Cockroach milk is making waves because of new research published within the International Union of Crystallography’s Journal . Though sounding particularly unsavory, there are some news outlets going as far as to label it a superfood, making it a claim worth investigating .
The cockroach milk itself isn’t made in a fashion remotely resembling cow milk’s. Rather, the current method of harvesting is from the embryos of a cockroach. After digesting fluid that surrounds them within their brood sac, it forms a grouping of crystals for the growing insect to consume. Researchers then harvest the embryos and manually extract them for (as of present) testing. If it were to move into large-scale manufacturing, it would in all likelihood come down to genetically modified yeast producing the compounds.
Through x-ray analysis of the crystalline substance produced, the researchers determined that it was a dense package of proteins. Boasting far higher caloric content than most of its competition as a readily available protein drink, it’s unsurprising that many hope for it to solve our reliance on dairy.
The research has barely made it in, and there’s still much scrutiny as to whether or not they’re toxic. However, most media outlets (at time of publishing) have taken a highly optimistic stance on the subject:
Close inspection of the crystals using X-rays proved otherwise. Experiments suggest that cockroach milk is among the most nutritious and highly caloric substances on the planet, according to research published recently in the journal for the International Union of Crystallography, IUCRJ. Pound-for-pound, cockroach milk crystals contain three times more energy than buffalo milk, according to the analysis by Ramaswamy and his colleagues. Buffaloes, he said, were the previous top contender for producing a protein with the most calories.
With a singular line mentioning their potential for toxicity within the news article, it’s concerning that the label of superfood is already being bounded around. That isn’t to say cautious optimism is not unwarranted, but additional research will be required to know if, let alone when, cockroach milk will become a food item.
For more, check out the original journal paper here, or the optimistic news article by The Star here! Or, to change gears, check out how yoga may assist in clinical outcomes for diabetes, or how acupressure might solve post-cancer fatigue.