Desperate to lose weight? Log on to Twitter
American researchers have revealed that the social networking site Twitter can speed up the rate at which people shed the pounds.

The researchers, from the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, found that the more status updates people read relating to healthy eating and exercise, the more weight they were likely to lose, the Daily Mail reported.

On average, for every 10 Twitter updates read, people lost on average 0.5 per cent of their body weight.Lead researcher Brie Turner-McGrievy said that it was the first study to examine the use of Twitter as part of a "behavioural weight loss intervention."

The study followed 96 overweight and obese men and women split into two groups over a six-month period and all of them had a phone with an internet facility.Both groups received two podcasts per week for three months (15 minutes each) and two mini-podcasts per week during the third to sixth months (five minutes each).

The podcasts included information about nutrition and exercise and goal setting.In addition to the podcasts, one group downloaded an app, which monitored diet and physical activity.Both groups saw a 2.7 per cent decrease in body weight at six months.

And in the group who'd downloaded the app, those who used it the most lost the most weight.People of this group were asked to log on daily to read two messages of encouragement delivered by a weight loss counsellor and also post their own messages of healthy eating examples to other members of the group.

Dr Turner-McGrievy said Twitter helped people shed the pounds as it helped people check the calorie contents of menus with their fellow dieters.The study was published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine.