Hope you’ve got a strong stomach. A new study has revealed that cockroach milk may be four times more nutritious than cow’s milk, and it could just be the next superfood.

Not just any cockroach milk, mind you. That’d be totally gross, obviously.

No, we’re talking about a specific species of roach, diploptera punctate, which is the only type of roach known to give birth to live young.

That’s a much better visual, right?

In order to feed its young, diploptera punctate produces a sort of milk, and researchers at the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India reckon there’s a protein crystal in there that contains more energy than you’d find in an equivalent amount of cow’s milk.

“The crystals are like a complete food — they have proteins, fats, and sugars,” one of the study’s authors, Sanchari Banerjee, M.Sc, told the Times of India. “If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids.”

“They can be a fantastic protein supplement,” insisted the study’s main author, Subramanian Ramaswamy, PhD, who explained that the crystalline nature of the protein gives it a unique advantage.

“It’s time-released food,” Ramaswamy said. “If you need food that is calorifically high, that is time-released and food that is complete, this is it.”

The study, published in the International Union of Crystallography’s journal, also involved scientists from the US, Japan, India, Canada and France.

It’s natural for us to resist the idea of drinking cockroach milk — because it is, again, cockroach milk — but it’s worth considering what the discovery of a more nutrient-dense alternative to cow’s milk could mean to parts of the world where hunger and undernourishment are endemic.

It’s also worth noting that if this milk ever finds its way to supermarket shelves, we won’t be drinking literal cockroach milk.

Now that scientists have access to the gene sequence for the cockroach milk protein, they’ll be able to use a yeast system to produce them en masse.

In other words, you won’t be drinking actual cockroach milk, but a substance that has been concocted in a lab to simulate cockroach milk. Which is obviously much better.

Would you drink cockroach milk? Have your say in the comments below! 

[Via Refinery 29]