6 food trends not for the faint of heart

August 22, 2018 Providence Health Team

Cockroach crystals may be the next superfood.

Caterpillars have more protein than flank steak.

Eating placenta postpartum could transfer pathogens to a breastfed baby.

If you’ve ever watched Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, then you know some people will try just about anything at least once. Bamboo rat, anyone? When it comes to maintaining dietary health and well-being, foodies, fanatics, midwives, and dieticians have also considered unique delicacies that raise more than a few eyebrows.

6 weird food trends you may not believe
While they’re chock full of minerals and nutrients, these strange food trends aren’t for everyone — and some may not be for anyone:

Cockroach milk
Cockroaches, specifically Pacific beetles, have emerged once again as a possible alternative to milk. Their ‘milk’ contains protein-infused crystals that have about three times as much energy as regular cow’s milk. In fact, a research team at the Institute for Stem Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India believes this ‘milk’ could be the next great superfood. However, science cannot yet confirm whether cockroach crystals are toxic to humans. So for now, this one’s a hard pass.

Placenta
Placenta eating, or human placentophagy, was popular in the 1970s and has experienced a small revival in Western cultures thanks to A-list celebrities like January Jones and Mayim Bialik. Many believe eating their placenta after birth may help ward off postpartum depression, increase energy and improve breast milk supply. The placenta can be eaten raw, prepared as part of your favorite dish, shake or pâté. It can also be dehydrated, ground into a fine powder and put into a pill capsule. However, the Centers for Disease Control reports there is no scientific evidence that placentas offer any post-partum health benefits and advise against it. Moreover, if a baby is born with an infection, consuming the placenta may re-infect the baby.

Butter coffee
While you're spreading a little butter on your morning toast, some folks are adding a dollop to their cup of joe. Butter coffee, also known as bulletproof coffee, is recommended once a day and only as a part of a keto diet to help boost your energy level. Butter coffee is made with grass-fed butter and oil that contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT); these fatty acids are quickly converted into ketones and used for energy while following the keto diet. Butter and coffee-lovers beware: adding a bit of buttery goodness to your cup may increase your cholesterol and add weight to the scale if you are not following a strict keto diet. 

Soylent
Soylent is a liquid meal replacement product designed to be a sole source of nutrition for healthy adults. The Food and Drug Administration classifies it as a food product, so it’s not just your average nutritional supplement. The appeal for overworked office folk is that Soylent is a convenient way to eat. It takes away all of the cooking and cleaning involved with preparing meals. Not only is it touted as a great option for healthy adults looking to lose a few pounds, sipping your meals also produces less environmental waste. Keep in mind what you’re giving up is what most people find appealing about food: delicious aromas, savory flavors and yes, chewing. Soylent is often described as bland or bread-like with a bit of sweetness.

Insects
Approximately two billion people worldwide eat insects as part of their regular diet. Why? Insects are nutrient-rich alternatives to other sources of protein like chicken, beef or fish. In fact, a three-ounce portion of dried caterpillars supplies more than 50 grams of protein. That’s about two times more protein than an equal serving of lean flank steak. Mass-producing bugs for human consumption also requires fewer resources like feed, water, and land while also generating fewer greenhouse gasses. 

Bone broth
This not-so-tasty liquid made from boiled animal bones and connective tissue is thinner and much less salty than your average chicken broth. Some may even consider it bland. Despite this, many people are swapping out their green vegetable juice for bone broth to reap its touted health benefits. Bone broth is a good source of essential and inessential amino acids, which help provide your body with the nutrients it needs most. However medical professionals have said you will benefit at least as much from eating the actual foods that contain the minerals and nutrients your body needs, rather than sipping bone broth soup.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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