Wellness trends definitely took an eye-opening turn in 2018, as tiger nut milk, broccoli coffee, moon milk, and cockroach milk emerged as some buzz-worthy yet strange health fads.
And although many of those trends have since died down, it seems like cockroach milk is becoming buzzy again in 2019.
If you haven’t lost your appetite yet, and are still a little curious how anything from a cockroach could be actually nutritious, INSIDER spoke to some expert nutritionists and dietitians on the subject to see if the cockroach milk trend is actually the future of protein or just another baseless wellness trend that eventually disappears for good.
From the pros and cons to weird facts, here are some things to know about cockroach milk, a non-traditional, yet impressive, source of protein.
Cockroach milk comes from a specific breed of female cockroaches
According to Frida Harju-Westman, an in-house nutritionist at health app Lifesum, cockroach milk is a protein-rich substance female cockroaches use to feed their young.
And although the milk is said to have many potential benefits due to its rich nutritional content, Harju-Westman said it’s important to note that cockroach milk is only extractable from one type of cockroach – the Pacific beetle cockroach.
Cockroach milk contains protein crystals and amino acids
“Cockroach contains protein crystals which contain a considerable amount of energy, much higher than that found in dairy milk from cows,” said Harju-Westman. The proteins are also packed with a large number of essential amino acids, she said, which are good for muscle repair.
“As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystals in the milk continue to slowly release protein,” added Harju-Westman. This slow absorption rate is known as a ‘time release’ protein, she said, and it ensures a steady stream of nutrients into the body.
Cockroach milk is technically a complete food
“Not only is cockroach milk very high in protein, but it also contains all the essential amino acids – as well as fat and carbohydrates – you need,” said registered nutritionist Tara Allen. “It is technically a complete food.”
Some say cockroach milk has more protein than regular dairy milk
“The reason people are so interested in cockroach milk is that it is a non-dairy milk alternative that is higher in protein than cow’s milk and rich in other nutrients,” said registered nutritionist Jilli.
However, it’s important to note that cockroach milk is also pretty high in fat
“It should be noted that cockroach milk is very high in fat,” Harju-Westman said. And although fats are necessary
“While cockroach milk may sound like a great alternative to traditional dairy milk, it is not yet a viable alternative, as a great number of cockroaches would have to be harvested to obtain a very small glass of the milk,” Harju-Westman told INSIDER.
“Cockroach milk can be purchased in the form of ice cream at the Tokai Earth Fair Market in South Africa,” said nutrition coach Malorie Thompson. Aside from that, she noted that it’s not yet largely available for purchase.
“For those interested in weight loss, cockroach milk will likely not be the best choice as it is very calorically dense,” Allen added. Buffalo milk, she said, contains approximately 235 calories per eight-ounce cup, while cockroach milk comes in around 700 calories for the same amount.
“It’s important to note that insects may be a very valuable source of nutrients in the future, as they provide a sustainable source of protein compared to animal agriculture,” said registered dietitian Sharon Palmer. You will probably be seeing more insect-derived ingredients making their way into products, she added.
“We need to understand a lot more about the science of this food source before we jump to conclusions that this is the next superfood,” suggested Palmer. We need to see studies understanding if it has any nutritional benefits in humans, she concluded.
Source: Business Insider