Relationship between dietary carbohydrates intake and circulating sex hormone-binding globulin levels in postmenopausal women

J Diabetes. 2018 Jun;10(6):467-477. doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12550. Epub 2017 May 14.


Background: Low circulating levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) have been shown to be a direct and strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hormone-dependent cancers, although the relationship between various aspects of dietary carbohydrates and SHBG levels remains unexplored in population studies.

Methods: Among postmenopausal women with available SHBG measurements at baseline (n = 11 159) in the Women's Health Initiative, a comprehensive assessment was conducted of total dietary carbohydrates, glycemic load (GL), glycemic index (GI), fiber, sugar, and various carbohydrate-abundant foods in relation to circulating SHBG levels using multiple linear regressions adjusting for potential covariates. Linear trend was tested across quartiles of dietary variables. Benjamini and Hochberg's procedure was used to calculate the false discovery rate for multiple comparisons.

Results: Higher dietary GL and GI (both based on total and available carbohydrates) and a higher intake of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with lower circulating SHBG concentrations (all P trend < 0.05; Q -values = 0.04,0.01, 0.07, 0.10, 0.01, and <0.0001, respectively). In contrast, women with a greater intake of dietary fiber tended to have elevated SHBG levels (P trend = 0.01, Q -value = 0.04). There was no significant association between total carbohydrates or other carbohydrate-abundant foods and SHBG concentrations.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that low GL or GI diets with low sugar and high fiber content may be associated with higher serum SHBG concentrations among postmenopausal women. Future studies investigating whether lower GL or GI diets increase SHBG concentrations are warranted.

Keywords: 2型糖尿病; dietary carbohydrates; glycemic index; glycemic load; sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG); type 2 diabetes; 性激素结合球蛋白; 膳食碳水化合物; 血糖指数; 血糖负荷.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin