Chris is an academic with an expertise in behavioural nutrition and public health. He is the Host of the Experts in Health podcast, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Co-Lead for Learning & Teaching in the School, and the Co-Chair of the University’s LGBT+ Staff Network.

After completing an undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews in 2012, he ran his own food, fitness and health business in London up to 2016. Chris then came to Loughborough University to complete his MSc in Sport & Exercise Nutrition (2017) and his PhD in eating behaviour (2020). Since then he has been a University Teacher in Psychology, a Research Associate, and a Vice-Chancellor’s Independent Research Fellow (2021-2022), a highly-competitive personal award for early-career academics to establish their own ambitious research agenda and position themselves as future research leaders.

Chris’s research combines his expertise in behavioural science, nutrition, psychology, and physiology to explore how to improve the nutrition of vulnerable populations, such as older adults and children.

Chris’s research expertise is in behavioural nutrition and public health. Specifically, his work aims to improve the nutrition, health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations – such as older adults, and children – by translating behavioural science principles and psychological theory into public-health interventions.

Drawing on his academic backgrounds in behavioural science, nutrition, psychology and physiology, Chris adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling public-health nutrition problems and improving population health. This background also allows him to bring a mixed-methods skillset to research teams, with experience in experimental laboratory research, field studies, online questionnaires, interviews, feasibility trials, and public-health randomised controlled trials.

Selected recent funded research projects

  • SPOONful: exploring the feasibility and acceptability of a Structured Prescription Of Oral Nutritional supplementation for malnourished older adults. Funded by the UKRI (BBSRC/MRC) Food4Years Network (2022-present). Role: Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Prof Marion Hetherington, Dr Jason Thomas, Dr Lewis James.
  • CURTAIN: exploring the Clinical Use of Reminiscence Theatre with older Adults in care to Improve Nutrition. Funded by the Rosetrees Trust and the Stoneygate Trust (2023-present). Role: Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Dr Catherine Rees, Dr David Maidment.
  • Veggie Brek: exploring whether offering vegetables to children at breakfast time increases children’s willingness to eat vegetables for breakfast. Funded by the NIHR Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour, NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, and Loughborough University via CM’s Doctoral Prize Fellowship (2021-present). Role: Joint Primary Investigator. Co-Is: Prof Emma Haycraft, Prof Amanda Daley.

Research, scholarship and impact

Having run his own business before arriving at Loughborough, Chris brings his entrepreneurial expertise to all academic activities. He engages with various external stakeholders to disseminate research and scholarship, and to deliver tangible impact to local, national and international communities.

In 2023, Chris led on the creation of the Experts in Health podcast – a show that highlights latest research and trends in health by welcoming a variety of guests from a host of different disciplines to talk with Chris about their particular field of expertise in the health domain.

His external collaborations and impact work come in the form of workshops, podcasts, articles/blogs, media activity, and resource design. External stakeholders to date include Cambridge University Press and Assessment, Nutricia (Danone), the British Nutrition Foundation, Obesity UK, the Prince’s Teaching Institute, Equality Action, Royal Air Forces Association, the Association of British Insurers, and Everyone Active. He has also worked with Loughborough University colleagues on various projects, such as the Veterans’ Resilience Programme, the development of the Elite Athlete Centre, the Widening Participation Scheme, and via various healthy-eating workshops delivered to different groups across the University.

Chris also co-founded the British Feeding and Drinking Group (BFDG) Early-Career Researcher Network in 2020 and chaired the organising committee for the 2022 BFDG conference. He has also presented at numerous national/international conferences and delivered invited talks at various universities and research groups.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Chris has significant experience and expertise in EDI in Higher Education, delivering meaningful change to marginalised communities, and university structures and processes, over the last eight years. He is currently the Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network at the University, the EDI co-lead for Learning and Teaching Committee in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, and a member of the University’s Anti-Racism Working Group. He has also been a member of the University’s Athena SWAN self-assessment, and a member of his academic School’s HR Advisory Group. His EDI work over the years has received recognition, such as through a Loughborough Experience Award (2018), an Outstanding Contribution Award from Loughborough Students’ Union (2020), an Extra-Mile Award from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (2022), a short-listed position for the Vice-Chancellor’s Award (2022) as well as being part of the LGBT+ team that won a National Societies Award (2017) for welfare and inclusivity work on the Loughborough University East Midlands campus.

Featured publications

  • McLeod, C. J., & Thomas, J. M. (2024). Does social-norm messaging influence expected satiety and ideal portion-size selection? Appetite, 193, 107157. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2023.107157
  • McLeod, C. J., Haycraft, E. H. & Daley, A. J. (2023). Offering vegetables to children at breakfast time in nursery and kindergarten settings: The Veggie Brek feasibility and acceptability cluster randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 20 (38). DOI: 10.1186/s12966-023-01443-z
  • Fenton, J. M., King, J. A., McLeod, C. J., Hoekstra, S. P., Finlayson, G. & Goosey-Tolfrey, V. L. (2023). A comparison of meal-related appetite, food reward and eating behaviour traits in people with and without spinal cord injury. Appetite, 181, 106384. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106384
  • McLeod, C. J., Haycraft, E. & Daley, A. J. (2022). Would offering vegetables to children for breakfast increase their total daily vegetable intake? Public Health Nutrition. 1-11. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980022002002
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J. & Witcomb, G. L. (2022). Portions selected to stave off hunger are reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ food-to-mealtime context: an implication for implicit satiety drivers. Appetite, 178, 106275. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106275
  • McLeod, C. J., Mycock, G. W., Twells, A., James, L. J., Brunstrom, J. M. & Witcomb, G. L. (2022). Current appetite influences relative differences in the expected satiety of foods for momentary, but not hypothetical, expected satiety assessments. Appetite, 178, 106159. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106159
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., Brunstrom, J. M., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). The influence of expected satiety on portion size selection is reduced when food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 147, 104550. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104550
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Eating rate and food intake are reduced when a food is presented in an ‘unusual’ meal context. Appetite, 104799. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104799
  • McLeod, C. J., James, L. J., & Witcomb, G. L. (2020). Food-to-mealtime associations influence food selection in a UK-based sample. Archives of Nutrition and Food Science, 1(1), 15-19. DOI: 10.46439/nutrition.1.004
  • Barutcu, A., Taylor, S. McLeod, C. J., Witcomb, G. L. & James, L. J. (2020). Planned aerobic exercise increases energy intake at the preceding meal. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 52(4), 968-975. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002199