Effects of Pecan Nut Snacks v Equicaloric Snacks on Appetite Food Intake Metabolism Hormones and Biomarkers

  • End date
    Dec 8, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Colorado, Denver
Updated on 8 December 2021
Accepts healthy volunteers


This is a within-subjects crossover study that examines subjective appetite, food intake, hormone and metabolic responses to consumption of mid morning snacks of pecan nuts as compared to an iso-caloric amount of tortilla chips. Pecans are high in fat and calories and low in carbohydrate by weight, while tortilla chips are mostly carbohydrate and essentially devoid of fat. These two very different nutrient profiles should elicit different metabolic and biomarker responses. The study aims to determine whether these treatments also elicit different subjective appetite and food intake responses. Participants will be healthy volunteers with overweight and obesity, a population that may be seeking healthy snacking options that are satisfying and satiating.


This is a randomized, two condition, crossover study in healthy individuals with overweight and obesity examining the effect of a mid-morning snack of pecans vs. a low fat savory snack on appetite, energy expenditure, blood biomarkers of appetite and metabolism and ad libitum food intake at lunch. Twenty-four participants will be enrolled and studied on two test days with at least one week washout in between. On test days, participants will have baseline measures of appetite (by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)), blood hormones and substrates, and energy expenditure and fuel oxidation (Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), by indirect calorimetry) taken just prior to consuming a standardized 300 kcal breakfast. VAS measures will be taken at 20, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min following the meal and RMR will be measured for 20 min after eating. A mid-morning snack of either 250 kcal of pecans or lightly salted tortilla chips will be consumed and VAS and blood measures will be taken at 20, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min following the snack and RMR will be measured for 20 min after eating. Participants will be given an ad libitum lunch meal and VAS and blood measures will be taken at 20, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min following the lunch and RMR will be measured for 20 min after eating. Blood will be analyzed for glucose, insulin, free fatty acids, triglycerides, ghrelin, leptin, PYY, and GLP-1. Two hypotheses will be examined: 1. pecans will provoke greater feelings of fullness and reduced hunger after the snack and lunch meal consumption (on either a calorie per calorie or volume basis) as compared to the tortilla chip snack, and 2. the pecan snack will provoke greater responses of satiety hormones compared to tortilla chips. Post-snack and lunch energy expenditure and fat oxidation will also be compared between treatments as an exploratory aim.

Condition Overweight and Obesity
Treatment Pecan snack, Pretzel snack, Tortilla chip snack
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04484974
SponsorUniversity of Colorado, Denver
Last Modified on8 December 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

35 adult men and women
all ethnic groups
ages 20-50
BMI 27-35
habitually eat breakfast
willing to eat the test snacks and other foods offered
weight stable for the last 6 months
willing to consent and adhere to the test procedures and schedule

Exclusion Criteria

nut allergies
uncontrolled thyroid disorders
diabetes mellitus
eating disorders
pregnant, or planning to become pregnant during the study
uncontrolled hypertension
active dieting
intensive physical activity training regimen (>300 min/wk exercise)
medical history or current medication that may affect study outcomes per study PI discretion
consuming pecans on a regular basis
unable to lie still with a clear hood over their head for the measurement of energy expenditure
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