STRANGE POLITICS: Potential new fad is off with the roaches

Fancy a glass of cockroach milk?
Fancy a glass of cockroach milk? FelixRenaud

GOD, if you are listening, please let me watch a TV special featuring paleo chef Pete Evans sweating over a magnifying glass as he gently caresses a tiny set of roach udders with a pair of fine-point tweezers.

The My Kitchen Rules judge and oft-lambasted champion of eating like a caveman has been spouting off questionable claims again, this time claiming sunscreen is poisonous while his wife Nicola Robinson extols the virtues of homemade, fluoride-free toothpaste.

The bloke seems to thrive on controversy, possibly because each time his views are criticised it translates into a spike in sales to the hordes of gullible slaves to quirky diet trends.

That is not to say everything Evans espouses is dangerous, or even wrong.

In a nation plagued by obesity, getting people at least thinking about what they put in their mouths is a good thing.

But when you stop to consider some of this dietary guru's troglodytical suggestions, it becomes clear they are based on very little factual evidence.

Take his veto on sunscreen, for example. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has investigated the vague idea that "nanoparticles" in sunscreen might be harmful, and decided there was nothing to worry about. But just going out with un-lathered skin?

One look at the scarred-up battlefield on my father's schnoz (it is barely noticeable now, Dad) is evidence enough for me that sunscreen, proven time and time again to prevent melanomas and basal cell carcinomas, is worthwhile.

Using Surfmud instead - whose website states "we can't make any claims about its sunscreen efficacy or water resistance" - could be a dangerous thing to promote to 1.53million Facebook fans. Perhaps worse was his recipe for a substitute baby formula made from livers and bone broth.

"In my view, there's a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead," Public Health Association of Australia president Professor Heather Yeatman said of the recipe.

Evans also recommends shunning most dairy products, because "most people don't retain the ability to digest milk after infancy".

Well, scientists may have just found a suitably bizarre substitute for Evans to champion. Cockroach milk. Yep, something all those fickle fad-chasing lifestyle bloggers can really sink their fangs into.

Although most cockroaches don't actually produce milk, Diploptera punctata, which may be the only cockroach to give birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of "milk" containing protein crystals to feed its babies, according to a study published in scientific journal IUCrJ.

Just a single protein crystal from these critters apparently produces three times the energy of an equivalent serving of buffalo milk.

Scientists hope to make the food more palatable by synthesising the milk protein crystals, so slaving over a thousand of these Pacific beetle cockroaches' non-existent nipples could one day be as unnecessary as, say, sunscreen. But still, that is one My Kitchen Rules special I might actually watch.

Topics:  chris calcino pete evans strange politics

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