Best and worst calorie-counting apps for health and weight loss

The Noom app doesn’t show users their levels of micronutrients (like calcium, iron, and vitamin C) or macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat), but its overall calorie estimates are pretty spot-on.

Noom is different from the other apps in its focus on wellness as opposed to traditional dieting. The app provides users with “coaches” who motivate them to meet their nutrition goals.

“Weight loss is a lot more than just writing things down,” said Andreas Michaelides, Noom’s chief psychology officer. “It’s really about changing your behavior.”

Unless someone has a clinical diagnosis and needs to track their micronutrients, he said, it’s more important to form healthy, lifelong habits.

“Most people, without the assistance of a food database, would not be equipped to know the big picture,” Michaelides said. “A lot of the calories in food are buried inside their meal.”

Michaelides added that no nutrition app should tell people to consume extra calories because they’ve exercised. Tracking physical activity can help people set goals and learn new behaviors, but it shouldn’t be a reason to change healthy eating patterns.

“People shouldn’t be obsessed [with logging],” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s really a matter of forming lifelong, sustainable habits.”


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