Fad or fab? We test the app dubbed the new Weight Watchers

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Fad or fab? We test the app dubbed the new Weight Watchers

Is having a smartphone coach on tap better than face-to-face help? We signed up to find out

Victoria Lambert

Heard of Noom? If you have, I’m afraid it says something about your age. The new US diet app is being heavily targeted at midlifers, and my friends and I have all spotted the glossy adverts popping up on our social media feeds.

Noom, which combines food and exercise diaries with psychological advice, quizzes and motivation, has been described as the new Weight Watchers. It costs about £40 (R690) a month, and the company already claims “millions” of users who lose an average of 8kg in 16 weeks (the recommended programme length).

On downloading it, you’re assigned a personal coach who checks in to assess your progress, make suggestions and help you achieve your goals. In reviews, some users have complained that the coaches seem to be bots, not people, but the coach I am given when I enrol, Heather, assures me she is a real woman, living in North Carolina. She texts me every few days, and we develop a series of swaps and tweaks to help me lose weight – swapping rice cakes for slices of toast, ordering child portions of treats like popcorn, splitting a glass of wine with my husband rather than one each...

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