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Richard “Drew” Sayer, PhD

Richard “Drew” Sayer, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Webb 634
1675 University Boulevard
Birmingham, AL 35294
Phone: (205) -354-8950
Fax: 205-975-4065
Full CV


  • Postdoctoral Training, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Mentor: James Hill, PhD
  • PhD, Interdepartmental Nutrition Program, Concentration in Ingestive Behavior Research, Purdue University, Mentor: Wayne Campbell, PhD
  • MS, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Mentor: Tracy Nelson, PhD
  • BS, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University

Research Description

Obesity is one of the most serious and complex public health challenges our society has faced. Past research has shown tremendous inter-individual variability in weight loss in response to physical activity and dietary interventions, which is driven by a complex set of biological, behavioral, environmental, and psychosocial influences on adherence and energy balance. My education and training in exercise nutrition, and translational sciences have fostered a strong desire to understand this complexity and contribute to the development and implementation of evidence-based and tailored strategies to reduce obesity in real-world settings.

My past research has centered on the effects of the quantity and quality of dietary protein on energy balance, obesity, and cardiometabolic health. My predoctoral research was focused primarily on studying the role of dietary protein on appetite, energy balance, and neural reward responses to visual food stimuli. I also have experience with conducting randomized clinical trials to investigate the impact of red meat consumption on cardiometabolic health and weight loss in adults with obesity. At UAB, I will be studying the factors that contribute to the variability in behavioral weight loss interventions in both clinical and research settings as well as developing pragmatic randomized clinical trials to develop, rigorously evaluate, and implement effective interventions to increase physical activity, improve diet, and treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.


  1. Hjorth MF, Astrup A, Zohar Y, Urban LE, Sayer RD, Patterson BW, Herring SJ, Klein S, Zemel BS, Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO. Personalized nutrition: pretreatment glucose metabolism determines individual long-term weight loss responsiveness in individuals with obesity on low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet. Int J Obes (Lond). 2018 Dec 19. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0298-4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30568260.
  2. O’Connor LE, Li J, Sayer RD, Hennessy JE, and Campbell WW. Short-Term Effects of Healthy Eating Pattern Cycling on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Pooled Results from Two Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 10;10(11). pii: E1725. doi: 10.3390/nu10111725. PubMed PMID: 30423846; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6266045.
  3. Caldwell AE and Sayer RD. Evolutionary considerations on social status, eating behavior, and obesity. Appetite. 2019 Jan 1;132:238-248. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.07.028. Epub 2018 Aug 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 30078673.
  4. Wright CS, Zhou J, Sayer RD, Kim JE, Campbell WW. Effects of a High-Protein Diet Including Whole Eggs on Muscle Composition and Indices of Cardiometabolic Health and Systemic Inflammation in Older Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Jul 23;10(7). pii: E946. doi: 10.3390/nu10070946. PubMed PMID: 30041437; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6073477.
  5. Sayer RD, Peters JC, Pan Z, Wyatt HR, Hill JO. Hunger, Food Cravings, and Diet Satisfaction are Related to Changes in Body Weight During a 6-Month Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention: The Beef WISE Study. Nutrients. 2018 May 31;10(6). pii: E700. doi: 10.3390/nu10060700.
  6. Speaker KJ, Sayer RD, Peters JC, Foley HN, Pan Z, et al. Effects of consuming a high‐protein diet with or without soy protein during weight loss and maintenance: a non‐inferiority, randomized clinical efficacy trial. Obesity science & practice. 2018 May 12.
  7. Sayer RD, Hill JO. Obesity. Sbraccia P, Finer N, editors. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2018. Chapter 13, Exercise in the Treatment of Obesity.
  8. Sayer RD, Dhillon J, Tamer GG, Cornier M-A, Chen N, Wright AJ, Campbell WW, Mattes RD. Consuming Almonds vs. Isoenergetic Baked Food Does Not Differentially Influence Postprandial Appetite or Neural Reward Responses to Visual Food Stimuli. Nutrients. 2017;9.
  9. Sayer RD, Speaker KJ, Pan Z, Peters JC, Wyatt HR, Hill JO. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: beef's role in weight improvement, satisfaction and energy. Obes Sci Pract. 2017 Jul 11;3(3):298-310. doi: 10.1002/osp4.118.
  10. Amankwaah AF, Sayer RD, Wright AJ, Chen N, McCrory MA, Campbell WW. Effects of higher dietary protein and fiber intakes at breakfast on postprandial glucose, insulin, and 24-hour interstitial glucose in overweight adults. Nutrients. 2017 Apr 2;9(4).
  11. Sayer RD, Tamer GG Jr., Chen N, Tregellas JR, Cornier MA, Kareken DA, Talavage TM, McCrory MA, Campbell WW. Reproducibility assessment of brain responses to visual food stimuli in adults with overweight and obesity. Obes Silver Spring Md. 2016;24:2057–63.
  12. Sayer RD, Amankwaah AF, Tamer GG, Chen N, Wright AJ, Tregellas JR, Cornier M-A, Kareken DA, Talavage TM, McCrory MA, et al. Effects of Dietary Protein and Fiber at Breakfast on Appetite, ad Libitum Energy Intake at Lunch, and Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli in Overweight Adults. Nutrients. 2016;8.
  13. Sayer RD, Chen R, Wright AJ, Campbell WW. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet retains effectiveness to reduce blood pressure when lean pork is substituted for chicken and fish as the predominant source of protein. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(2): 302-8.