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Cockroach Milk ... Is It as Gross as You Think?

The latest “superfood” trend isn’t an exotic fruit. And it’s not a mashup of existing foods, like “the cronut.” In fact, the latest food trend is cockroach milk. Cockroach milk is being touted as the latest and greatest in health food. But is it really something you need in your life?

First off cockroach milk isn’t totally milk. It is secreted by a very specific species of cockroach that gives birth to live roaches, rather than eggs. But it’s not milk. It’s more a “milk-like substance.”

The milk-like substance more easily referred to as cockroach milk was first brought to the attention of the masses after researchers in India at Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine discovered that the substance has a high protein and nutrient concentration.

The proponents of cockroach milk are creating products that feature the substance in milk and ice cream. "The crystals are like a complete food — they have proteins, fats, and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," Sanchari Banerjee, one of the main researchers, told The Times of India.

On the other hand, cockroach milk is hard to come by and the insects aren’t super easy to get milk from. Also, there is little information on whether or not the substance is safe for human consumption.

It seems that the first person to milk a cockroach was a researcher at the University of Iowa, named Barbara Stay. She explains that although the resulting substance is healthy, it’s not really feasible to mass produce.

"Goodness me, you wouldn’t want to milk cockroaches," Stay said. "The only way for this to be produced is to introduce the gene into an organism that could make it quickly in a tank."

And despite milking cockroaches over the year, Stay has never tasted the result and says that she is sticking to cow’s milk.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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