Wanna be a mother of a girl? Skip breakfast
Women who skip breakfast around the time of conception are more likely to give birth to girls, a new study by British scientists indicates.
New research by the universities of Exeter and Oxford provides the first evidence that a child's sex is associated with the mother's diet, and higher energy intake is linked to males.
"Women who eat the most are the ones who are most likely to have male babies," said Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter on Wednesday.
"Cereals seem to be one of the key food groups."
"This research may help to explain why in developed countries, where many young women choose to have low-calorie diets, the proportion of boys born is falling," she added.
There has been a small but consistent decline, of about one per 1,000 births annually, in the proportion of boys being born in industrialized countries over the past 40 years.
Although sex is genetically determined by fathers, going without breakfast may be interpreted by the body as signaling low food availability, since it depresses levels of blood sugar, but the exact mechanism is unclear.
"If a mother has plentiful resources then it can make sense to invest in producing a male because he is likely to produce more grandchildren than a female," said Dr Mathews.
The study rules out weight of the women and also long-blamed pollutants and synthetic chemicals as a factor in the change in sex ratios in developed countries.
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