Please Don't Freak Out, But The Next Superfood May Be Cockroach Milk

Photographed by Nicholas Bloise.
The milk produced by a certain species of cockroach may be four times more nutritious than cow's milk, according to a new study. The cockroach in question is the only type of roach known to give birth to live young (we apologize for that visual) and, in turn, it produces a sort of milk to feed its babies. The study's researchers, of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India, discovered a protein crystal in this stuff that actually contains more energy than the same amount of cow's milk.

"The crystals are like a complete food — they have proteins, fats, and sugars," one of the study's main authors, Sanchari Banerjee, M.Sc, told the Times of India. "They can be a fantastic protein supplement," added Subramanian Ramaswamy, PhD, the leader of the project. Since undernourishment and hunger still plague much of the world, developing a more calorie- and nutrient-dense alternative to milk could be a major improvement to many people's diets.

But if the thought of cockroach milk hitting grocery store shelves one day makes you gag, don't panic just yet — if that ever happens, it'll probably be cockroach-inspired milk. Since it's really the protein crystals present in the roaches' milk that make it so nutritious, researchers can replicate the stuff in a lab instead of developing the tiny technology necessary to milk a bunch of cockroaches.

Until that time comes, just relax and remember that other forms of insect-based protein already exist. Yum.

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