If you think skipping breakfast will result in no more than a grumbling gut by mid-morning, think again -- you just might be sacrificing male offspring along with that bowl of Cheerios, according to researchers. A recent study of 740 first-time mothers' diets before and during pregnancy found that a high-calorie diet and regular breakfasts at the time of conception were linked to the birth of boys.
The BBC reports, "The researchers found 56% of women with the highest energy intake around the time of conception had boys, compared to just 45% among women with the lowest energy intake. The average calorie intake for women who had sons was 2,413 a day, compared to 2,283 calories a day for women who had girls." They also found that mothers who gave birth to boys were more likely to have eaten breakfast cereals around the time of conception.
Interestingly enough, in the animal kingdom, more males are born when a mother's food resources are abundant. Dr. Fiona Mathews, the study's lead researcher, explained: "Potentially, males of most species can father more offspring than females, but this can be strongly influenced by the size or social status of the male, with poor quality males failing to breed at all." She continued, "If a mother has plentiful resources then it can make sense to invest in producing a son because he is likely to produce more grandchildren than would a daughter. However, in leaner times having a daughter is a safer bet." It's just that our bodies make no distinction between "leaner times" and starving ourselves to fit into skinny jeans.
Experts warn against depriving yourself of food (or overeating, for that matter) to influence the sex of your child, but, you know, that's probably a good idea regardless of whether you're trying to rig the baby dice.