Why cockroach milk is the ultimate ‘superfood’
Forget oat, soy or almond milk… one day, you may be able to enjoy a cockroach milk latte.
Social media lit up on last month when Marie Claire reshared an article first published in August 2016 claiming that cockroach milk was the next big superfood trend.
But how to you go about milking a cockroach? Put the image of a three-legged stool out of your mind, because the “milk” is actually a protein-dense fluid produced by the female Pacific beetle cockroach.
The roach, native to Hawaii, is among the handful of insects which give birth to live young rather than laying eggs, NPR explains.
As the embryos grow inside her, “she feeds them a pale, yellow liquid milk’ from her brood sack”.
Admittedly, it’s not the most mouth-watering prospect. Perhaps The Washington Post’s description can win you over: “Slice open an embryonic roach under a microscope, and the crystals spill out in a shower of nutrient-dense glitter.”
So far, so unappetising. But scientists say the hyper-nutritious fluid is the ultimate superfood.
In fact, “experiments suggest that cockroach milk is among the most nutritious and highly caloric substances on the planet”, the Post reports.
Cockroach milk contains four times as much protein as cow’s milk, says Marie Claire, as well as “essential amino acids that promote cell growth, lipids that keep our bodies healthy, and sugars that fuel energy”.
The difficulty of harvesting cockroach milk means we shouldn’t expect to see it on the shelves. However, researchers are working on ways to replicate the fluid in a lab, which could go some way to overcoming consumers’ in-built aversion.
But one crucial question remains unanswered: what does cockroach milk taste like? The answer is perhaps the least horrifying aspect of the whole concept. According to a biochemist at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India, who took the plunge, the liquid tastes like “nothing”.