Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet - How Do These Plans Compare?

By Summer Banks FNS, SPT on Jan 04, 2022

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – Noom is all about teaching you how to live your life eating the foods you love, and losing weight in the process. Low-carb is about restriction for faster weight loss. Is one plan better than the other, and can you follow a low-carb diet on Noom?

Check out what our researchers found when they compared Noom to the standard low-carb diet.

What is Noom?

Noom is a weight-loss app that delivers a clinically-proven lifestyle program. The program spans 16 weeks and teaches the user about food, mental health, exercise, stress, and a long list of other topics that relate to your weight. Each of the plans is personalized to the user.

What is the Low-Carb Diet?

The low-carb diet is a meal plan that forces the body to switch from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat for energy. To do this, the diet requires eliminating all but a handful of carbs each day. In addition to restricting carbohydrates, increasing fat intake helps promote the switch.

There are several schools of thought about how to follow a low-carb diet. Each comes with its own guidelines, but in general, a low-carb diet suggests about 70% of calories from fat, 25% of calories from protein, and 5% of calories from carbohydrates.

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet Customer Testimonials
History

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – History

Brief History of Noom

Noom’s history spans back to 2008 when Artem Petakov and Saeju Jeong introduced a novel program that helped the user develop the habits needed to lose weight naturally. With the aid of doctors, nutrition professionals, and psychologists, the total body approach to health and weight-loss was developed.

Brief History of the Low-Carb Diet

Though most people credit Dr. Robert Atkins, the writer of Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, with developing the low-carb diet, the history starts many years before. In 1862 William Banting, a male patient measuring 5’5″ and weighing 202 pounds, visited Dr. William Harvey, a surgeon. The patient was complaining of difficulty hearing, but the doctor said it was his weight, not his ears, that were causing the problems.

Dr. Harvey put the patient on a strict diet that included meats, some fruits, all vegetables, wine, and an ounce of toast a day. Starches and sugars were to be avoided. The patient lost weight, and his hearing improved. Banting went on to publish his personal diet in the Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.

Fast forward to the 1970s, and Dr. Robert Atkins reintroduces the world to the low-carb diet with his book Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. This book provides an easy-to-follow home version of the doctor’s medical weight-loss plan.

The popularity of the low-carb diet rises and falls over the years until we hit the early 1990s when research into the role of metabolism in weight loss starts popping up. This time around, Dr. Atkins is joined by several other “experts,” including Barry Sears, Dr. Michael Eades, and Dr. Mary Dan Eades. Sears is the author of In the Zone and the Eades’ penned Protein Power – both low-carb plans.

From the 1990s to the present, the low-carb diet has been ever-present. The only real change occurred with the sharp rise in popularity of the keto diet – an even stricter low-carb plan.

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – Who’s Behind the Plan?

Who Created Noom?

The men responsible for Noom are Artem Petakov and Saeju Jeong. Petakov started out interested in coding in his childhood years. He moved on to the dot com market in high school and eventually studied Computer Science at college. He soon found an interest in the psychology of decision making, which would play well in the development of Noom.

Jeong lived and worked in Korea for six years. He started out as an entrepreneur at 19 and eventually founded BuyHard Productions. When he approached Petakov with the idea of Noom, Petakov was hesitant to leave his job with Google Maps, but eventually, the partnership happened, and the app was born.

Together, Petakov and Jeong created something that just works. You can take the app for a test drive for a free trial offer just for being a Dietspotlight reader.

Who Created the Low-Carb Diet?

Dr. William Harvey is credited with the development of the low-carb diet. Harvey had attended a medical conference on diet and blood sugar just before William Banting came to his office with health concerns. Using the information he learned at the conference, he developed a plan that focused on proteins rather than carbohydrates. The original plan wasn’t as fat-heavy as subsequent low-carb varieties.

Rules

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – The Rules

Rules of Noom

Noom doesn’t require anyone to follow a strict set of rules. The whole idea behind the program is to provide a strong foundation for healthy lifestyle changes that naturally lead to weight loss. On that foundation are three main aspects: Food Logging, Exercise Tracking, and Daily Lessons and Quizzes.

Food Logging: While this may seem like a boring feature that you can find in any weight-loss app, Noom takes a different approach to logging foods. At first glance, the calories and nutrition information for the meals you log are tracked just like any other app. Yes, calories are tracked on Noom, but the foods you log are also placed into one of three categories: Green, Yellow, or Red.

Green foods are the go-to foods. These include your fruits, vegetables, non-fat dairy, and some grains. The idea is that green foods provide the best nutrition and lowest calories per serving than any other foods. Noom suggests 30% of your calories come from green foods.

Yellow foods are where the majority of your daily calories will come from – 45%. There are some higher-calorie, higher-sugar fruits and vegetables on the yellow food list, but this is mostly where you’ll find meats, seafood, legumes, seeds, and low-fat dairy.

Red foods are only for occasional consumption. Here you’ll find your sugary desserts, cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugary drinks, and high-fat and fried foods. At most, 25% of your calories should come from red foods.

Exercise Tracking: Yes, exercise tracking is another common option in weight-loss apps, but again Noom puts a new twist on it. The exercise you track in your Noom app will increase your calorie goal. Here’s an example:

Your calorie goal is 1500 calories a day. You walk for 30 minutes and burn 300 calories. The Noom app automatically adds 50% of those calories, or 150, into your calorie goal, so you now have 1650 calories for the day.

The reason Noom adds only 50% of the calories back instead of the full 100% is based on science. Research shows that when people track exercise on an app, they tend to overestimate the intensity or duration of the activity. Adding back 50% instead of 100% accounts for that potential.

Lessons and Quizzes: Here is where Noom really stands out. Over 16 weeks, lessons and quizzes that take about 10 minutes a day are used to teach how to make changes to your life that make weight loss happen naturally.

The lessons are designed to provide you with the tools you need to lose weight and keep it off. This includes sharing why specific changes make a difference and how the changes affect your weight and overall health. The user is taught about weight loss and weight maintenance, not told what to do based on a strict set of rules.

Rules of the Low-Carb Diet

To cover the rules of the low-carb diet, we’re going to address the general plan. There are many versions of low-carb and carb-controlled diets that may have different rules.

The two main rules of low-carb diets are to cut carbs way back and increase fat more than you thought you needed to. Let’s take a look at two ways to address carbs, fats, and proteins.

Fat: 75% of calories
Protein: 20% of calories
Carbs: 5% of calories

Low-carb is not thought of as a calorie-based diet, but all diets deal with calories in some way. For low-carb, it’s easiest to find a good calorie goal, then calculate the grams of carbs, fats, and proteins from there.

For instance, if you’re calorie goal is 2000 calories, your approximate gram goals would be:

Fat: 167g
Protein: 100g
Carbs: 25g

Here’s how to calculate the grams using your calorie goal.

Fat: Multiply the calorie goal by 75%. Divide the answer by 9. The result is the total grams of fat for your diet.

Protein: Multiply the calorie goal by 20%. Divide the answer by 4. The result is the total grams of protein for your diet.

Carbs: Multiple calorie goal by 5%. Divide the answer by 4. The result is the total grams of carbs for your diet.

If you compare these numbers to the standard Atkins Diet, probably the most popular low-carb diet to date, you’ll find the two are nearly identical. The Atkins Diet suggests starting out with 20g of carbs per day.

Now, what about fat and the low-carb diet?

Based on the above example, you’d need to take in at least 167g of fat each day on a 2000-calorie diet. High fat intake is required to keep the body in ketosis, so excess fat stores are used for energy, and you lose weight.

Eating Plans

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – Eating Plans

The Noom Eating Plan

The basics of the Noom eating plan is the Green, Yellow, Red, traffic-style food logging. Whole foods with the best nutrition are green foods. As you progress through the 16 weeks, you gradually learn what foods fall into the green category, so you can make those choices naturally. The same goes for yellow and red foods.

Your weight-loss plan is personalized, and your personal coach is there to help you understand the plan, answer questions about how and what you could be eating, and more.

According to Noom, “With Noom, you’ll learn about social eating, cognition and food, stress management, managing emotions in relation to food, how exercise affects you, why we eat and act the way we do as humans, along with so much more. Noom aims for these changes to be sustainable, increasing the chance that they will become permanent thus helping you keep the weight off for the rest of your life.”

The Low-Carb Diet Eating Plan

The low-carb eating plan is more diverse today than ever before. This is due, in part, to the popularity of the keto diet – a type of low-carb plan. You can find nearly any food you want in a low-carb version, though keep in mind these foods tend to be heavily processed.

The focus of your diet will be on healthy fats, lean proteins, and carbs from whole foods. In the past, the low-carb diet didn’t focus on the type of fat a person should eat, just how much. Today, we know that fatty meats aren’t as healthy as lean meats and that adding in healthy fats is a better option.

Let’s take a look at some foods allowed on the low-carb eating plans and their carb counts.

Fruits (3.5 ounces)

Avocado: 3g
Tomato: 4g
Raspberry: 5g
Blackberry: 5g
Strawberry: 6g
Coconut Meat: 6g
Cantaloupe: 7g
Peach: 8g
Blueberry: 12g

Vegetables (one cup)

Mushrooms: 1g
Lettuce: 1g
Celery: 1g
Cauliflower: 2g
Radishes: 2g
Cabbage: 2g
Cucumber: 3g
Zucchini: 3g
Broccoli: 4g
Asparagus: 4g
Brussel’s Sprouts: 4g
Bell Pepper: 6g
Green Beans: 6g
Eggplant: 6g

Dairy

Butter: 0g per tablespoon
Hard Cheeses: less than 1g per ounce
Soft Cheeses: Varies
Cream Cheese: 1g per ounce
Cottage Cheese: 8g per cup
Greek Yogurt: 9g per cup
Sour Cream: 1g per 3 tablespoons

Meat and Seafood

Beef: 0g
Chicken: 0g
Pork: 0g
Lamb: 0g
Veal: 0g
Turkey: 0g
Eggs: nearly 0g
Most Fish: 0g
Shellfish: 4g to 5g per ⅔ cup

In terms of meat and seafood, overeating protein can actually hurt your weight loss on low-carb. On low-carb, serving sizes of protein tend to be larger than on a more traditional diet. This is because the idea of eating all the meat you want was once part of the Atkins Diet plan in the 1970s.

The issue is that the body will take the extra protein it doesn’t need and turn it right into carbs and store it as it would if you’d eaten the carbs instead.

Processed Foods

Due to the popularity of the low-carb diet and keto, there are tons of processed low-carb foods. As with any diet, processed foods are to be consumed in moderation. On some low-carb plans, processed foods aren’t suggested until weeks into the diet.

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – Plan Duration

How Long Does Noom Last?

The Noom Healthy Weight Program is 16 weeks, but the user is not limited to just 16 weeks. In addition to being clinically proven to support weight loss, the program is also proven to support weight maintenance, so many choose to stay with Noom after those first 16 weeks.

Noom offers a drastic reduction in cost to people who sign up for longer subscriptions. For instance, one month costs $59.99, but if you sign up for 12 months, you pay about $17 a month.

Check out a limited-time offer for Noom today. You can pick up a free trial offer just because you’re a Dietspotlight reader.

How Long Does the Low-Carb Diet Last?

The low-carb diet is a way of eating rather than a timed weight-loss plan. The Atkins version of low-carb starts with a two-week Induction phase, followed by On-Going Weight Loss that lasts until you’ve nearly reached your goal weight.

Significant Differences Between Noom and the Low-Carb Diet

The most significant difference between Noom and the low-carb diet is that low-carb requires restricting a particular food group and specific foods. Noom allows you to eat all the foods you love while teaching you how to incorporate them into your diet and still lose weight.

Can You Follow the Low-Carb Diet on Noom?

Food restriction is not part of the Noom weight-loss plan, but Noom recognizes the fact that some people needed to reduce carb intake for health. Following a whole-food diet lends itself to being naturally lower-carb than a traditional Western Diet. You can also contact your personal coach to talk more about how Noom and low-carb can work together.

Possible Side Effects of Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet

Of the two, the low-carb diet is the one that may come with some side effects, though the results tend to fade with time.

Initially, if you are starting out intending to enter ketosis (when the body burns fat for fuel), you may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty Focusing
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Hunger
  • Constipation
  • Headache

Some low-carb diets suggest adding salt to foods or drinking salted broth for the first two to three weeks to reduce the chances of these side effects.

Research

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet – The Research

Clinical Research on Noom

In a study of more than 35,000 men and women, more than 75% of people who used the Noom app reported weight loss, according to a large-scale study published in Scientific Reports.

Another study, this time on overweight and obese Koreans showed that Noom also supports weight maintenance in people who’ve lost weight, as per an article published in Metabolic Syndromes and Related Disorders.

Clinical Research on the Low-Carb Diet

There are hundreds of thousands of people who will vouch for the low-carb diet, and for a good reason. Science does show that eating low-carb and high-fat can promote weight loss. However, recent studies are leaning toward dismissing the eating plan as current research doesn’t totally support past results.

For instance, a 2018 edition of the European Journal of Nutrition shared that “There is a lack of data supporting long-term efficacy, safety and health benefits of LCHF diets. Any recommendation should be judged in this light.”

That’s not to say that research isn’t supportive of the diet. Still, some researchers suggest that studies completed in the past were more interested in how many people completed the study rather than the quality of the review, according to the journal Obesity Reviews.

Now, if you’re looking for help with cholesterol levels, it appears, based on research published in a 2019 edition of PeerJ, shares that a very-low-carb diet, 5% or fewer calories from carbs, may promote the most significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or good cholesterol) and the most significant reduction in triglycerides.

Quick Facts

The Facts About Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet

Quick Facts on Noom

  • The weight-loss program is 16 weeks.
  • After 16 weeks, Noom continues as a weight maintenance program.
  • The price is dramatically lower with a longer subscription.
  • Clinical research proves Noom is effective for weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • Food restrictions are not part of the eating plan.
  • You earn 50% of the calories burned during exercise for your calorie goal.

Quick Facts on the Low-Carb Diet

  • There are several types of the low-carb diet, but all focus on lowering carbs and increasing fat intake.
  • Getting into stable ketosis may take a week or two for some people.
  • Research shows that low-carb is no more effective than other types of diets over the long-term.
  • Some side effects, like constipation, are an on-going problem.
  • When you overeat protein, the extra is converted to carbs and stored.
Bottom Line

The Final Take on Noom vs. the Low-Carb Diet

Low-carb works – science proves that – but it also proves that restricting carb intake is a temporary fix, not a permanent solution. We love that Noom approaches weight loss in a way that teaches the individual not only how to develop good habits, but why those good habits work the way they do.

Take a closer look at the Noom app for a free trial offer as part of a special offer for Dietspotlight readers.

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet Ingredients
Questions

Noom vs. Low-Carb Diet Questions and Answers

What is the Noom diet plan?

The Noom diet plan is a 16-week weight-loss program delivered in a mobile app.

Does Noom have a meal plan?

Noom’s meal place is personalized to the user based on an initial interview and questionnaire. The plan is flexible to allow for changes.

What are green foods on Noom?

Green foods on Noom are low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods that make up 30% of your calories a day.

What are yellow foods on Noom?

Yellow foods on Noom are moderate-calorie foods that still offer good nutrition. 45% of your calories come from yellow foods.

What are red foods on Noom?

Red foods are high-fat and offer little to no nutritional value. Only 25% of your daily calories should come from red foods.

How do you log food on Noom?

From the home screen, tap the button that reads “Log Your Meals.” Tap on the meal you’re ready to log and enter the foods.

How many calories does Noom allow?

Your calorie goal on Noom will be calculated after your initial interview and questionnaire.

Is Noom just calorie counting?

No, Noom is not just calorie counting. While you are given a calorie goal, you’re also taught how to choose nutritious foods, so eventually, eating a healthy, balanced diet is natural.

What does Noom cost?

You can subscribe to Noom on a month-to-month basis for $59.99. Multiple-month subscriptions are available at a lower price. The average price per month for each subscription is:

  • 2-Month Plan: $50/month
  • 4-Month Plan: $33/month
  • 6-Month Plan: $25/month
  • 8-Month Plan: $20/month
  • 12-Month Plan: $17/month

Can you cancel Noom at any time?

When you’ve decided to cancel your Noom subscription, send a message to your personal coach. The coach will process the cancellation, and you will receive an email confirmation.

About the Author:

Summer Banks has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with professionals in the weight loss industry and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University.

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