5 Fast Facts You Need to Know About the Cockroach Milk “Superfood”
Could the secret to the world’s nutritional problems be cockroach milk? According to a new innovation in food science, cockroach milk is a “superfood”.
That’s right: think twice before you kill a cockroach in your cheap apartment. It could be the secret to losing weight and reducing your risk of disease.
That news comes from India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, which recently discovered that cockroach milk may be one of the best superfoods available today.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 fast facts you need to know about this bizarre story.
About the Cockroach Milk Study
India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) recently published the results of a study on the health benefits of cockroach milk.
The study specifically looked at the Pacific beetle cockroach, which is the only cockroach that gives birth to live young. That cockroach feeds its babies by lactating protein-dense crystals – which is the cockroach “milk”.
That milk is rich with valuable nutrients. Just like with cow’s milk or breast milk, it’s loaded with the types of things that make offspring grow up to be strong and healthy. Cockroach milk was found to have four times the nutritional value of cow’s milk and is packed with fats, sugars, and amino acids.
In a statement to the Times of India, lead research Subramanian Ramaswamy specifically praised the food for its time-released nature and its potential use in protein supplements:
“It’s time-released food. They can be a fantastic protein supplement.”
It’s Extremely High in Calories
One of the things that could prevent cockroach milk from being the superfood of the future (aside from the grossness of it all) is its calorie count. Specifically, the milk is very high in calories – so despite its high nutritional value, it may not be that valuable of a superfood.
There’s a reason cockroach milk has so many calories. It contains three times the amount of energy as dairy milk (although it’s still not as calorie-rich as buffalo milk). These calories fuel the cockroach in its early years of rapid growth.
What is Cockroach Milk?
Cockroach milk, as mentioned above, is the milk protein crystal found in the guts of a specific cockroach species, the Pacific beetle cockroach, also known as Diploptera punctata. The species lives along Asia’s Pacific rim.
The crystals are described as a “complete food” by Sanchari Banerjee, another main author of the study:
“…they have proteins, fats, and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids.”
If you’ve ever read a description of a superfood, you’ve probably discovered it reads in a similar way to the cockroach milk description. Many people praise quinoa for having all essential amino acids, for example. Basically, anything with a high nutritional value is called a “superfood” these days.
How to Buy Cockroach Milk Supplements
The first time the world has really heard about cockroach milk is in this study from India. So understandably, there aren’t a lot of cockroach milk supplements currently available anywhere in the world. In fact, there are zero supplements.
Aside from the high calorie count, there is one other major problem that could prevent cockroach supplements from appearing in the future: researchers have not yet determined whether or not the crystals are toxic to humans.
Nevertheless, the researchers in this study claim we could see the milk in protein drinks in the future. They’ve actually designed a yeast system to help them do that.
Cockroach Milk Farms Might Not Be Necessary
When you think of cockroach milk farming, some frightening scenes probably pop into your head. Fortunately for the world, we shouldn’t have to have cockroach milk farms even if the supplements do become popular.
That’s because the research team behind this study has created a yeast system to produce more crystals. This yeast system would produce the crystals used in cockroach milk supplements of the future.
Ultimately, if the supplements do come to market, they’re probably going to be labeled as “protein crystal supplements” and not “cockroach milk supplements.” Who would buy that?