When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, you’re going to be required to put in a little elbow grease. From tracking what you eat to getting a handle on and understanding macros, and then figuring out the fitness piece of the puzzle, it can feel overwhelming, to say the least.
Thankfully, there are programs, tools, and resources out there that can help make the process simpler and more streamlined. Two of the most popular options for weight loss tracking, assistance, and accountability these days are Noom and MyfitnessPal, two very different approaches to weight loss but with some commonalities.
Both Noom and MyfitnessPal utilize technology to offer streamlined, convenient, and accessible weight loss solutions for people with all kinds of weight management goals. In order for a weight loss program or strategy to work, it needs to encourage realistic goals, a sustainable strategy, and the encouragement of healthy lifestyle habits and behaviors that users can maintain for the rest of their lives.
In this comparison, I’m breaking down the similarities and differences between Noom and MyfitnessPal so that you can decide which of these weight management strategies is best aligned with your goals.
Quick Summary of Noom vs MyfitnessPal
Robust food tracking:
Most noom users start with a 4 month subscription, which costs $39.75 per month and is billed upfront as a 4-month auto-renewing plan costing $159. There are other plans to choose from as well.
$9.99/mo or $49.99 per year
What is Noom?
Noom is a weight loss program that involves habit building and tracking, meal planning, fitness, and motivational coaching. The approach that Noom takes to weight loss is slightly different than many other programs as it focuses less on the physical transformation associated with losing weight and more on the mental and psychological elements relating to sustainable weight loss and maintenance.
Noom is available on an easy-to-use app that can easily be downloaded to your phone. The interface is actually very simple and easy to use. To get started, you’ll fill out your personal information and identify your goals and preferences. From there, you’ll begin with some daily tasks like logging your meals, weight, and any exercise.
You’ll also be given fitness and nutrition prompts that will ask you to read some information and then quizzed on the information that you gleaned from the reading so that you can commit it to memory. Furthermore, you’ll be connected with a personal health coach who will actively check up on you and make sure that the goals you’re setting are attainable and that you’re on track to reach them timely.
The glaringly obvious difference between Noom and most other weight loss programs on the market is that they have such a heavy focus on helping you with the mindset shifts that will be required to establish new habits and create lasting results.
Main Features and Benefits
- Comprehensive food tracking and a database with over 3 million foods for simple logging
- Personalized daily calorie requirements based on your current lifestyle
- 1:1 health coaching with a professional coach
- Education through articles and quizzes
- Community access
- Easy-to-use, app-based platform
- Encouragement of healthy eating and lifestyle habits
Noom has conducted ample studies on the effectiveness of using a smartphone app for the purpose of weight reduction. One of the most compelling studies was published in 2016. This study involved 35,921 participants and found that 76% of women and 84% of men lost weight while using the Noom app, which is pretty compelling and a clear sign that the Noom team is on the right track.
There are two versions of the app to choose from; a free version that offers the most basic functionality and a premium version that gives you all the bells and whistles. The biggest benefits that Noom users find are the continual education and the fact that it’s so accessible thanks to the app-based interface. The majority of us live around our phones these days, so the ability to tune into an app for educational purposes is incredibly convenient.
- Personalized calorie targets
- Daily education and resources
- Built around habit change
- Intense focus on mindset shifts
- Sustainable weight loss
- Not a quick fix
- Encourages the building of healthy habits and lifestyle changes
- Access to a 1:1 personal coach
- Community support
- All done from the convenience of your smartphone
- The cost is higher than some similar programs
- The 1:1 coaching might not be as in-depth and personal as some people require
What is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal (MFP) is a food diary app that’s designed to help you track calories and/or macros. Similar to Noom, MyFitnessPal gives you a daily personalized calorie and macro target and plan based on your current and goal weights.
Using MyFitnessPal’s intuitive logging system, you can track every meal you eat inside the app and instantly see how that food plays a role in your daily intake. Plus, the MFP app keeps a running daily tally of your nutrient and vitamin intake (micronutrients) throughout the day as well so that you can stay on top of your macros and your micros for complete nutrition optimization and results.
MyFitnessPal is not a diet program, it’s a tool that will help you to reach your weight loss goals when utilized properly. The premise of the app is to understand your unique calorie and macro targets, choose your meals intentionally, log them, and stay within your calorie and macro limit targets.
MFP is the most well-known and widely-used calorie-tracking app on the market thanks to its ease of use and unprecedented library of foods to choose from. Plus, it’s compatible with most devices, making it accessible to people with all kinds of devices and access.
MyFitnessPal is available for free with limited functionality and tools, however, if you want the full experience, upgrading to MFP Premium will be well worth the minimal investment. With the premium membership, you will get access to more tracking metrics, additional customizations, and motivational content and workouts that you can use to enhance your overall experience.
In addition to being easy to use, MFP also integrates with most activity trackers so users can connect all of their fitness and health apps and tools together for seamless integration. The data pulled from fitness trackers can help MFP understand your movement patterns and how that can play a role in your daily calorie allotment (however, I don’t recommend accounting for activity and subtracting from your daily calories!).
Main Features and Benefits
- A giant database with over 11 million built-in foods to choose from
- Food label scanner
- Calorie counter
- Over 350 exercises (premium version)
- Community newsfeed
- Educational article
- Easy tracking
- Macro breakdowns (premium version)
One of the biggest questions when it comes to MyFitnessPal is whether or not it’s worth it to upgrade to the premium version of the app. Unfortunately, to keep the free version “free,” MFP utilizes a ton of ads that clutter up your home screen on the app. This can quickly get annoying and feel spammy.
By upgrading to the premium version, you get the best of what the app has to offer. This is particularly relevant for those who want to track their macros as the full scope of macro breakdowns is available with a premium version of the app. Plus, premium MFP users get access to exclusive workouts and content that cannot be found on the free app version.
- The largest food database of all calorie-tracking apps
- Compatible with most devices
- There’s a free version of the app
- It’s easy to use
- Many recipe creators put their recipes into the app for easy tracking
- Upgrading to premium is very cost-effective and worth the extra expense
- Macro tracking is difficult with the free version of the app
- The workouts aren’t geared towards advanced exercisers
- No 1:1 coaching available
- Limited community experience
Key Differences Between Noom and MyfitnessPal
Now that we’ve given an overview of each of these weight loss tools, let’s dig into the specific differences between them using the most common comparison points of reference.
Calorie and Activity Tracking
For both apps, the calorie and activity tracking aspects are very attractive to those who are looking to lose weight.
For Noom, logging your meals is simple and fast. As a user, you will simply search through the extensive database of food options and select the food(s) you’re consuming. Or, you can utilize the built-in barcode scanner to scan your food label and have it automatically uploaded to your personal log. With Noom, you can track your calories along with other relevant health and nutrition-related details which can provide you with key insights into your overall health and food choices. Additionally, Noom has a great activity tracking section that makes entering in your daily movement a breeze.
MyFitnessPal’s calorie tracking is quite similar to Noom in that you can choose your foods from the very extensive library of options, or you can scan your barcode to upload the data. MFP has a leg up on Noom in that their food library is a bit more expansive, however, I would imagine that Noom will soon catch up. That said, there have also been a lot of reports of inaccurate information in the MFP library due to the fact that they allow users to create meals, foods, and recipes inside the app. Activity tracking-wise, MyFitnessPal allows you to enter and track your movement, however, I recommend turning off the feature that has the app add in more calories to your day based on movement as this can cause you to be in a caloric surplus and gain weight.
Available Food Database
Both Noom and MyFitnessPal offer extensive food databases, with MFP taking the cake as the largest (for now). Furthermore, both apps allow users to scan barcodes and enter their food information manually.
For those using Noom, you have the ability to modify your database search setting to provide you with the most relevant information you need based on your specific meal plan. You can also log your portion sizes and meal times to keep track of your data and progress. Although Noom’s database is slightly behind MFP’s, they are regularly adding to it and will no doubt catch up with and surpass MFP.
With MyFitnessPal, the database from which you can choose your foods and meals is huge. The only issue is that some of the dietary information is inaccurate as users are allowed to add in their own foods and meals and for some time that information was never fact-checked and verified. For this reason, I highly recommend double-checking the food entries you use from the database to ensure that they’re accurate. Otherwise, MFP is simple and straightforward to use, which is why so many people utilize it for their weight loss and weight management journeys.
As a health and fitness coach myself, I understand and preach the value of coaching all the time. This is one of the very reasons why I switched from tracking macros in MFP to using the 1st Phorm App; MFP does not offer any coaching and 1st Phorm does. Noom offers personalized coaching as well, making Noom the clear winner from the coaching standpoint.
When using Noom, users have the option to get personalized coaching from a real professional who will be there to support them on their journey to weight loss and better health. For many people, trying to navigate a weight loss and/or wellness journey alone can be downright impossible. Without the support and guidance of a coach, many people throw in the towel shortly after getting started.
If you’re someone who needs help, guidance, encouragement, and education as you work your way to better health and wellness, you’re going to want a coach, and considering MyFitnessPal doesn’t offer coaching, Noom will be your best bet between these two apps.
Along the same lines as coaching, community can play an integral role in your adherence to your plan as well as your motivation to keep going when things get tough. Both Noom and MyFitnessPal offer community benefits, however, their approaches are different.
MyFitnessPal takes a generic approach to community, offering a forum-style place for folks to go and interact with others in their community. Users can go there to ask questions, seek answers, and learn from and connect with others. Noom, on the other hand, offers a community that’s largely based on the behavioral changes that are required to get fit, lose weight, and lead a healthy and active lifestyle. The Noom community focuses on the psychological roadblocks that commonly get in the way of making progress and reaching our potential.
Honestly, both Noom and MyFitnessPal are very easy to use for members of all abilities. Noom literally walks you through, step-by-step, how to get started and what to do. MyFitnessPal might take a bit more time to get used to, but it’s very straightforward once you get the hang of it.
One thing that severely affects the user experience is the presence of ads on the free version of MyFitnessPal. If you’re easily annoyed with or distracted by ads, MFP might not be the best option for you. Although, you can easily upgrade to the premium version and enjoy the app completely ad-free, which I highly recommend if you decide to go with MFP.
Other than that, both apps sync up great with other fitness apps, making them very friendly to the user and simple to integrate into your current technology.
Cost plays a big role in most people’s decisions, especially in today’s world. Noom and MyFitnessPal offer different payment options, which I will outline below:
Noom’s membership packages for a premium account are priced as follows:
- Monthly auto-renewing plan $60 USD
- 2-month auto-renewing plan $119 USD
- 3-month auto-renewing plan $149 USD
- 4-month auto-renewing plan $159 USD
- 5-month auto-renewing plan $164 USD
- 6-month auto-renewing plan $169 USD
- 7-month auto-renewing plan $174 USD
- 8-month auto-renewing plan $179 USD
- 9-month auto-renewing plan $185 USD
- 10-month auto-renewing plan $189 USD
- 11-month auto-renewing plan $195 USD
- Annual auto-renewing plan $199 USD
MyFitnessPal’s membership costs:
- $9.99 per month
- $49.99 per year
- A free version is available with limited functionality and features
Wrapping Up: Which App is Better For Weight Loss, Noom or MyFitnessPal?
If it’s weight loss that you seek and you are looking for a comprehensive plan that includes personalized coaching every step of the way, then Noom is the better option for you. This is especially true for those who are new to the weight loss and wellness space and don’t have a clue where to start. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that you cannot change your life and lose weight for good without changing your behavior and your habits, and this is exactly what Noom helps you to do.
For those who are well-versed in nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle and psychological changes required to lose weight sustainably, MyFitnessPal is a wonderful choice. There isn’t nearly as much guidance or hand-holding, but not everyone needs or wants that.
In my opinion, those who need a complete lifestyle change should consider getting started with Noom and learning everything they can about changing their lifestyle and implementing new healthy habits with the intent of then having the ability to become more independent in the future, potentially switching to a more laid back self-controlled app like MyFitnessPal.