Eat Your Breakfast to Have a Son

This is interesting. Confirmation of something which has been seen in other species but not (at least as far as I know) in humans.

The first evidence that women can influence the sex of their child by what they eat before they become pregnant is published today.

The study, which links higher energy intake around conception to the birth of sons, provides the first explanation of why the number of boy babies is in decline in the west, suggesting it is the result of women consuming low fat foods and skipping breakfast, among other things.

In times of plenty, more sons are born, in hard times, more daughters. The reason is:

The work complements studies of other animals that shows that more sons are produced when a mother has plentiful resources or is high ranking, reflecting how boys are more taxing to raise.

"Boys breast feed for longer and for more," she says. "There is evidence from traditional societies that mothers invest more time in bringing up boys. And 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."

The phenomenon, where lean times are linked with daughters, has been most extensively studied in insects, but is also seen in horses, cows and some species of deer.

Dr Mathews adds: "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.

Females, on the other hand, reproduce more consistently. The mechanism is not yet understood in mammals, but it is known from IVF research that high glucose levels encourage the development of male embryos while inhibiting female embryos. In humans, skipping breakfast depresses glucose levels and so may be interpreted by the body as indicating poor environmental conditions and low food availability.

If you\’re going to raise a scrawny son because of the shortage of resources, said son is unlikely to breed, a scrawny daughter is more likely to breed than a scrawny son.

No, I\’m not a scientist, most certainly not a biologist, but I would assume that the sex selection takes place at implanation or not of the blasotocyst (if that\’s the correct word?).

 

 

9 thoughts on “Eat Your Breakfast to Have a Son”

  1. No, I’m not a scientist, most certainly not a biologist, but I would assume that the sex selection takes place at implanation or not of the blasotocyst (if that’s the correct word?).

    Primarily, also through spontaneous miscarriage in the early part of the pregnancy.

  2. The idea that wealthy people have more boys has been around for ever. The first time I read about it was when somebody remarked that Bill Clinton was the first President in ages whose first child was a girl. And the observation is probably much older than that, and is almost certainly true (from observation and logic).

    The idea that women can choose the sex of their child via diet is ages old as well. A friend told me a quarter of a century ago that as she wanted girls she ate lots of [whatever it is that you have to eat to get girls] and she did and lo-and-behold she had two girls. That this diet was probably a ‘poor woman’s diet’ is by-the-by.

  3. The Japanese took this one stage further in times of famine daughters were murdered to improve the survival chances of their sons. Since McDonalds opened in Tokyo this practice is less common;)

  4. Male and female sperm are different too: XY are fast and short-lived; XX slower and longer lived. Maybe the environment on the way to the egg varies in PH or whatever, depending on what the woman eats?

  5. I forgot: HJ

    There’s a German saying, that guarding a teenage daughter is like guarding a sackful of fleas.

  6. No really connected, but In Israel in 1974, the birth rate rose 80% and the proportion of boys rose measurably. In October 1973 6,000 Israeli boys had died in the Yom Kippour War. Israeli mothers set about replacing them and succeeded. Don’t think they increased their calorie intake though – they eat loads anyway.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Kit – “The Japanese took this one stage further in times of famine daughters were murdered to improve the survival chances of their sons. Since McDonalds opened in Tokyo this practice is less common;)”

    It is traditional all over the world. Some times it is done openly, more usually it is done less openly. It is traditional in many places for the males to eat first and the women to eat later in private. You find this across Eurasia among peasants from Lebanon to Korea. Of course in times of famine, the food goes on the table – the women get what is left over. Daughters get the least of all, become weaker and hence are more likely to get sick and die first.

    I am not sure it is wise – a daughter is guaranteed a child while a son is not. On the other hand, a son can work in the fields while a daughter marries out. It is a product of patriarchy, not of biology.

  8. In this modern era. We should no longer be worried with the sex of a child. A girl can be as resourceful as a boy. And if you are not happy with what you’ve got, then your next option is to adopt a child afterall, there alot of kids out there that need love and family.

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