It seems like once every couple of years, some new trend comes along regarding weight loss.
It used to be Weight Watchers, but the new buzzy one right now is Noom. I thought, as a doctor, I would take a look at it.
I always want to be known for what I’m for, not against, but I want to take a look at what this thing is lacking, what’s decent about it, and if you should be going down this road when it comes to your health.
So I signed up for Noom, downloaded the app, and started to use it.
I want to show you how you could potentially use this for your health, but also know what you’re missing to make it a more well-rounded approach.
The thing that hurts me most as a doctor is when people don’t understand that when you get healthy, you lose weight. You don’t lose weight and then get healthy.
There are so many ways to lose weight, but that doesn’t equate to a healthier human being.
We’re just a skinner person on medications, and eating toxic food.
If you are using Noom, and it’s helping you on your journey, that’s amazing. Just make sure you don’t miss out on the key components of health.
The app itself is high quality and well-designed aesthetically. It starts off with 15 minutes of answering a lot of quiz questions, but they don’t give you a specific regimen—it’s still generic.
The app counts your calories at the top. Counting calories is a way to lose weight, and if you eat less, you’re going to lose weight.
But there are so many of these calorie-counting programs out there that aren’t effective because they still let you eat unhealthy things.
I wanted to dive into Noom and see how it handles sugars, insulin and bad oils.
It’s what I’m always looking into, because there’s an overwhelming amount of research in the books I’ve written and the videos I’ve done on rancid oils like vegetable and seed oils.
You can eat these oils and still be low-calorie, but they’re so bad for you in the long run.
Noom doesn’t have any workouts for you, so you’re left on your own to do that part.
It does have a library that has course progress, because Noom’s whole thing is changing habits and behaviors, which I love.
We absolutely need to change habits and lifestyles, not just lose weight. You’ll get long-term lifestyle changes, but what are we changing into?
There is a recipe section in the app. A lot of them look delicious, but we need to be looking at what ingredients are used.
Crisp Stir Fry Vegetable
One meal I looked at takes 30 minutes to make, 406 calories, and uses reduced-sodium soy sauce, which is fine, but I’d rather use Bragg’s so we avoid sodium altogether.
It also contains rice wine vinegar, which you can also avoid or use an apple cider vinegar.
We want to avoid using corn starch, and avoid any sort of corn starch because it’s high in GMOs.
There’s also vegetable oil, which is going to be a rancid form of oil.
These foods are only focused on lowering calories—if it meets that criteria, it can go into your system.
This starts to translate into eating foods that are sugar-free, using things like aspartame, toxins, and NutraSweet.
Those show up in a lot of products that are okay on diet plans like this. You start eating things with really high protein amounts and low amounts of calories, but there’s fake sugar loaded with bad oils, and unclean protein.
You’re putting these foods in and meeting your calorie count, but at what cost when you’re eating toxic food?
That’s why when people stop these programs, they eat a lot of bad foods.
They thought they could have all of these different foods that they wanted, but they never addressed the true driver of weight, which is insulin.
If your body doesn’t have enough insulin, it can’t produce it. You could become a type 1 diabetic, and if left untreated, you could get deathly skinny.
Your pancreas is working to try to respond to all of the insulin-spiking foods that you’re eating.
The promotion of a lot of small meals keeps insulin high all day.
The promotion of toxic fats or foods like corn starches, where we’re not paying attention to their insulin impact, puts us in a state where we stay insulin-resistant.
That can lead to metabolic disease.
So yes, your calories go down, but your blood pressure goes up.
Green Food List
I downloaded some of Noom’s food guides, and they have a green food list, which they say are foods that are good to eat because they’re low-calorie.
On the list though, are bananas and cherries, which spike your insulin levels.
That’s not a problem if your weight is good, you don’t have any medications or metabolic conditions, and aren’t struggling with insulin, but most Americans are.
For grains, Noom allows us to have corn tortillas, noodles, muffins, and pasta. These are really going to spike your insulin.
They’re fine if you can learn how to make them with healthy alternatives like bean noodles or garbanzo beans.
But if we’re putting these in, in general, we’re going to spike insulin.
The vegetables that they allow are fine, although they do allow potatoes, which are going to spike the insulin level.
So you can see a lot of issues here around insulin levels.
They also allow tofu, even though it’s high in genetically-modified soy.
Orange Food List
This is the list of foods on Noom that they want you to stay away from. These are just going to be calories, and not going to be what you want inside of your system.
Orange-category foods are the most calorie-dense, and allegedly have few healthy nutrients.
But when you go to the list, nuts are on the list, even though almonds are one of the best sources of magnesium that you can eat.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with things like zinc and other incredibly helpful nutrients, yet they’re on here for supposedly not having any nutritional value.
Turkey bacon could be a great alternative to regular bacon, but that’s on there.
Butter is also on this list, and it’s a good source of healthy fat. By doing this, the app is saying that fat is not an important nutrient.
Every cell in our body is surrounded by fat, and our brain is made up of 60% fat.
Focus on Complete Health
Following these recipes, counting your calories, and tracking your progress could help you lose weight, but do you actually become healthy over time as a result?
I would rather focus on real food, real nutrients, focus on complete health, and it needs five parts.
Building Real Health
This means we have to pay attention to medications that could be unhealthy. They could drive a health result, help with weight loss or blood pressure, but also have side effects that make you toxic.
We can count calories, but if we’re eating toxic foods, then we don’t have the whole picture.
Reducing stress, having gratitude, and getting better sleep also go along with this.
We have to focus on building real health.
Fixing Your Foods
We want to eat real food and focus on fixing our foods, but we need all of the food groups to be in balance.
We start to understand shopping, reading labels, what is real food and what isn’t, especially when it comes to fats.
Fixing Your Fitness
Then there’s the fitness side of things. You can upgrade your Noom purchase, but it will end up costing you several hundred dollars a year.
There are more add-ons to get the actual workouts. That guidance, ease, and convenience are very important for quickly getting a workout in each day.
I think 10 minutes is all it really takes to get a good workout in. That’s fixing your fitness.
Fixing Your Filter
Fixing your body’s filter is something that’s not addressed at all in a program like Noom. What about the toxicity in your life?
What about the plastics all around you? What about the chemicals you’re taking in with artificial sweeteners, or chemicals in the air or in your deodorant?
That’s a whole other aspect of health that creates a lot of problems that need to be addressed.
Fixing Your Frame
What about your bad knee, your inflamed shoulder, your migraine headaches or rehab that needs to be done for the body?
Those things aren’t addressed in programs like Noom, either.
To call Noom a complete health program is wrong. It’s very far from it. Those are the five foundational aspects that need to be addressed for total health.
If you start piecing those aspects together, you’re going to need two or three other apps to get them all.
I break all of these down in my book, where you can get a good understanding of the 5 foundations of health.
I don’t have a competitive thing with Noom, but I do live coaching every single month in a private Facebook group to help people implement those five foundations.
If we don’t address all five, we can miss some major areas of health. We’ll have our nutrition, our weight, and our habits way off.
It needs to be a well-rounded approach, not just counting calories, not just lighter caskets, and not omitting healthy foods just because of their calorie count.
To me, Noom would not be passing the Doctor Livingood test.
If you use it and you’re having good results, that’s fantastic. Just make sure that you’re addressing unhealthy foods, even if they’re low in calories, and know that other aspects of health have to be addressed.
There’s your honest review of a doctor reacting to a health program.
I think what you really need is a lifestyle that helps you learn how to shop and read labels, cook your own food, exercise, sleep better, and control stress.
I’m interested in equipping people with that, instead of dependence on a program.
If you need help with the next step to good health, I put a link for my book here that breaks down the five foundations so you can start living healthy.
If you are really focused on weight loss, insulin has to be addressed. I did a whole training on how to lose weight and control insulin that you can check out here.