Scientists Think Cockroach Milk Could Be The Next Superfood, And We Wish We Were Kidding


An international team of scientists sequenced a protein crystal located in the midgut of cockroaches in 2016. The reason?

It's more than four times as nutritious as cow's milk and the researchers think it could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future.

Although most cockroaches don't actually produce milk, Diploptera punctate, which is the only known cockroach to give birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of 'milk' containing protein crystals to feed its babies.

The fact that an insect produces milk is pretty fascinating – but what fascinated researchers is the fact that a single one of these protein crystals contains more than three times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories than regular cow's milk).

Clearly milking a cockroach isn't the most feasible option, so an international team of scientists headed by researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India decided to sequence the genes responsible for producing the milk protein crystals to see if they could somehow replicate them in the lab.

"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," said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India back in 2016.

Not only is the milk a dense source of calories and nutrients, it's also time released.

As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate to continue the digestion.

"It's time-released food," said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project.

"If you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it."

It's important to point out that this dense protein source is definitely never going to be for those trying to lose weight, and probably isn't even required for most western diets, where we are already eating too many calories per day.

But for those who struggle to get the amount of calories required per day, this could be a quick and easy way to get calories and nutrients.

"They're very stable. They can be a fantastic protein supplement," said Ramaswamy.

Now the researchers have the sequence, they are hoping to get yeast to produce the crystal in much larger quantities - making it slightly more efficient (and less gross) than extracting crystals from cockroach's guts.

Who needs kale and quinoa when you have cockroach milk supplements?

…Yeah, we aren't 100 percent convinced either. But if it helps alleviate the food shortages we'll have to deal with this generation, we'll take it.

The research was published in IUCrJ, the journal of the International Union of Crystallography.

Why is America exercising more but gaining weight?

Over the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has increased by more than 10 percent. Ironically, during the same time period, the percentage of U.S. adults that met the federal guidelines for physical activity increased by almost as much.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Diseases Control released their findings from statistics gathered January through September 2017.  This study showed that 31.4 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and above were obese, compared to 19.4 percent in 1997. It also showed the percentage of adults aged 18 and over who met the federal guidelines (as established in 2008) for aerobic activity was around 53% having increased from 1997 when it was just under 45 percent.

What’s the explanation for these trends who seem to be at odds with one another?

“I have found that it takes both exercise and a healthful diet to lose weight,” says Moriah Gramm, clinical dietitian at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

“If individuals are eating foods high in solid fats, added sugars and excess sodium they may find that they aren’t losing any weight because they are filling their bodies with unhealthy calories and only burning off a portion of those calories through physical activity.”

The debate over whether or diet or exercise play a bigger role in weight loss may continue but, for now, it looks like American might need to work harder on its diet in order to reverse the trends in obesity.

Original article by Lynn Hutley http://www.ahchealthenews.com/2018/04/09/america-exercising-gaining-weight/

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