Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 1, Issue 5, pp 265–276

Dietary Fat, Fiber, and Carbohydrate Intake and Endogenous Hormone Levels in Premenopausal Women

  • Xiaohui Cui
  • Bernard Rosner
  • Walter C. Willett
  • Susan E. Hankinson


The authors conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the associations of fat, fiber, and carbohydrate intake with endogenous estrogen, androgen, and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) levels among 595 premenopausal women. Overall, no significant associations were found between dietary intake of these macronutrients and plasma sex steroid hormone levels. Dietary fat intake was inversely associated with IGF-I and IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) levels. When substituting 5% of energy from total fat for the equivalent amount of energy from carbohydrate or protein intake, the plasma levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were 2.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3, 5.3) and 1.6% (95% CI 0.4, 2.8) lower, respectively. Animal fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat intakes also were inversely associated with IGFBP-3 levels (P < 0.05). Carbohydrates were positively associated with plasma IGF-I level. When substituting 5% of energy from carbohydrates for the equivalent amount of energy from fat or protein intake, the plasma IGF-I level was 2.0% (95% CI 0.1, 3.9%) higher. No independent associations between fiber intake and hormone levels were observed. The results suggest that a low-fat/high-fiber or carbohydrate diet is not associated with endogenous levels of sex steroid hormones, but it may modestly increase IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels among premenopausal women.


Gonadal steroid hormones Insulin-like growth factor I Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 Dietary fats Dietary fiber Dietary carbohydrates 



Body mass index


Confidence interval




DHEA sulfate


Food frequency questionnaire


Insulin-like growth factor


IGF-binding protein


Nurses’ health study


Sex hormone binding globulin

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaohui Cui
    • 1
  • Bernard Rosner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Walter C. Willett
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Susan E. Hankinson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Channing Laboratory, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of NutritionHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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