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 not a 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 important questions, this guide compares two popular programs: WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined, formerly Weight Watchers®) and Noom®. We’ve also made comparisons to the Second Nature program.
WW considers food, activity, sleep and mindset to help you lose weight. The program is based on the WW SmartPoint® system and is available in either digital or face-to-face format.
Noom® and Second Nature are both digital, app-based programs that focus on behaviour change and sustainable weight management.
Noom® focuses mainly on calories and diet, whereas Second Nature is a holistic program that can help you achieve your weight goals by targeting all angles, including nutrition, exercise, sleep, and behaviour.
WW coaches are past members who have been successful on the program rather than nutrition professionals. Noom® coaches can come from any health-related background, while Second Nature are coaches with expertise in nutrition.
Did you know?
In the UK, Second Nature was the first ever digital behavioural change program to be commissioned by their National Health Service (NHS) and continues to be part of their weight management and type 2 diabetes management service.
Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave reviews and scores reflect overall customer satisfcation.
|Score||1.8 / 5
|4.4 / 5
|4.8 / 5
|Money back guarantee||Full refund if cancelled within 14 days. After this point, any charges non-refundable.
However, a termination fee of $49.95 applies if you cancel during a Commitment Plan.
|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||All plans ongoing||Dependent on your goals||Ongoing subscription (minimum 12 weeks)|
|Easy to cancel||✓||✓||✓|
|Easy to include family||✗||✗||✓|
Already found out enough?
Pay what you like for the first 2 weeks of Second Nature and start building healthy habits today
|Dietary approach||Low calorie||Low fat||Lower carb|
|Caters to vegetarian||✓||✓||✓|
|Caters to vegan||✓||✓||✓|
|Vegetarian/vegan recipe section||✓||✓||✓|
(nutritional supplements are available to be purchased, here)
Other than Vitamin D
|Tailors the plan around diabetes||✗||✓||✓|
|Tailors the plan around other health issues||✗||✗||✓|
(for meeting / meeting + digital plan)
|Access to a coach with expertise in nutrition||✗||✗||✓*|
|Weekend support available||✓||✗||✓|
*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 don’t meet the regulatory requirements to be considered US registered dietitians or nutritionists.
|Recipe videos in app||✗
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Exercise videos in app||✗
(Free recipe videos available on YouTube without signing up)
|Tracks custom habits||✗||✓||✓|
|Education of nutrition science||✗||✓||✓|
(Smartpoints® and Fitpoints®)
(calories represented by traffic light system)
|Food diary feature||✓||✓||✓|
When programs provide price plans in different formats, it can be hard to accurately compare prices. 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 April 2021). All admin fees are included in these prices.
All programs include access to a coach throughout the program. However, qualifications vary. With WW coaches are past members who have been successful on the program rather than nutrition professionals. Noom® coaches can come from any health-related background. Only Second Nature coaches are guaranteed to have expertise in nutrition.
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 very 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||✗||✗||✓||✓|
|The same, personal coach throughout the program||✗||✓||✓||✓|
|Price||$21.95 / month||$59 / month||$60 / month||$350 / month|
If you were to opt for the Weight Watchers® face-to-face group meeting plan it would work out to be more expensive.
Example nutrition query response
Nutrition is a major part of any lifestyle change. Therefore, it is important to receive accurate and reliable nutrition advice. We asked each program 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?
“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 has not been shown to be the case as dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed from the digestive system, and if cholesterol is absorbed, the body will produce less of it to balance out (and prevent blood cholesterol levels rising). Therefore, you don’t need to be restricted unless recommended to do so by your GP/Healthcare professional. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet providing good quality protein as well as being loaded with vitamins and minerals.”
Take home message
- When choosing a weight management program, it’s important to consider what would fit into your lifestyle and help you achieve your goals.
- Noom® and Second Nature are both exclusively digital and app-based programs, whereas Weight Watchers® has an optional face-to-face meeting plan.
- Noom® and Second Nature help you to reach your weight goals by focusing on behaviour change as well as 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
- Second Nature provides you with an education of nutrition, allowing you to make informed decisions yourself and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long-term