What happened
A woman’s diet around the time of conception might help determine the baby’s gender, with high-calorie diets and regular breakfasts increasing the odds of having a boy, according to a British study released in the Royal Society journal Biological Sciences. The study tracked the eating habits of 740 pregnant women in the U.K., and found that 56 percent of women with the highest calorie counts had boys, while just 45 percent of those with the lowest energy intake did. Women who had sons consumed 2,413 calories daily around the time of conception, on average, compared to 2,283 calories a day for women who had girls. (BBC News)

What the commentators said
If this study’s on the mark, said Lewis Smith in the London Times, the recipe for having a boy starts with a big bowl of “Shredded Wheat or cornflakes”—and pile on the sugar. If you have your heart set on a girl, stick to that diet, or just skip breakfast. “The findings, the first direct evidence that what is on the menu can influence gender, suggest that preoccupation with dieting is increasing the proportion of baby girls.”

“Folklore down the millennia has suggested everything from the weather to the ardor of lovemaking and eating shellfish play a role in whether a woman will give birth to a boy or a girl,” said Roger Highfield in the London Telegraph. How interesting to find that some of the “old wives’ tales about what to eat” might be true.

The important thing is not to act on this information, said the Sciencetrack blog. The researchers stressed that “women should be extremely cautious about using diet to influence the sex of their offspring because it can result in several health implications.” If pregnancy is a possibility or goal, the best thing for the health of mother and baby is to stick to a healthy diet.

“As soon as that little test stick yields a plus sign,” said Pregnancy Digest, a healthy diet becomes an important part of ensuring the health of the unborn baby.