What's the deal with "cockroach milk," and is it really an amazing new superfood?
At this point, we’re all used to hearing about strange new food trends that have taken the health and wellness community by storm. Usually these options seem kind of out there, but harmless at the same time: plant-based meats, sorghum, and charcoal water. But right now, there’s an emerging new health trend that has people feeling more than a little freaked out. It’s cockroach milk. Seriously. As gross as it sounds, it’s hard not to wonder about what exactly cockroach milk is, and if it’s really an amazing superfood worth trying.
Cockroach milk is exactly what it sounds like: milk from cockroaches. It’s another non-dairy milk option, similar to almond milk or oat milk — it’s just that this one comes from bugs, not a harmless nut or grain.
As it turns out, yes, it really is that good for you. While it’s unclear if cockroach milk will actually become a *thing,* it definitely should because it’s full of health benefits. A 2016 study found that cockroach milk isn’t only sustainable, it’s also a whole lot more nutritious than dairy milk. Cockroach milk is full of protein. Sanchari Banerjee, one of the main researchers from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India, said that the milk has “proteins, fats, and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids.” It can supposedly give you three times the amount of energy that the most nutritious dairy milk can give you.
According to The Guardian, cockroach milk tastes similar to cow’s milk.
Don’t assume you can get this out of any old cockroach you find walking around — this milk can only come from a very specific species of cockroach found in Hawaii. Instead of laying eggs, they give birth to live young and produce a crystalline milk to feed the embryos. That milk can be good for us, too (it’s just that extracting it is difficult and tedious). Some say that since the cockroaches die in the process, it’s not a great idea. Still, others say it’s a better process than the farming of dairy cows. That includes the company Gourmet Grubb, which sells bug milk ice cream.
As horrible as all this seems, it might be a concept you’ll have to get used to. Using bugs for our nutrition needs is becoming more popular as scientists realize that the meat industry is having a seriously negative impact on the earth, and that eating bugs is a more nutritious and sustainable way of life.
Still, cockroach milk seems, um, a little too far at this point in time. Maybe it has a better chance in the future?