
Lose a pound a week without restricting yourself, simply by using a mobile application? That’s the promise of this controversial diet, which relies on psychology to help us make healthier food choices. Rather than restricting specific foods, the “Noom” app encourages users to learn how to eat a balanced diet on their own over the long term.
WHAT DOES THE NOOM DIET CONSIST OF?
The strong point of this method is that no food is forbidden in the Noom diet. Instead of categorizing foods only as “good” or “bad”, the app classifies them according to a color code to help the user evaluate which foods are rich in nutrients and which are not.
Green denotes foods that are lower in calories and/or higher in nutrients (such as blueberries, apples, carrots, peppers, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beets, bananas, oats, quinoa…), red indicates the most caloric and/or least nutritious foods (beef, pork, fatty dairy products, bacon, French fries, hamburgers, pizza, cakes…) and yellow foods are between the two extremes (avocado, salmon, chicken, turkey, beans, tofu, eggs, black beans, chickpeas, dairy products…). According to the Noom method, to be healthy, our diet should contain 30% green ingredients, 45% yellow foods and 25% red foods.
Not very restrictive, this diet will not tell you to eat mainly salad and never eat pizza again. Instead, the app suggests a percentage of daily caloric intake that must contain a little of each category of food classified as red, yellow or green.
NOOM APP HOW DOES IT WORK?
After downloading the Noom app, you start by indicating your ideal weight and defining your objective (“lose weight”, “stay in shape”, “get back into good habits”, “get back into sports”, “feel comfortable and confident in my body”, “be healthier”…). We complete our profile by giving classic information about our measurements, our lifestyle and our environment.
Then, the application asks us questions about our relationship with our body and food: for example, if there have already been life events that led us to gain weight in recent years, how long we have not reached our ideal weight, if we have already done diets recently, or if our weight has already affected our ability to socialize. All this information is recorded to create a personalized diet program.
The principle is very simple: every day, we just have to enter everything we have eaten into the application. An algorithm records our food consumption and analyzes our physical exercises of the day, while adapting the diet little by little. There is no set time frame, since the goal is to adopt these new eating habits on a daily basis and to keep them for the long term. Throughout the process, “coaches” encourage us, while other users can support each other on the online platform.
Is noom diet worth it?
According to tIs the noom diet worth it?he testimonies of its numerous followers (the app has more than 45 million users), the Noom diet would be the miracle solution to rebalance one’s diet and regain a healthy weight. “Compared to drastically restricted or unbalanced diets, such as detox juices or extremely low-carb diets, Noom is relatively healthy because it allows for a variety of foods,” explains American dietician and nutritionist Grace Goodwin Dwyer.
However, the app is not recommended for just anyone: “An app that guarantees weight loss sets high expectations that may, to some extent, be beyond its control. When the reality does not meet the expectations, then we become really uncomfortable with ourselves, which means that we might give up on being healthy. Ultimately, it all depends on your personal journey. Weight loss can be healthy for your body, but it can also be very unhealthy (both mentally and physically). If you’re concerned about your weight as it relates to your health, it’s best to consult your general practitioner first,” she adds.
Thus, Noom is not at all recommended for people recovering from an eating disorder. The app encourages calorie tracking and uses language largely focused on weight loss: “If you’ve struggled with eating disorders or chronic restriction, this language can undo the progress you’ve made,” warns Grace Goodwin Dwyer.
Also, it’s important to note that Noom coaches are not necessarily registered dieticians or nutritionists… In addition, one of the app’s major flaws is that it focuses solely on calories, overshadowing a lot of other interesting nutritional information such as carbs, protein, fat, etc. Here’s to you!