The world’s most nutritious and calorie-rich food doesn’t come from any mammal. Think much smaller and more legs.
The milk of the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, which actually comes in the form of crystals, is packed with fats, sugars and protein — it could become one of the world’s newest superfoods, reports The Washington Post.
And it doesn’t even taste bad, per say, according to Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India whose friend tried the crystals.
After he’d lost a drinking competition at a party, Ramaswamy’s friend was dared to eat a sprinkle of the cockroach milk crystals.
“He said it doesn’t taste like anything special,” according to Ramaswamy.
Unlike most cockroaches, the Pacific beetle cockroach doesn’t lay eggs. It gives live birth to dozens of babies tucked in fleshy sacs and then produces food to feed them — this is the cockroach milk.
When scientists looked closely at the crystals tucked inside the cockroach embryos, they discovered something fascinating, according to Ramaswamy:
“We didn’t believe these crystals were actually protein crystals.”
Research published in the “International Union of Crystallography, IUCRJ” suggests that cockroach milk is the most nutritious and energy packed substances on the planet, containing three times more energy than what was thought to be the most calorie and protein-rich milk on Earth, which came from buffaloes.
The milk crystals allow the cockroach to grow large in an amazing amount of time. Ramaswamy added:
“It’s a complete food … I could see them in protein drinks.”
Cockroach milk would do well to replace dairy milk, which produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases that come from cows, as well as almond milk, which requires a lot of water to grow the nuts. The only problem would be the fact that it comes from cockroaches, according to Ramaswamy:
“I don’t think anyone is going to like it if you tell them, ‘We extracted crystals from a cockroach and that is going to be food.’”
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) cockroaches can’t be milked like cows since they don’t have nipples and any kind of drink would be produces with bio-engineered yeast, which is already used to produce artificial sweeteners.
Further research will be needed to determine if the cockroach milk is even safe for humans to ingest.
In the meantime, Ramaswamy may continue with his experimentation, adding:
“In the US there is a big thrust that all research has to be translational,” meaning it applies directly to human health. “This was just born out of curiosity.”