It’s rare that a new diet trend gets a positive review from the health community, but for the most part, Noom has been praised for encouraging people to focus on healthier eating habits. A millennial-friendly app, Noom is a diet service that actually doesn’t require you to give up the foods that you love to eat. Dieters, who pay a minimum of $59 each month for access to the app, are pushed to think about the Big Picture. Developed by a team of psychologists, the Noom diet is all about making long-term lifestyle shifts, unlike fad diets that might require a short-term fast or the shunning of certain food groups. It also connects dieters to live coaches and allows you to receive 1-on-1 health coaching during regular business hours.

Noom allows you to log exercise, weight loss over time, and blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure. The diet itself begins after you take an in-depth quiz based on a series of lifestyle questions — calorie restrictions are recommended on a case by case basis, and they may recommend a diabetes management plan. Unlike the weight loss plan, the diabetes Noom plan is designed to particularly aid individuals suffering from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and may help prevent overweight or obese individuals from becoming pre-diabetic (it’s even recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

But how exactly does Noom enable you to lose weight if it doesn’t restrict you? It all has to do with a color-coded system that is subtly different for each user.

A snapshot of Noom’s color-coded system.
Courtesy of Noom

What can you eat on the Noom Diet?

Like Weight Watchers and other popular paid weight loss services, the Noom app helps you lose weight by asking you to track your meals. It measures the caloric value of every item you input and compares it to the exercise and other physical movement you’ve completed during the day, as well as weighing both those factors against your personal goals. While Noom aims to keep your body fueled with sufficient calories, it doesn’t technically restrict you from eating any ingredients or food groups.

But as Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, points out in her formal review of the service, dieters only get the best results if they enjoy highly caloric, sugary, or processed snacks in light moderation. Noom doesn’t push a strict regiment by any means, but the app rewards you for eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods through its color-coding system. Even when you do eat an indulgent meal, the app will try to help you reduce caloric blowback by encouraging portion control for certain ingredients that come up red.

It’s important to remember that red foods aren’t “bad” and green foods can also be considered unhealthy in copious amounts. If you’re stuck trying to decide what to buy or eat, using Noom’s color-coded list may help you make the best decision in the spur of the moment.

Green and Yellow Food Lists

Green List:

  • Hearty veggies: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers
  • Fruits: Apples, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, apples, bananas, tomatoes
  • Healthy dairy: Non-fat cheese and non-fat greek yogurt
  • Whole grains sides like brown rice and oatmeal, plus alternatives like tofu and almond milk

    Of course, the best foods to eat while on the Noom diet are designated in a bright green color — these items are fresh vegetables, nourishing fruits, wholesome grains, and supercharged dairy items that work in tandem to regulate your digestive system. You’ll find that you can enjoy bigger portions of these nutritional powerhouses throughout the day, and the more that you incorporate into your meals, the closer you’ll get to your daily, weekly, and monthly weight loss goals.

    Yellow List:

    • Lean protein, including tuna, salmon, turkey breast, and grilled chicken
    • Low-fat milk and yogurt, plus eggs, and other cheeses
    • Legumes: Black beans and chickpeas
    • Healthy fats: Avocado and olives
    • Grains like quinoa and couscous, plus alternatives like whole grain tortillas

      While the app encourages you to eat less foods that are coded yellow, you may notice that these ingredients are healthy in their own right. Noom has designated these items as second tier to foods on the green list only because they’re denser in calories. This doesn’t mean you should totally abstain from them, however; the app encourages you to incorporate lean proteins and other nutrient-rich items like tempeh into your meals, albeit in smaller amounts. If you find yourself frequently reaching for items that are on the yellow list, Noom’s app is designed to help find a green-list item that you can easily swap for instead. For example, you may swap chicken breast out for tofu in a meal every once in a while because Noom rewards tofu more than it does chicken breast.

      Red Foods List

      What you should limit:

      • Processed meat: Ham, bacon, salami
      • Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
      • Mayonnaise, ranch, and other heavy condiments
      • Guilty pleasures: Pizza, hamburgers, fries, chocolate
      • Sugar, including sources like fruit juice.

        As you’ve probably guessed, the foods that are tagged on Noom’s red list are things that are high in calories, saturated fats, sodium, sugar, and processed carbohydrates. While you’re not restricted from enjoying these items once in a blue moon, they should be avoided as much as possible on a daily basis. If you do enjoy a cheat snack, you may want to double up on foods found on Noom’s green list throughout the rest of the day, or spend a few more minutes in the gym, in order to stay on par with your weight loss goals.

        None of these items should be too shocking; highly processed meats, like bacon, are often restricted on most diets. Some of these items may be surprising, however, such as peanut butter, which can be quiet high in calories and (depending on the brand) sugars or sodium. While each of the items on Noom’s red list vary in their degrees of nutritional value, you can always make them better for your own diet by choosing the healthiest variety possible: Stick to dark chocolate, natural peanut butter, or enjoying a sandwich made with low-sodium ham.

        Is Noom Healthy, Really?

        What a Nutritionist Really Thinks About Noom

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