The Twitter Diet, Social Media May Help With Weight-loss

There have been thousands of diets like the cabbage soup diet, the Atkins diet, or the Palm Beach diet. The newest diet to emerge is the Twitter diet. A new study found that participants who used Twitter as part of a mobile weight-loss plan lost more weight than those who did not use Twitter or social media.

Brie Turner-McGrievy from Arnold School’s Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior said this was one of the first studies to look at the use of Twitter in a behavioral weight-loss intervention, according to Live Science.

The newest diet information came from a study conducted by the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Heath. Researchers studied 96 overweight and obese men and women who participated in a mobile weight-loss program. Half of them received bi-weekly podcast regarding nutrition, exercise, and goal setting. The other half received the same podcast and a downloaded diet-monitoring app and Twitter app to the mobile devices.

All of the participants lost weight over the six month study. But the participants who actively posted to Twitter, receiving feedback from weight-loss counselors and fellow participants, lost more weight than those who didn’t post to Twitter. The researchers found that, for every 10 Twitter posts, participants had with a 0.5 percent weight loss.

The study’s findings now have implications for weight-loss counselors, nutritionists, and dietary intervention programs. Turner-McGrievy said:

“Traditional, behavioral weight-loss interventions generally provide social support through weekly, face-to-face group meetings. While we know this is effective, it is costly and can create a high degree of burden on participants. Providing group support through online social networks can be a low cost way to reach a large number of people who are interested in achieving a healthy weight.

Science Daily says Turner-McGrievy said that more studies need to be conducted to find ways to provide social support for participants in remotely delivered weight loss programs in ways that are engaging, rewarding and useful for a wide variety of participants.