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Horm Cancer. 2010 Oct;1(5):265-76. doi: 10.1007/s12672-010-0050-6.

Dietary fat, fiber, and carbohydrate intake and endogenous hormone levels in premenopausal women.

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Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


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.

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