Urinary lignan and isoflavonoid excretion were examined in 11 men and 9 women consuming four nine-day controlled experimental diets: basal (vegetable free), carotenoid vegetable (carrot and spinach), cruciferous vegetable (broccoli and cauliflower), and soy (tofu and textured vegetable protein product). Three-day urine collections (Days 7-9) were analyzed for lignans and isoflavonoids with use of isotope-dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Urinary excretion of the lignans enterodiol and enterolactone was higher during the carotenoid and cruciferous vegetable diets than during the basal diet (p = 0.0001), suggesting that these vegetables may provide a source of mammalian lignan precursors. Urinary excretion of the isoflavonoids equol, O-desmethylangolensin, daidzein, and genistein was higher when subjects consumed soy diets than when they consumed the other test diets (p < 0.02). Gender differences in lignan excretion were observed. Men excreted more enterolactone (p = 0.006) and less enterodiol (p = 0.013) than women, implying a gender difference in colonic bacterial metabolism of lignans. There was no effect of gender on isoflavonoid excretion.