A randomised crossover dietary intervention study was performed to evaluate the effects of replacing meat protein in the diet with a soyabean product, tofu, on blood concentrations of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstanediol glucuronide, oestradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and the free androgen index (total testosterone concentration/SHBG concentration x 100; FAI). Forty-two healthy adult males aged 35-62 years were studied. Diets were isoenergetic, with either 150 g lean meat or 290 g tofu daily providing an equivalent amount of macronutrients, with only the source of protein differing between the two diets. Each diet lasted for 4 weeks, with a 2-week interval between interventions. Fasting blood samples were taken between 07.00 and 09.30 hours. Urinary excretion of genistein and daidzein was significantly higher after the tofu diet (P < 0.001). Blood concentrations of sex hormones did not differ after the two diets, but the mean testosterone:oestradiol value was 10% higher (P = 0.06) after the meat diet. SHBG was 3% higher (P = 0.07), whereas the FAI was 7% lower (P = 0.06), after the tofu diet compared with the meat diet. There was a significant correlation between the difference in SHBG and testosterone:oestradiol and weight change. Adjusting for weight change revealed SHBG to be 8.8% higher on the tofu diet (mean difference 3 (95% CI 0.7, 5.2) nmol/l; P = 0.01) and testosterone:oestradiol to be significantly lower, P = 0.049). Thus, replacement of meat protein with soyabean protein, as tofu, may have a minor effect on biologically-active sex hormones, which could influence prostate cancer risk. However, other factors or mechanisms may also be responsible for the different incidence rates in men on different diets.