Can what a mother-to-be eats influence the sex of her unborn baby? Maybe, says new research.
In a study of mice, scientists found that rodents with low blood-sugar levels — an indication of a sugar-rich diet — produce more female offspring, according to a report from the U.K.'s Daily Mail.
For the study, researchers gave 20 female mice a steroid called dexamethasone, which kept their blood-sugar levels low.
The sex of their litters was then compared with that of 20 mice on a regular diet.
Those eating normally produced offspring that were 53 percent male. But those on the steroid produced litters that were only 41 percent male.
Researchers, including Elissa Cameron of University of Pretoria in South Africa and published in the journal Proceeds of the Royal Society B, concluded that a diet that is high in sugary snacks may lead to more female offspring, in mice that is. Cameron said the results may translate to humans, but more research is needed.
Another researcher told New Scientist that research she has conducted also showed that diet can influence sex.
“It does seem that sugar levels could act as an indicator of whether a mother is in a good state or bad state,” said Ruth Mace at the University College London. Mace previously published a study that found mothers with more muscle mass are more likely to give birth to sons during food shortages.