Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Start the day with cereal if you want a boy

WOMEN who want sons should start the day with cereal while those hoping for a girl should give it a miss.

The startling recommendation comes from British researchers who found that up to 56 per cent of first-time mothers who got pregnant after eating high-energy breakfasts gave birth to boys.

In contrast, only 45 per cent of women who regularly skipped breakfast or had low-energy meals bore sons.

In their study of 740 British women, who were unaware of the sex of their unborn baby, the group found that other factors such as weight, coffee consumption and smoking had no impact on sex determination.

Team leader Fiona Mathews, a mammalian biologist at Exeter University, said: "Prior to pregnancy, breakfast cereal, but no other (food) item, was strongly associated with infant sex."

But Dr Mathews and her colleagues at Oxford University did find that daily diets rich in potassium, vitamins C, E and B12 and calcium were also associated with the birth of boys.

Writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Dr Mathews's team claimed it had the first clear evidence that an infant's gender was linked to maternal diet.

"What a boon and a blessing for cereal manufacturers," said Roger Short, a reproductive biologist at the University of Melbourne with a particular interest in sex determination.
"It would be extremely surprising if something as simple as just one food was controlling the sex ratio."

Dr Mathews claimed the findings made evolutionary sense and mirrored a similar phenomenon in other animals.

"If a mother has plentiful resources, then it can make sense to invest in producing a male (whose larger size takes more energy to carry to term) because he is likely to produce more grandchildren than a female."


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