Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (2024)

Which weight loss programme should you join?

From our perspective, you have two options:

  1. If you want to count calories, track your food intake, weigh your macros, lose weight fast and have a higher risk of weight regain, you can consider Noom or WW. From our perspective, WW might be the better choice as you at least know what you’re getting from them. In comparison, Noom’s marketing is rarely replicated in its programme.
  2. Suppose you’d like to lose weight sustainably, be supported by a UK-registered dietitian or nutritionist, free yourself from the yo-yo dieting cycle, and follow a programme trusted by the NHS and backed by scientific evidence published in the British Medical Journal. In that case, Second Nature might be the better choice.

Weight loss programmes can provide a helpful structure for your health journey when you feel out of control with unhealthy habits.

They can also be a great way to join individuals going on the same journey, which can be incredibly motivating.

Everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a weight management programme.

It ultimately depends on what suits your individual needs and what fits into your lifestyle. Some people want rigid rules and a quick fix, whereas others like more flexibility and a long-term lifestyle change.

To save you some tiresome research and help to answer some crucial questions, this guide compares two popular weight loss programmes: Noom, WW, and Second Nature.

WW and Noom are calorie-counting programmes

WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined, formerly Weight WatchersⓇ) considers food, activity, sleep and mindset to help you lose weight.

The programme is based on the WW SmartPointⓇ system – a system where foods are ranked based on their calorie density and saturated fat content – and is available in either digital or face-to-face format.

On Noom, you’re assigned a ‘personal’ calorie target. However, it seems that everyone is assigned a 1200-calorie target, no matter what information you put into the Noom quiz.

Rather than a points system, Noom uses a colour coding system for foods based on their energy density. So, nuts might be in the red zone, while sugar-free jelly might be labelled green.

Counting calories and logging them in the app works well for some people. However, this can lead to obsessive tendencies and isn’t sustainable in the long term for others.

Is WW a strict crash diet?

WW claim its points system is a better approach than calorie counting and has no adverse psychological effects that people can experience when becoming obsessive about calorie counting.

However, dietitian, nutrition writer, and food psychology expert Abby Sharp delivered a scathing review of WWs new programme on YouTube titled “Dietitian Reviews Weight Watchers (YEP, IT’S STILL REALLY REALLY BAD)”.

You can watch the full video here, but here’s a quick summary of Abby’s analysis:

  • The new WW is “just expensive calorie counting”.
  • The points system on WW to create a ‘food budget’ is unnatural.
  • The ‘rolling over’ of points might mean people intentionally restrict themselves too much to then binge at the weekend.
  • WW promotes restriction and binging cycles common in people living with patterns of disordered eating.
  • WW demonises natural, healthy high-calorie foods like Brazil nuts. If you were to enjoy 28g of Brazil nuts, you’d use up half your SmartPoints for the day.
  • The points system doesn’t help you identify the quality of the foods you’re consuming. Instead, it mainly focuses on a reductionist approach to calorie density.

Noom may be another strict diet

Despite Noom’s advertising as a sustainable weight loss solution, and their programme containing some information on behavioural science, their approach to nutrition and other programme elements mimic many of the restrictive dieting approaches seen in Weight Watchers.

Dietitian and eating disorder expert Christine Byrne wrote a review on Noom for Outside magazine in 2021 and quoted:

“Don’t Be Fooled, Noom Is Just Another Diet.

The popular app promises weight loss without dieting. Then it proposes restrictive eating habits.

…behind Noom’s popularity and slick “no dieting needed” marketing, it’s really just another diet. The app is essentially a calorie tracker supplemented by lessons on behavior change and a personal coach who messages you. Many nutrition and mental health experts have warned that the way Noom presents itself is misleading.

The risks of calorie-counting and strict dieting

Strict calorie restriction risks putting your body into what’s known as ‘metabolic adaptation’. This is essentially a starvation response by your body when energy intake is very low.

This triggers a cascade of events designed to encourage you to eat more and continue to store fat. You might feel lethargic and hungry, and your mood might also experience a dip.

Because of this starvation response to strict dieting, Second Nature has taken a different approach – one where you determine what level of intake works for you, and surprisingly, it can lead to more weight loss in the long term.

Second Nature’s approach: Indulgent but supports weight loss

In 2022, the NHS published data in the British Medical Journal from the National Weight Management and Diabetes Prevention programme, where five providers delivered weight loss services in the UK.

Interestingly, WW was one of the five providers in this national programme but was removed due to poor results.

The results showed that after 12 months, Second Nature was more than twice as effective as the four other providers.

Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (2)

How does Second Nature’s approach work?

We approach nutrition and healthy eating differently. We don’t count calories, track macros, weigh food, or assign strict targets on your intake.

We provide you with evidence-based guidance on a balanced diet and teach you to understand what your physical and emotional drivers for eating are to reach your weight loss goals.

Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (3)

We also provide tools, such as our hunger scale and mindful eating techniques, that help you tune into your physical hunger cues and manage your food choices.

Alongside this, we help you build healthy habits that you can enjoy for a lifetime to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Our feedback inbox is filled with people like Jo, who lost over eight stone to achieve a healthy body weight on Second Nature after following our nutrition guidelines and receiving the support of our app and health coaches.

The difference is that members of Second Nature learn to love food again. They’re no longer restricted. They’re liberated.

If you’d like to join over 150,000 others who’ve joined Second Nature, lost weight and kept it off, then click here to take our health quiz.

Otherwise, keep reading as we look at other key differences and similarities between Noom, WW, and Second Nature.

Did you know?

Second Nature was the first-ever digital behavioural change programme commissioned by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. It continues to be part of their weight and type 2 diabetes management service.

Trustpilot score

Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews, and scores reflect overall customer satisfaction.

WWNoomSecond Nature
Star ratingNoom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (4)Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (5)Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (6)
Score3.6 / 5
read reviews
4.3 / 5
read reviews
4.8 / 5
read reviews

Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (7)

Signing up

WWNoomSecond Nature
Money back guaranteeFull refund if cancelled within 21 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.Full refund (apart from $1 admin fee) if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
Clear breakdown of costs
Clear cancellation policy
Length of programmeAll plans ongoing.

Core: 4 months

Part 2: ongoing.

Core: 4 months.
Growth: 4 months.
Maintain: 4 months.

Easy to cancel
(If cancelling within 14-day trial, otherwise you have to call customer support)
Refer-a-friend scheme
(not for customers in the UK)
Easy to include family

Nutrition

WWNoomSecond Nature
Dietary approachLow calorieLow fatLower carb
Caters to vegetarian
Caters to vegan

Support

WWNoomSecond Nature
Can tailor the plan around diabetes
Can tailor the plan around other health issues
Face-to-face meetings
(for meeting / meeting+ digital plan)
Access to registered dietitian or nutritionist
Weekend support
available

Programme features

WWNoomSecond Nature
Encourages daily weigh-ins
App
Recipe videos
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Exercise videos
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
Weighing scales provided
(paid add-on)
Tracks sleep
Tracks steps
Education of nutrition science
Counting/point system
(PersonalPoints™)

(calories counting + traffic light system)
Food diary feature

Pricing

When programmes provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to compare prices accurately.

To make this easier, we have calculated the price of monthly digital basic price plans on each programme to show you how costs compare. All admin fees are included in these prices.

For basic monthly plans, Noom is the most expensive option. On the surface, Second Nature seems slightly more expensive than Weight Watchers.

However, you have the same coach throughout the Second Nature programme that you can build a relationship with rather than an ad-hoc response from a different coach each time.

Noom also provides this feature; however, on the Second Nature programme, your personal coach is a registered dietitian or nutritionist rather than a previous member (Weight Watchers) or an individual from any health-related background (Noom).

Registration to a professional body requires a nationally recognised nutrition or dietetics degree.

Weekly face-to-face sessions with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can be costly (£40-£100/hour). We have added a column representing this to compare costs (Weekly Nutritionist – WN).

Monthly digital subscriptions:

WWNoom®Second NatureWN
Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach
The same, personal coach throughout the programme
Price£17/month£35/month£28/month£300/month

If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers face-to-face group meeting plan, it would be more expensive.

Example nutrition query response

Nutrition is a significant part of any weight loss journey. Therefore, it is essential to receive accurate and reliable nutrition advice.

We asked each programme a common nutrition-related query to see how the information provided as an answer compares.

Q: Are eggs bad for your cholesterol? Should I avoid them?

Noom’s answer:

“No single food will stop or start weight loss. It’s all about balance! I suggest consulting with your doctor regarding specific needs (i.e. cholesterol).”

Weight Watchers’ answer:

“There is no need to avoid these, you can go to the gov website and get the correct information on this”

Second Nature’s answer:

“Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol. It was previously thought that cholesterol-containing foods increase blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and strokes.

However, this is not the case, as dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed from the digestive system. If cholesterol is absorbed, the body will produce less to balance out (and prevent blood cholesterol levels from rising).

Therefore, you do not need to be restricted unless recommended to do so by your GP/Healthcare professional.

Eggs are incredibly nutrient-dense, providing good quality protein and containing vitamins and minerals.”

Take home message

  • When choosing a weight loss programme, it’s essential to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
  • Everyone is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.
  • Noom and Second Nature are online and app-based programmes, whereas Weight Watchers has an optional face-to-face meeting plan.
  • Weight Watchers focuses on eating habits, whereas Noom and Second Nature approach weight loss by focusing on behaviour change and healthy eating.
  • Second Nature is the only programme where you get a registered dietitian or nutritionist personal health coach.
  • Second Nature provides education in nutrition and answers nutrition queries with the most up-to-date science.
Noom vs Weight Watchers | Weight Watchers Reviews | Noom Reviews (2024)

FAQs

Is Noom or WW more effective? ›

Noom and WW are both effective for short-term weight loss, although they take slightly different approaches. Noom uses a color-coding system, while WW uses a points system to help steer you toward foods that are lower in calories and more nutritious.

What is the downside of Weight Watchers? ›

WeightWatchers (WW) is a popular weight loss program designed to help users track food intake and build healthy habits. While the program has its benefits, unlike many competitors, WW lacks nutrition education and doesn't result in sustainable weight change.

What's better than Noom? ›

Intelligent nutrition and exercise coaching. The best alternatives to Noom are PlateJoy, Eat This Much, and Holly Health.

What percentage of people lose weight on WW? ›

Short-term weight loss

In one study of 152 people with obesity, researchers found that people on WeightWatchers lost an average of nearly 6% of their body weight in 3 months. Plus, one-third of participants in this study were able to lose 10% or more of their body weight after 6 months.

What are the disadvantages of Noom diet? ›

Cons and other factors to consider about Noom
  • requires a smartphone or tablet and access to wifi or cellular data.
  • doesn't offer in-person interaction with coaches or community.
  • an additional cost for personal coaching.
  • coaches aren't qualified to replace a registered dietitian or doctor.
Mar 4, 2024

What is the failure rate of WeightWatchers? ›

scientific…but sadly, it's not. Case in point: the abstract of a new WeightWatchers study published in the journal Obesity says that of 2,843 weight loss maintainers in WeightWatchers who were followed for one year, 57% continued to maintain their loss while 43% gained more than five pounds.

Do doctors recommend weight watchers? ›

Doctors say Weight Watchers works because it focuses on real nutritional properties, like calories, sugar, and fat. It is still possible, however, to have an overall unhealthy diet on Weight Watchers.

What is the most effective weight loss program out there? ›

Summary: Compare the Best Weight Loss Programs of 2024
ProductForbes Health RatingsBest For
Weight Watchers (WW)5.0Best for Diet Flexibility
Noom Weight4.5Best Psychology-Based Program
Atkins5.0Best Low-Carb Weight Loss Program
The New Mayo Clinic DietBest Program for Long-Term Sustainability
1 more row
Jun 4, 2024

Does Noom work for over 50? ›

Noom for weight loss during menopause isn't about restricting or starving yourself. And if you're using Noom postmenopause, you'll follow the same approach. You'll learn how to make choices that are nutritionally rewarding, keep you feeling satisfied on fewer calories, and leave space for the foods you love.

What is the controversy with Noom? ›

Some Noom users say the app's daily weigh-ins and calorie-tracking system are 'toxic' and triggered disordered eating. The weight-loss app Noom built its brand on acknowledging that "diets don't work." Former users say they were drawn to Noom's message, but the app triggered disordered eating.

How much does 12 months of Noom cost? ›

How much does Noom cost?
Auto-renewing planCost
Nine-month$195
Ten-month$199
11-month$205
Annual$209
8 more rows
Jul 2, 2024

Can you really lose weight with Noom? ›

Some research suggests that Noom does help people lose weight. In one study, 78% of people lost weight while using Noom, and 23% lost more than 10% of their body weight. Dieting is hard, no matter what approach you take.

What is Oprah taking for weight loss? ›

Winfrey, who in December admitted to using weight loss medication, empathized with the guests who shared why they turned to prescription medications such as Ozempic, Mounjaro, Victoza and Wegovy. "This is what I got for the first time after I took the medication.

Can I lose 3 pounds a week on Weight Watchers? ›

In fact, while WW is designed to deliver a healthy, safe and sustainable rate of weight loss of 1-2lbs a week – because research proves that smaller, consistent losses are more likely to result in successful long term weight loss – don't be surprised if, like Leah, you see more in your first few weeks.

What is the trick to Weight Watchers? ›

Here's How to Succeed on the New Weight Watchers Program
  • Incorporate as many zero Points® foods as possible. Have you seen the zero Points® food list yet? ...
  • Drink lots of water. ...
  • Plan it all out. ...
  • Make smart swaps for your cravings. ...
  • Use your slow cooker. ...
  • Get active—and make it fun! ...
  • Bank up your points for one delicious treat.
Jan 9, 2018

Do people actually lose weight with Noom? ›

Does It Work? Some research suggests that Noom does help people lose weight. In one study, 78% of people lost weight while using Noom, and 23% lost more than 10% of their body weight. Dieting is hard, no matter what approach you take.

How many pounds a week can you lose on Noom? ›

Noom also creates realistic weight loss goals for users by following the CDC guidelines, which recommend losing one to two pounds per week. The app doesn't add additional pressure to lose weight faster than is recommended.

Can I lose 40 pounds on Noom? ›

'I Lost 40 Pounds On The Noom Diet And Have Maintained All My Healthy Habits 8 Months Later' "It taught me how to eat again." My name is Mary Leuthauser (@mamamar_getsfit), and I'm 30 years old and live in upstate New York as a mortgage account rep. I lost 40 pounds after discovering the Noom program.

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