Losing weight is a goal that many people have, however it is not an easy feat. Many people search for the magic fix or the next diet trend to aid them in their efforts. What many people are finally realizing is that fad diets are not sustainable and long-term change takes time and patience.
One of the new diets on the market is the Noom diet. This app-based program claims to help people lose weight through their psychological approach. Noom encourages their followers to make daily behavioral changes to help with sustainable weight loss.
While Noom claims to be different from the other weight loss diets and apps on the market, many people are realizing it may not be as different as advertised.
How it works
Noom is an all-encompassing app that uses calorie tracking, a food rating system, education, and quizzes to help facilitate behavior change. The app first gathers relevent data such as age, weight, height, sex, and health goals in order to determine recommendations.
On the app, the user logs every meal and snack along with their daily weight and movement. Embedded in the app are quizzes and educational readings to provide more information and context to help the user along the way.
Members are also able to work with health and wellness coaches to aid them in their behavior change. These coaches are trained through Noom, but not necessarily registered dietitians or health professionals. The coach engages with the user through the app’s messaging feature to provide encouragement and recommendations.1
The Benefits of the Noom Diet
One of the reasons Noom resonates with many people is the accountability it provides. Since the user is paired with a wellness coach, they are given a level of support and guidance.
The app also provides an element of education around many different foods by labeling them as either green, yellow, or red. Users then get an understanding of if the food they chose was nutritionally dense rather than something that won’t provide nutrients and potentially leave them hungry.
Noom also offers support groups to get users connected and provides education on additional topics such as distraction-free eating, staying active, hydration, and motivation.2
The Disadvantages of the Noom Diet
While Noom claims to be different from other weight loss diets, it happens to be just that. The severely low calorie recommendations, along with labeling foods as good and bad, is not unlike many other diets. While food labeling may provide some level of education, it also has been shown to fuel disordered eating and can bring unnecessary morality to foods.
For example, some green foods are fruits and vegetables due to their low calorie content and nutrient density. Yellow foods are ones that are higher in calories, but still provide nutrients such as meat and dairy. Red foods are the more calorie dense foods that don’t provide as many nutrients such as highly processed foods and sweets.
Additionally, the cost is quite high considering there is only a limited amount of one-on-one support. While the user is paired with a wellness coach, it does not appear to be much more than some encouragement, rather than personalized support. The monthly plan costs $59, a two-month plan costs $99, and a three-month plan costs $129. 2
How to Do It Better
Each person’s body is unique and finding a diet that works is difficult. The safest approach is to use science as the basis of your decision, no matter which diet you’re considering trying out for yourself.
The philosophy of the Noom diet is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a psychological method that helps the person understand the connection between their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
A couple of modifications may help a person whose lifestyle is suited for this eating pattern to be even more successful by incorporating eating for your genes approach.
What Does Eating for Your Genes Entail?
Eating for your genes utilizes your unique DNA and genotype as a science-based blueprint for what you eat based on how you metabolize certain macronutrients, micronutrients, and substances. It is rooted in the understanding that you are an individual and as an individual, your body is unique and therefore, there is no “one-fits-all” approach to healthy eating.
How Does Eating for Your Genes Work?
You are one of a kind. Our bodies each have at least slightly varying needs as we all respond differently to the world around us and metabolize nutrients differently. Studies demonstrate we can personalize nutrition by taking a look at our individual genetic variations and use this information to construct a solid dietary foundation.
Those genetic variants and their related nutrition outcomes have been thoroughly researched. Once we know our genetic variations, we have a better idea of which foods can help us optimize our diet. For example, you may have a genetic variant that indicates you are predisposed to a lower BMI if you consume a diet higher in proteins or you have a decreased ability to convert beta-carotene to active vitamin A. In this case, it may be helpful to consume more vitamin A-rich foods—such as seafood, full-fat milk, or fortified dairy products.
Benefits of Eating for Your Genes
Why does the concept of implementing a DNA-based eating program seem so novel? It is because the innovative nature of nutrigenomics creates a science-based roadmap for us when it comes to our food choices. With information about your genetic makeup, you can start to pinpoint which foods should be included in your diet and how much. Eating for your genes is not a specific diet per se, it instead is a true eating plan. If you do like a more traditional or structured weight-loss approach, as many people do since they can help our brain compartmentalize information, using your DNA as a guide you can begin to better tailor a structured or commercial program to your needs and may increase your odds of success. Nutrigenomics gives us the insights we need to make specific, thoughtful, and strategic choices about what we put into our bodies to prevent chronic diseases and gain optimal nutrition.
DNA testing companies like GenoPalate can help you interpret and understand your genotype and nutritional recommendations to make truly informed decisions on how to distribute your calories wisely and to choose foods that will nourish your body and help to achieve prime health.
Disadvantages of Eating for Your Genes
The biggest shortcoming that comes with eating for your genes is that DNA test reports do not account for epigenetics or medical conditions. Thus, you should combine the eating for your genes method with any additional medical information you have—such as blood test results—to determine your ideal diet. We recommend working with your healthcare provider to fill in any missing pieces so you end up with a holistic plan and know exactly how to achieve your health and wellness goals.
How to Determine the Right Way to Eat for Your Body
The great thing about eating for your genes is that it is not a FAD diet, but simply understanding how your body responds to both macronutrients and micronutrients and adjusting your intake to better align with those parameters. Additionally, it is personalized to your unique needs and it can be incorporated into your everyday life in numerous ways. In fact, eating for your genes can help prevent you from engaging in FAD diets, which are often not sustainable and result in the regaining of any weight that may have been lost. Moreover, for those eating programs that have withstood the test of time and have evidence that they can help people lose weight, an eating for your genes approach can be incorporated and may help individuals achieve their goals successfully.
The first step to this DNA based eating approach is educating yourself further. To do so, you can learn more by reading this article about how to personalize your weight loss experience or check out this FREE resource to see what personalized nutrition based on your DNA might look like and what it can do for you! You may be surprised at how fast you start to see results when you select the right path for your body and what makes you unique.
- Minno, Nora. “Nutritionists and Users Have *a Lot* of Feelings about the Noom Weight-Loss App.” Women's Health, 11 Nov. 2021, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a21604221/what-is-noom/.
- Noom: Health & Nutrition | US News Best Diets. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/noom-diet/health-and-nutrition.