The effect of dietary fiber and fat on serum sex hormones was studied in premenopausal women. After an initial control period during which the diet was high in fat (40% of calories as fat) and low in fiber (12 g/day), the amounts of fat and fiber were varied in the setting of a metabolic kitchen and carefully monitored meals. Forty-eight women completed 58 protocols. When the diet was changed to low-fat (20-25% calories as fat) and high fiber (40 g/day), there were significant decreases in serum concentrations of estrone, estrone sulfate, testosterone, androstenedione, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and near significant decreases in estradiol and free estradiol. When independent effects were examined, high fiber alone caused a decrease in estradiol and SHBG, whereas fat and fiber caused the observed decrease in estrone sulfate. Dietary fat independently influenced the serum concentration of androstenedione. Increased dietary fiber caused a lengthening of the menstrual cycle by 0.72 day and a lengthening of the follicular phase by 0.85 day.