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Is cockroach milk again a superfood trend?



Food trends like Cronuts and Coal come and go, but a bizarre "superfood" is back, two years after its first debut: Cockroach Milk

The annoying beetle is actually substance filled with high-energy milk. It's not your typical dairy-free milk alternative like almond milk, but cockroach milk is regaining popularity after coming to the fore in 2016.

In 2016, a research team at the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine founded In India said the "milk" from the Pacific Beetle Cockroach could provide for the next big superfood. These cockroaches have protein-rich crystals that contain lactate to feed their young.

This particular type of cockroach, which is usually found on Pacific islands like Hawaii, gives birth to their babies as opposed to laying eggs. Their "milk" consists of proteinaceous crystals that are reported to have three times the energy of the equivalent mass of normal milk.

"The crystals are like a whole food ̵

1; they have proteins, fats and sugars. You look at the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the main researchers, the Times of India.

Perhaps, now that it's 2018, people are more daring and ready to try this somewhat confusing milk alternative. Some companies are trying to break the trend by selling the bug juice in everything from milk to ice cream, WCBS reports. The South African company Gourmet Grubb sells what they call "entomilk" – a milk derived from sustainably bred insects.

"Think of Entomilk as a sustainable, natural, nutritious, lactose-free, delicious and blameless dairy alternative of the future," the company says on its website. Gourmet Grubb says Entomilk is high in protein and rich in iron, zinc and calcium.

Some scientists and cockroach dairy farmers admit that it can be hard to get people on the bandwagon, but that's not the only street for cockroach milk. In addition to the unattractive name, cockroach milk is hard to find. Cockroaches are not the easiest creatures to milk, NPR reports.

It is also still unclear whether cockroach milk is safe to consume. "We have no proof that it is actually safe for human consumption," said lead author of the study, Subramanian Ramaswamy, in 2016.

Although some companies are now developing the milk alternative, there are many questions to be answered before it is becoming a worldwide trend.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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