Emerging Food Trends — Cockroach Milk!

Because the Underground Health Reporter always wants to keep you at the forefront of breaking health news, we’re dedicating today’s post to cockroach milk, quite possibly poised to be the next new trend in milk. Researchers believe that this bug milk may just be the next superfood!

Cockroach Milk Basics 

Macro of a pacific beetle cockroach nymph.

Scientists have been studying the milk of a very unique variety of beetle called the Pacific beetle cockroach, indigenous to Hawaii. The Pacific beetle is the only type of cockroach that births its babies live versus laying eggs. To feed its babies, the cockroach produces a milk-like liquid that converts to protein crystals inside the embryo sac. For reference, insulin also transforms in the body into a crystal shape, which is easier for the body to store. These cockroach protein crystals are a complete source of food, packed with essential amino acids, fat, and sugar.

To get an idea of just how protein-packed cockroach milk is, let’s compare it to the top-ranked milks. Buffalo milk is considered the most energy-filled milk. Well, not anymore. Cockroach milk contains three times the amount of energy as the same mass of buffalo milk. And it has four times as much energy as the same mass of cow’s milk.

University of Iowa scientist Barbara Stay only recently discovered that cockroach milk transformed into crystal form. A team of international researchers extracted a crystal from the cockroach embryo, and conducted a series of tests, such as genome sequencing, to determine its nutritional profile. Essential amino acids in cockroach milk help promote cell growth, while fats and sugars help provide energy, which makes sense considering the offspring of the Pacific beetle cockroach grow much bigger than other species of cockroaches do.

When Can I Try It?

Not for a while, as extracting cockroach milk one beetle at a time is far too labor intensive and won’t feed the masses. Scientists are currently testing a method using bioengineered yeast to produce these crystals in large quantities. While researchers think it should be benign in theory, there is no proof that cockroach milk is safe for human consumption. Stay tuned!