We have shown previously that mice fed the American Institute of Nutrition (AIN-76A) purified diet experience a significant increase in uterine:body weight (U:BW) ratios when compared to the U:BW ratios of mice fed a closed formula natural ingredient diet (Certified Rodent Chow #5002) for 7 days. The AIN-76A purified diet contains 5% corn oil and 65% carbohydrates with 50% of the carbohydrates coming from sucrose or dextrose and 15% from corn starch. The objective of this study was to determine whether the fat and carbohydrate content contributed to the unexpected uterine growth promoting activity observed in mice fed the AIN-76A diet. Estrogen bioassays were performed using CD-1 mice weaned at 15 days of age and assigned randomly to the negative control diet (Certified Rodent Chow #5002) or to the positive control diet (#5002) containing 4 or 6 ppb DES for comparison or to the test diets. The test diets were prepared by adding sucrose, dextrose, corn starch, corn oil or soybean oil to the #5002 negative control diet at 10% w/w concentration. Uterine:BW ratios were determined at 7 days post-feeding. The uterine weights and the U:BW ratios of mice fed the test diets containing dextrose, corn starch, or corn oil, were increased significantly (P less than 0.05) over those of mice fed the negative control diet. The uterine weights and U:BW ratios of mice fed the test diets containing sucrose or soybean oil also were increased over those of mice fed the negative control diet. These increases in uterine weights and U:BW ratios were similar to the increases in uterine weights and U:BW ratios of mice fed the positive control diet containing 4 ppb DES. It was concluded that the fats and carbohydrates caused preferential increases in uterine weights and in U:BW ratios and may account for the estrogen-like uterine growth promoting activity observed in mice fed the AIN-76A purified diet.