Nutritional factors might play a role in regulating serum levels of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), which are associated with some cancers. We examined the associations of nutritional factors with IGF-1 and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3). Serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels and dietary intake were measured in 459 black and 682 white male subjects of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study at the Year 7 (1992-1993) exam. Analysis of covariance and multivariable linear regression were used to assess associations of IGFs with dietary factors by race. IGF-1 was positively associated with magnesium in both black and white men (P = 0.008 and 0.05, respectively). Calcium was positively significantly related to IGF-1 in black men (P = 0.04) and marginally so in white men (P = 0.09). In black men, IGFBP-3 was positively associated with magnesium (P = 0.02), and one serving of milk per day was associated with an 8.23-ng/ml higher IGF-1 concentration (P = 0.05). Tests for interaction, however, revealed no differences between blacks and whites in the associations of nutrients with IGF-1 or IGFBP-3. In conclusion, the associations of dietary factors with serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 observed in our study corroborate those from other studies and generally do not differ between black and white men.