Which weight loss program should you join?
From our perspective, you have two options:
- If you want to count calories, track your food intake, weigh your macros, lose weight fast and have a higher risk of weight regain – then you can consider BetterMe or Noom®. In our opinion, Noom® might be the better programme as it does contain some helpful information on behaviour change and psychology, as well as a human coach for support which can keep you motivated.
- Suppose you’d like to lose weight sustainably, be supported by a UK-registered dietitian or nutritionist, and follow a program trusted by the NHS in the UK and backed by scientific evidence published in the British Medical Journal. In that case, Second Nature might be the better choice.
Weight management programs 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 program.
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 tiresome research and help to answer some critical questions, this guide compares two popular lifestyle change programs: Noom® and BetterMe.
Noom® and BetterMe are both digital, app-based programs that aim to help you improve your health and achieve your weight goals.
Both Noom and BetterMe are calorie-counting programs
BetterMe is a digital fitness and nutrition plan tailored to your goals and preferences using artificial intelligence. You’ll get customized meal plans, workout programs, and calorie and weight-tracking tools.
Noom provides a personalized weight loss plan, calorie counting, educational content, and coaching.
Both Noom and BetterMe rely on you logging food and exercise and staying below a calorie threshold.
Although some people find calorie counting effective for weight loss, it can lead to obsessive tendencies and often isn’t sustainable in the long term.
Noom may just 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 and Slimming World.
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 program, where five providers delivered weight loss services in the UK.
The results showed that after 12 months, Second Nature was more than twice as effective as the four other providers. Neither Noom nor BetterMe has published long-term data to support its approach.
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.
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 Second Nature and the Noom program.
Did you know?
Second Nature was the first-ever digital behavioural change program 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 is a platform where consumers can leave reviews, and scores reflect overall customer satisfaction.
|Score||4.5 / 5
|4.4 / 5
|4.8 / 5
Want to make losing weight feel easier?
Second Nature uses science to help you make healthy choices, ensuring they stick in the long run. Join the 150,000 people on a Second Nature journey today by taking our quiz. We use your quiz answers to tailor our advice and support on the programme, to ensure you lose weight and keep it off.
|Money back guarantee||Full refund if cancelled within 3 business days. After this point, any charges are non-refundable.
An additional money back option is available to some customers who haven’t had visible results, after following the program for at least 7 consecutive days in their first month.
|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 program||Ongoing subscription||Ongoing subscription||Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)|
|Easy to cancel||✓||✓||✓|
|Easy to include family||✗||✗||✓|
|Dietary approach||Low calorie (calorie counting)||Low fat||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓||✓||✓|
Other than Vitamin D
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✓||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✗||✓|
|Access to a qualified nutrition specialist||✗||✗||✓</span style=”color: #000000;”>*|
|Daily support from a coach||✗||✓||✓|
*Second Nature coaches are all UK-registered dietitians or nutritionists. This means they have completed university-accredited degrees to gain this professional title.
However, coaches are not registered in the US, so they don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US-registered dietitians or nutritionists.
|Recipe videos in app||✓||✗||✓|
|Exercise videos in app||✗||✗||✓|
|Tracks water intake||✓||✓||✓|
|Tracks custom habits||✓||✓||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✓||✓||✓|
|Requires calorie counting||✓||✓
(calories represented by traffic light system)
|Food diary feature||✓||✓||✓|
|Meal planning tool||✓||✓||✓|
When programs 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 program to show you how costs compare (as of December 2022). All admin fees are included in these prices.
All three programs provide some level of coaching to support you throughout your lifestyle change journey.
Noom® coaches have a Health Coach Certification from the ‘Noomiversity’, which the National Board has approved for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC). You’re assigned a personal coach throughout the program.
With BetterMe, various coaching options are available, and qualifications vary. There’s no ongoing coaching with the same person.
The Second Nature program includes daily access to the same qualified nutrition specialist.
You’ll build relationships throughout the program and get personalised support and guidance. Having a coach with expertise in nutrition and wellness to support and guide you makes achieving your weight goals easier.
Another option to get support with your diet would be to see a registered dietitian.
Weekly face-to-face sessions with a registered dietitian can be expensive ($70-$100). We have added a column representing this to compare costs, labelled weekly registered dietitian (WRD).
Monthly digital subscriptions:
|Registered dietitian or nutritionist coach||Qualifications vary||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✗||✓||✓||✓|
|Price||$19.99 / month||$59 / month||$60 / month||$350 / month|
Take home message
- When choosing a weight management program, it’s essential to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
- Noom®, BetterMe, and Second Nature are exclusively digital and app-based programs.
- Noom® and Second Nature help you reach your weight goals by focusing on behaviour change and eating habits.
- Noom® has a clear guide of foods to eat or avoid, which can be helpful for some but might not benefit those with an unhealthy relationship with food.
- BetterMe requires tracking your food intake and staying below a calorie target. While this works for some people, it can be unsustainable long-term and contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Second Nature provides education in nutrition, allowing you to make informed decisions and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long-term.