Everything you need to know about 'cockroach milk' — the protein-packed superfood that some can’t wait to get their hands on
- Cockroach milk is a protein-rich substance that female Pacific beetle cockroaches feed their young.
- Many foodies and scientists have become interested in cockroach milk because it contains both protein crystals and amino acids.
- Cockroach milk is technically a complete food according to nutritionists, as it contains all the essential amino acids, fat, and carbohydrates you need.
- However, there isn't enough science to prove that cockroach milk is an adequate dairy-milk alternative for human consumption.
And although many of those trends have since died down, it seems like cockroach milk is becoming buzzy again in 2019.
If you haven't lost your appetite yet, and are still a little curious how anything from a cockroach could be actually nutritious, INSIDER spoke to some expert nutritionists and dietitians on the subject to see if the cockroach milk trend is actually the future of protein or just another baseless wellness trend that eventually disappears for good.
From the pros and cons to weird facts, here are some things to know about cockroach milk, a non-traditional, yet impressive, source of protein.
Cockroach milk comes from a specific breed of female cockroaches
According to Frida Harju-Westman, an in-house nutritionist at health app Lifesum, cockroach milk is a protein-rich substance female cockroaches use to feed their young.
And although the milk is said to have many potential benefits due to its rich nutritional content, Harju-Westman said it's important to note that cockroach milk is only extractable from one type of cockroach - the Pacific beetle cockroach.
Cockroach milk contains protein crystals and amino acids
"Cockroach contains protein crystals which contain a considerable amount of energy, much higher than that found in dairy milk from cows," said Harju-Westman. The proteins are also packed with a large number of essential amino acids, she said, which are good for muscle repair.
"As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystals in the milk continue to slowly release protein," added Harju-Westman. This slow absorption rate is known as a 'time release' protein, she said, and it ensures a steady stream of nutrients into the body.
Cockroach milk is technically a complete food
"Not only is cockroach milk very high in protein, but it also contains all the essential amino acids - as well as fat and carbohydrates - you need," said registered nutritionist Tara Allen. "It is technically a complete food."
Some say cockroach milk has more protein than regular dairy milk"The reason people are so interested in cockroach milk is that it is a non-dairy milk alternative that is higher in protein than cow's milk and rich in other nutrients," said registered nutritionist Jillian Kubala.
However, it's important to note that cockroach milk is also pretty high in fat
"It should be noted that cockroach milk is very high in fat," Harju-Westman said. And although fats are necessary in any diet, she noted that this milk is much more calorific than normal dairy milk.
A lot of cockroaches would have to be harvested to make a small glass of cockroach milk and it would likely be difficult for you to purchase it
"While cockroach milk may sound like a great alternative to traditional dairy milk, it is not yet a viable alternative, as a great number of cockroaches would have to be harvested to obtain a very small glass of the milk," Harju-Westman told INSIDER.
"Cockroach milk can be purchased in the form of ice cream at the Tokai Earth Fair Market in South Africa," said nutrition coach Malorie Thompson. Aside from that, she noted that it's not yet largely available for purchase.
Cockroach milk likely won't help you lose weight
"For those interested in weight loss, cockroach milk will likely not be the best choice as it is very calorically dense," Allen added. Buffalo milk, she said, contains approximately 235 calories per eight-ounce cup, while cockroach milk comes in around 700 calories for the same amount.
Some think that cockroach is the future of protein, b ut the science honestly isn't there yet
"It's important to note that insects may be a very valuable source of nutrients in the future, as they provide a sustainable source of protein compared to animal agriculture," said registered dietitian Sharon Palmer. You will probably be seeing more insect-derived ingredients making their way into products, she added.
"We need to understand a lot more about the science of this food source before we jump to conclusions that this is the next superfood," suggested Palmer. We need to see studies understanding if it has any nutritional benefits in humans, she concluded.
For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.
Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Watch: Here's what goes on behind closed doors when Eskom repairs its boiler tube leaks
- We tested plastic shopping bags from Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, and Woolworths to see which can handle the most weight - they all surprised us
- Watch: A failed South African rocket launch ends with a spectacular bang
- Watch: a professional drifter drives with his feet after losing both of his arms in a motorcycle accident