Today’s topic is a little disgusting … sorry, but I crossed it out because my writing colleagues are asking me for my opinion on cockroach milk, as they heard it could be a high protein superfood.
They blew me up, cockroaches! milk! It can’t be, but I research and find that there is indeed a type of cockroach that produces a crystalline substance that they call “cockroach milk”.
What is cockroach milk?
Cockroach milk is a protein-rich crystalline substance produced by the cockroach as a food source for its young. Although highly nutritious, it is difficult to mass produce it.
The peculiarity of this species is that females are viviparous, which means that they do not reproduce with eggs, they give birth to small cockroaches. And in order to feed the young, they produce a nutrient, crystalline and with a composition similar to milk, very rich in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which provides 9 essential amino acids.
Nutritional composition of cockroach milk
According to laboratory analysis in 1977, cockroach milk consists of:
- 45% protein
- 25% carbohydrates
- 16-22% fat (lipids)
- 5% amino acids
It is also a good source of other nutrients such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and short and medium chain fatty acids.
Another study published in 2016 in the journal IUCrJ concluded that the cockroach is a unique way of storing food for the development of embryos, which allows them to access a constant supply of complete nutrients, with a very heterogeneous type of crystalline protein. But they never talked about cockroach milk or commercializing it for humans. It came later.
The next study I find published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Sciences (EXCLI) in 2018 with a promising title: Highlight Report: Diploptera functata (cockroach) milk as the next superfood.
In this study, the authors analyze the protein content of cockroach milk and find that it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
And comparing the energy value per 100 g of “milk” protein between this product and other types of milk, they found that cockroach milk is a product with a high energy value, 232 kcal / 100 g and a high protein content (37%). as seen in the authors’ graph:
One glass of cockroach milk contains more than 3 times the energy equivalent of cow’s milk, buffalo milk and breast milk.
In another study
Comparison of energy value per 100 g of protein from “cockroach milk” with other types of milk
Will cockroach milk be food for the future?
Given this data, and since insects seem to be the food of the future, is cockroach milk possible? Well, no, because this substance is neither milk nor milk.
According to another study, collecting cockroach milk is a very time consuming and uneconomical process. This includes killing the female roach and her cubs as soon as they are born and begin feeding on this nutrient to collect crystals from their intestines.
According to another article, it would take over 1000 cockroaches to be killed to produce 100 grams of milk.
In addition, there is no research showing cockroach milk is safe for human consumption, nor has it been consumed by any exotic culture accustomed to eating insects such as gourmet foods .
If you add to that that this is a very difficult product to consume, as in order to get a 250 ml glass of milk, you have to kill over 2000 cockroaches and their young … because there is no point in walking around this.
And finally, how will this product be sold? I don’t think there are many cockroach-loving people in the world …
Already it seems rather exotic and unattractive to eat insects such as locusts or ants as a source of protein and sustainable food, it is not easy to commercialize milk replacer made from the hated roach. It would take a lot of marketing to sell an expensive and unattractive product.
And hence the title I gave to this thread. Cockroach milk, fool of the month.