We’ve all become acutely aware of “fake news,” but whereas some news is clearly either made up or based on half-truths, other news may be technically accurate but still leaves you rubbing your forehead with the palms of your hands repeatedly muttering “Why, why, why, why, why?”
For instance, last week, UK news site the Metro ran a headline, “Is giraffe milk the new superfood?” Here’s the “saved you a click” answer to that question: Metro, what on Earth are you talking about?!
First off, yes, some research has shown that giraffe milk may be healthier than cow’s milk. The Metro cites a study from (cough) 1962 that showed that though many vitamin levels in giraffe’s milk were the same as those in cow’s milk, the levels of vitamin A, vitamin B12 and nicotinic acid were all higher in giraffe milk. Meanwhile, giraffe milk is much higher in fat than cow’s milk – 12.5 percent compared to 3.5 percent. All that fat might sound like a turnoff, but recent research has shown that higher levels of dairy fat can also lead to a lower risk of diabetes. Oh, and more good news: In 2008, giraffe milk was determined to be kosher. Mazel tov.
These findings are all very “good,” but are they “super”? I would venture to say no. If you’re looking to get a little bit of extra vitamin B12 in your system, you’re probably better off taking a vitamin supplement over milking a giraffe, because – oh yeah – milking a giraffe is not easy! In fact, the Metro straight up admits, “When it comes to a giraffe, it would be almost impossible to get one to stand still long enough to be milked – let alone enough to set up a profitable business. The giraffes that have been milked have been milked under controlled conditions by scientists.” Yes, one of the biggest things preventing giraffe milk from becoming the next big superfood is that it’s nearly impossible to get your hands on giraffe milk. The Metro couldn’t even find any proof of anyone selling giraffe milk anywhere. You know what else I heard is a superfood? The soil on Halley’s Comet. Good luck chowing down.
So what’s with all this giraffe milk superfood chatter? Well, according to the Metro, “Google searches for ‘Can you milk a giraffe?’ are on the rise.” Again, this fact is true(ish). Google Trends shows that the phrase has hit a peak of a 100 searches this month compared to the previous high of a whopping 81 searches in March 2016. However, this rise in traffic may have little to do with giraffe milk at all. Instead, it may stem from an old Skittles commercial featuring a Jamaican man milking a rainbow-eating giraffe for Skittles. This advert has recently been running on TV again, which could explain the uptick in the bizarre search phrase. Hey, maybe Skittles is the next big superfood? I wonder if they have more Vitamin A than Starbursts?
Meanwhile, forget about giraffe milk. Giraffes have a bigger problem worth discussing. As the Smithsonian pointed out this past December, giraffes have recently been added to the list of threatened species. Maybe instead of pining for their milk, society could start tackling that problem instead.