Monday, January 03, 2011

Vegetable diet gives you daughters

If that were true there would be very few males in India, which is a largely vegetarian country. The study reported below is however more complex than that in that it is only one subset of a vegetarian diet that has the alleged effect.

The percentage of girl-births reported is however impressive, despite the small numbers involved. I have however found in my own research that very strong relationsdhips that appeared with a small subject population can wash out entirely when a larger and more representative sample is used.

Assuming that something non-random is going on:

Whether diet was the decisive factor is speculative. Timing of intercourse was also used so no one influence can be singled out.

The fact that the trial does not seem to have been double blind also could have unleashed the powerful forces of suggestion

Also, as these women were all initially strikingly daughterless, there could have been some nutritional deficiency in them that the diet remedied. In that case, the effect could not be expected in normal healthy women

Want to have a daughter? Well, then go on a fruit and vegetable diet, say Dutch scientists. They found that women could increase their chances of giving birth to a girl by consuming food with high levels of calcium and magnesium, such as green vegetables, in the weeks before conception.

Of a group of women who followed a diet drawn up by the researchers, 80 per cent went on to have daughters. By contrast, foods rich in potassium and sodium - such as bananas and potatoes - would be likely to help women who want to have sons, although this has yet to be tested.

The researchers are convinced that following the right diet can help couples increase their chances of choosing the sex of their child, although they don't know the exact role played by other factors such as the timing of conception.

They spent five years working with 172 couples, all of whom wanted to add girls to their families - between them they already had 358 sons and just two daughters.

Each began a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and rice in the nine weeks before they planned to attempt to conceive to increase the levels of calcium and magnesium in their bloodstream.

In addition, they were given daily tablets of the key minerals, had regular blood monitoring and had to learn as accurately as possible their moment of peak fertility each month.

At the end of the trial, out of 32 couples who completed the programme, 26 mothers gave birth to girls and only six had boys.

"People now know that if they do everything we have suggested, their chances of having a girl will improve dramatically," the Daily Mail quoted Annet Noorlander, a biologist with firm Gender Consult, as saying. "This method is experimental, but we have proved it works."

Her company carried out the research with teams from Delft and Maastricht universities.


Female gender pre-selection by maternal diet in combination with timing of sexual intercourse - a prospective study

By A.M. Noorlander et al.


Natural sex selection methods have been applied for several decades, but their use and effectiveness are still a matter of debate among medical professionals. Therefore, we assessed the efficacy of a maternal diet low in sodium and potassium, high in calcium and magnesium, in combination with timing of intercourse well before ovulation as a method to improve the chances of conceiving a girl baby. A total of 172 couples wanting a girl volunteered to participate in the study and the 150 couples that actually started were followed during their treatment and possible pregnancy. Compliance with diet was assessed through mineral analyses of blood. The participants determined timing of intercourse relative to ovulation by ovulation home tests. Based on mineral blood values and on the time interval between intercourse and ovulation, a prediction rule for conceiving a girl was constructed and tested for validity in a new group of 21 couples. In total, 32 women satisfied the conditions of the prediction rule and the observed percentage of female babies in this group was 81%. The conclusion of the study is that a maternal diet together with timing of sexual intercourse and use of a prediction rule will lead to an increased probability of a girl baby. It is important that both diet and timing are followed correctly, which requires of the mother both willpower and meticulousness.


Parents have little influence of what their kids eat

Parents may think they can set a good example for their children by eating a healthy diet themselves, but a new analysis finds that it may not work.

Researchers reviewed 24 studies on parent and child dietary habits, using statistical techniques to combine their results. Their analysis, being published in the February issue of The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found only a weak correlation between what parents and their children eat.

They also found that the association diminished over time — later studies generally showed a weaker connection than earlier ones between child-parent pairs. The authors acknowledge that their conclusions were based on limited data, that only three of the studies were conducted in developing countries, and that methodologies varied.

Still, the researchers, led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins, concluded that parents’ influence was apparently overwhelmed by other factors. Advertising, food supply and availability, the influence of peers, and opportunities to eat outside the home all contribute to making children’s diets very different from that of their parents.


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