Food Faddism in a Sample from Al-Balqa Governorate in Jordan

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD in Nutrition, Department of Nutrition and Food Processing, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Al-Balqa Applied University, Jordan


Introduction: Obesity is a worldwide health concern, which has been on an alarming trend in Jordan. Obesity leads to several chronic disorders and adversely affects the figure. Furthermore, it is considered to be a severe health threat during adolescence and early adulthood. People in Jordan tend to consume the foods that are rapidly prepared, and such dietary habits are referred to as fad diets. Fad diets are defined as those lacking scientific evidence and promoting rapid weight loss within a short period. The present study aimed to assess the frequency of fad diets in the students and employees in Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan and compare them with healthy diets. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 386 healthy students and employees aged 18-55 years, who were selected randomly. Data were collected using a questionnaire to determine the frequency of fad diets. In addition, food menus were analyzed using the food exchange system and Super Tracker. Results: In total, 229 respondents (60.1%) followed a specific diet, 173 of whom (75.5%) were female, and 56 (24.5%) were male. Regardless of gender, 10 respondents (4.5%) adhered to a healthy diet, while 214 cases (95.5%) followed fad diets. The three most common fad diets were the high-protein diet (n=70; 31.3%), fruits and vegetables diets (n=49; 21.9%), and liquid diets (n=41; 18.3%). In terms of physical activity, 104 respondents (45.4%) who followed fad diets had physical activity, while 69 of the participants (30%) who followed a healthy diet had no physical activity. Moreover, the majority of the respondents (n=104; 45.6%) decided their diets by enquiring their family and friends, and 16 participants who adhered to diets (7.5%) used weigh loss pills in addition to their diet. Conclusion: According to the results, the majority of the participants adhered to fad diets in order to lose weight. However, those who were unable to adopt such lifestyle modifications due to physical or economic constraints were inclined to use simple and rapid approaches for weight loss.


  1. 1. Le Gales-Camus C. Address to the informal meeting of EU Health Ministers. World Health Organization (WHO). 2006.

    2. Kumanyika S, Jeffery RW, Morabia A, Ritenbaugh C, Antipatis VJ; Public Health Approaches to the Prevention of Obesity (PHAPO) Working Group of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). Obesity prevention: the case for action. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002; 26(3): 425-36.

    3. Pradhan AD, Skerrett PJ, Manson JE. Obesity, diabetes, and coronary risk in women. J Cardiovasc Risk. 2002; 9(6): 323-30.

    4. Sotoudeh G, Khosravi S, Khajehnasiri F, Khalkhali HR. High prevalence of overweight and obesity in women of Islamshahr, Iran. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005; 14(2): 169-72.

    5. Top 10 Fattest Countries In The World – 2018 List. Accessed 11 December 2018.

    6. Webber L, Divajeva D, Marsh T, McPherson K, Brown M, Galea G, et al. The future burden of obesity-related diseases in the 53 WHO European-Region countries and the impact of effective interventions: a modelling study. BMJ Open. 2014; 4(7): e004787.

    7. Nahhas R. Obesity a major health problem in Jordan. The Arab Weekly. 2017; 21.

    8. Memon KN, Shaikh K, Khaskheli LB, Shaikh SR. Food faddism; its determinants & health outcomes among residents of Taluka Latifabad, Hyderabad. The Professional Medical Journal. 2014; 21(4): 691-96.

    9. Kuchkuntla AR, Limketkai B, Nanda S, Hurt RT, Mundi MS. Fad Diets: Hype or Hope? Curr Nutr Rep. 2018; 7(4): 310-23.

    10. Obert J, Pearlman M, Obert L, Chapin S. Popular weight loss strategies: A review of four weight loss techniques. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2017; 19(12): 61.

    11. Al-Kurd RA, Faris MAE. Nutritional and Health Quality of a Group of Popular Weight-Reducing Diets in Jordan. Pak J Nutr. 2011; 10(9): 814-22.

    12. Ayranci U, Erenoglu N, Son O. Eating habits, lifestyle factors, and body weight status among Turkish private educational institution students. Nutrition. 2010; 26(7-8): 772-8.

    13. McBean LD, Speckmann EW. Food faddism: a challenge to nutritionists and dietitians. Am J Clin Nutr. 1974; 27(10): 1071-78.

    14. Pam N. Food Faddism. Accessed 11 October 2013.

    15. Pollan M. In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto. Amazon; Accessed 13 October 2013.