But first: How do doctors recommend you lose weight?
While doctors have long debated the merits of various weight loss schemes and diet programs, there’s a strong consensus in the medical community that you shouldn’t lose weight as aggressively as contestants on reality shows like “The Biggest Loser”. Instead, the average American should only target losing between .5 and 2 pounds per week. Tapering much faster can lead to a range of health problems including lowered metabolism, muscle loss, nutrient deficiency, gallstones, and more.
Thus, for folks who are 50 pounds or more overweight, the bad news it that it could take half a year or more to take off excess weight, assuming you follow the path most doctors recommend. Cutting corners or trying to accelerate the process can be harmful to your long-term health.
Secondly, most doctors don’t endorse extreme diets, like eating only oranges, drinking only juice, or any drastic changes that you won’t be able to maintain over the long haul. Instead, for otherwise healthy individuals, the typical recommendation is to reduce overall calorie intake and to exercise more.
The process of reducing caloric consumption usually includes shifting to healthier foods, but shouldn’t come at the expense of a balanced diet. Exercising more can range from going for easy walks to incorporating a total-body fitness regimen, which totally depends on what your doctor says is best for your particular situation.
And what’s the best way to keep weight off for good?
Ask anyone who’s signed up for a gym membership on January 1st — it’s not easy to make these kinds of lifestyle changes. That’s why many dieters may lose weight but so often end up putting it back on.
Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology says, as quoted on the UCLA Newsroom, “We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, and then some. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority.”
So what’s the secret to healthy habit formation? Additional research at UCLA points to an added weight loss concept they call “behavior modification.” (Side note: who would have guessed folks in LA would be so concerned about how much they weigh? 😂)
“Behavior modification” is the process of changing your current behavior patterns so you are more likely to make healthy choices. Such programs at UCLA combined education and psychologist led support groups, so that dieters are taught what to eat and then held socially accountable for following through. It’s worth noting that this combination of nutritional education and a support group has shown strong results in clinical trials.
In an article published in the medical journal “Primary Care,” such behavioral modification strategies were shown to improve long-term outcomes, like collaborative goal setting, nutrition-monitoring, stimulus control, and more.
So, with that primer on how doctors say to sustainably slim down, let’s compare Nutrisystem vs Noom to see if either can work for you.
Nutrisystem vs Noom: Two very different approaches to weight loss
Nutrisystem and Noom each work to promote weight loss, albeit in very distinct ways. Nutrisystem is centered around pre-proportioned, and meticulously calorie-counted meals delivered to your home. Noom take more of a social psychology approach, offering an app that promotes behavior modification and healthy habit formation via personalized daily checklists, support groups, and a coach to hold you accountable.
Nutrisystem’s plans start at $99.99 for a 7-day “Body Reboot Kit” plan, and go up to $225 for a four week program. Noom’s free trial makes it easier to get started, before charding just $44.99 a month thereafter. Click here to give it a try for $0.
Which works better, Nutrisystem or Noom?
Both companies claim research showing that they help people slim down. But, are these legit, and do they show what you’d want them to show if you’re like me, trying to take off a few pounds permanently?
Nutrisystem lists quite a few studies on their website, most of which they sponsored. However, these do all show that Nutrisystem users lost weight over the time period analyzed, which ranged from 2 weeks to 9 months. It makes sense that while someone is on a calorie-restricted diet would drop pounds — we all know that if you eat less, you get skinnier.
Noom’s weight loss app — a digital behavior modifier — has also shown strong results in studies they sponsored. One of them showed that 77.9% of the app’s users lost weight, while another pegged the average loss at 5% of overall body mass. These studies were longer, and one even shows that 66% still kept the pounds off over a year later, which makes sense since Noom is focused on sustainable weight loss success.
Overall, the available research indicates that both Noom and Nutrisystem work for many, many Americans. Diligent dieters can expect to lose anywhere from 5% to 8% of their body mass over 16 weeks if they stick with either program. However, Noom’s behavioral modification approach is supported by more academic research, and arguably is more likely to drive longer term success. But if you’re looking to produce results in a hurry, Nutrisystem’s calorie-restricted diets are probably going to help you shed lbs more immediately.
Comparing Noom vs Nutrisystem
Check out this table which lays out the costs, weight loss strategies, and science that distinguish Noom and Nutrisystem:
Noom vs Nutrisystem: Best Weight Loss System
|Monthly Cost||$44.99 (Start FREE Trial)||$225 to $310 (Buy one, get one FREE)|
|Key Weight Loss Strategy||Behavioral Modification||Calorie Restriction|
|Mobile App||4.6 stars||4.6 stars|
|Access to Coach||Yes||Yes|
|Access to Support Group||Easy||No|
|Short Term Success Probability||Very High||Very High|
|Long Term Success Probability||High||Modest|
|Ease of Getting Started||Easy||Harder|
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What are users saying about the Noom app?
What are users saying about Nutrisystem?
Who are some Nutrisystem competitors?
Of all of these different providers, we really like Noom’s behavioral modification and app-based weight loss approach the best. It’s the program most focused on helping you understand what changes to make in your lifestyle to keep off the pounds, so that you don’t get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of losing, gaining and losing pounds.
Comparing how Noom and Nutrisystem work
Noom and Nutrisystem both have pretty different approaches to weight loss. Nutrisystem is known for prepared meal plans, where packages of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are delivered to your home. If you are always grabbing unhealthy fast food or snacking on chips or other bad-for-you things, then Nutrisystem might be able to help you break your bad habits.
Noom, on the other hand, is focused on behavioral modification. It’s app sends you a plan for each day – reminding you to get a particular amount of exercise, or helping you keep track of what you are eating so you can be more careful with your food choices.
As we mentioned above, both companies have studies that show that their systems work. However, the science we cited from UCLA does indicate that calorie reduction alone is not enough to help people keep the pounds off.
While Nutrisystem does have some tips and coaching that you can get through its app, you are mainly relying on the healthier food that they deliver to your house. Noom is 100% focused on getting you to improve how you approach your health through training, coaching and a support group.
Noom asks for 10 minutes a day to help you prepare for and track your decisions. Each morning, the app sends you a personalized “to do” list so you know what you need to do to lose weight. The app and the training focus on providing:
- Education on how psychology impacts eating
- A support group with a group coach who you can talk with
- Feedback on meals
- Weight loss tracking
- Eating and exercise tracking, so you can see your progress and record your effort
- A goal specialist to help hold you accountable to your plan.
So the focus of the app is to train and teach you how to make lifestyle decisions that will help you take off the pounds, and keep them off. The goal setting and tracking are designed to hold you accountable, so that you follow through.
Plus, the coach and the support groups should provide a team that can help cheer you on and keep you motivated. Hopefully, by the time you reach your desired size, you’ve gained the skills to keep the weight off!
How much weight can you lose on Noom and Nutrisystem?
Both of these programs have different approaches to weight loss. Nutrisystem provides low calorie foods designed to help you consume less calories and not be tempted to cheat – their program claims that people can expect to lose 13 to 15 pounds in the first month, then one to two per week thereafter. Noom says that their users will lose 1 to 2 pounds a week through better eating and healthier decisions like exercising, and the average user takes off 5% of their body mass. Obviously, the calorie restricted diet that Nutrisystem sells can really help you drop pounds fast. But what does the science say?
Reviewing the studies the two companies have on their sites, plus others that we’ve linked to above, it seems that for long-term success, Noom is a better option to help you keep the weight off, as 66% of their users keep the weight off one year after.
Which is easier to get started with?
Thankfully, neither company makes it that hard to get started. With Noom, there is a free 14-day trial, so it doesn’t cost anything to get going. First you complete a 2 minute questionnaire – basically, how much you weigh, your gender, what your goal is, and then – bam, the send you an email with a personalized plan. You’ll need to download the app for your phone, but obviously that’s not hard.
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With Nutrisystem, you need to get into a paid plan (but it’s currently buy one, get one), which does require you to put in your credit card. If you really want, there is also a short quiz you can take to see which plan is best for you. But if you are looking for the easiest way to get going, you can pick the $99.99 7-day starter kit. One thing to note is that you’ll want to make sure you get your gender in there, as the meals for men come with slightly more calories.
Because you don’t have to pay anything upfront, nor wait for anything to be delivered, Noom is easier to start with than Nutrisystem.
Which is better for fast weight loss?
Ok, so we’ve made it pretty clear that dropping the pounds fast is not really the healthiest way to go – in fact, science says that this is a bad way to start yo-yo dieting, which can be bad for your body and make you end up heavier.
HOWEVER, it’s totally possible that you’ve got a wedding, beach trip or class reunion coming up in a week, and you really want to get into that dress/suit/swimsuit/jeans-you-wore-in-high-school. And if fast weight loss is what you are looking for, then Nutrisystem is a better option. Step up and get the 7-Day Body Reboot package for $99.99 (shipping is free, so that’s nice).
The company claims that the average weight loss was 5.83 lbs in the first week with the 7-Day Body Reboot package. It comes with 7 days of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, 7 snacks and 7 probiotic protein shakes. So you won’t have to think about which foods to pick, how to exercise, etc. – just eat the plan and shed the pounds.
So – if it’s only fast weight loss you want, check out the $99.99 offer from Nutrisystem here.