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Noom helps you learn how to get in touch with your body and teach yourself not to crave foods that don’t nourish you. Noom's key differentiator is applying psychology to achieve long-term weight loss. But critics say Noom is a deceptive gateway to disordered eating at worst.
The fight between Noom and its critics is part of a larger cultural war of the last decade over how we should think about food, weight, bodies, and health.
On one side is the traditional diet culture which holds that weight is a crucial indicator of health. The idea is that if you simply wield a little willpower and use more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.
On the other side are the rising anti-diet movements. They hold that the correlation between weight and health is not straightforward and that most diets don't last and damage your metabolism in the long run.
Noom celebrates No Diet Day on Instagram but in practice, it works like a classic low-calorie diet.
After registering, users are asked to set a goal weight and decide how quickly they want to lose weight. Noom will generate a daily calorie budget that users are expected to follow, and it instructs users to log their food.
Noom philosophy stated that no foods are off-limits, but it does give users a way to classify their foods. Green foods in large quantities, yellow foods in moderation, and red foods such as desserts and chips are limited.
At the centre of the anti-diet movement are two scientific claims.
The data on the first claim shows it to be mostly true. A 2014 meta-analysis showed that 6 % - 75 % of those classified as obese were “metabolically healthy.”
Studies on the second claim show that it is very rare for dieters to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.
Anti-dieters argue that dieting can damage the very bodies it promises to heal.
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