Cockroach milk is the latest weird superfood trend

Cockroach milk is the latest weird superfood trend

Forget soya, coconut or even good old-fashioned cow's milk. Health experts are now singing the praises of milk that's come from a very unlikely (and distinctly non-mammalian) source: cockroaches. That's right, you read that correctly. Nutritionists claim that a rare milk crystal, which is excreted by the creepy-crawlies, contains incredible health benefits. Needless to say, the news has got superfood enthusiasts very excited.

Research from a study, headed by biochemist Subramanian Ramaswamy, concluded that a certain substance produced by the diploptera punctata, or Pacific Beetle species of cockroach, can be beneficial to human beings, due to the presence of certain protein crystals in the milk the insect uses to feed her young ones. This Hawaiian roach doesn't lay eggs, but instead feeds the embryos a pale, yellow milk-like substance from the brood sac.

Unfortunately for health nuts, the actual process of obtaining this milk is extremely difficult. Scientists have to slice the roach's midgut, and then extract the minuscule supply of milk from its sac. Because the milk comes in such small supplies, millions of cockroaches will have to be farmed to harvest the stuff, which will then likely be packaged in pill form.

A large cockroach.          Credit: Getty

Ramaswamy's study, which was published in the Journal of the International Union of Crystallography, determined that cockroach milk contains protein crystals, and is filled with a number of essential amino acids which are required for cellular growth. Not only that, but the milk is also glycosylated, so the surface of its proteins are coated with sugar and it can provide a serious energy boost, but without the health drawbacks of artificial sugars. Cockroach milk is also rich in lipids, and once researchers have learned how to feasibly harvest and package it, we might expect to see it in the health food aisle of supermarkets.

However, even Ramaswamy himself is somewhat sceptical as to whether it will take off, stating "I don’t think anyone is going to like it if you tell them, ‘We extracted crystals from a cockroach and that is going to be food,'" so maybe we should just stick to more conventional dairy for now.