Low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet does not alter pubertal development and hormonal status in adolescents

Acta Paediatr. 2019 Feb;108(2):321-327. doi: 10.1111/apa.14480. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Aim: The aim was to assess the influence of dietary counselling on the pubertal development and hormonal status in healthy adolescents.

Methods: We used a subcohort of 193 healthy boys (52%) and girls (48%) from the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project. Participants were recruited by nurses at the well-baby clinics in Turku Finland in 1990-1992 and randomised into intervention and control groups. Intervention children received low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol dietary counselling initiated at seven months of age. Participants were examined once a year with Tanner staging, anthropometric measurements and serial reproductive hormones from 10 to 19 years of age. In girls, postmenarcheal hormones were not analysed.

Results: Pubertal hormones in boys or girls did not differ between the intervention and control groups. However, we observed slight differences in pubertal progression by Tanner staging and in anthropometric parameters. The intervention boys progressed faster to G4 (p = 0.008), G5 (p = 0.008) and P5 (p = 0.03). The intervention boys were taller than control boys (p = 0.04), while weight and body mass index did not differ.

Conclusion: Dietary intervention did not affect pubertal hormonal status. This finding supports the safety of implemented counselling in respect to puberty.

Keywords: Dietary counselling; Low-cholesterol diet; Low-saturated-fat diet; Puberty; Sex hormones.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Puberty*
  • Young Adult


  • Hormones
  • Cholesterol