We've known for some time that there's a lot of proof in the pudding when it comes to eating insects. Distant cultures have long embraced their wiggly little friends to now consider them a vital link in their balanced diet. So why should you consider chowing down on some creepy crawlies?
Ok, we don't expect you to head into the garden and rummage around for woodlice and worms. Insect nutrition comes in a variety of subtle and more discreet forms nowadays which helps get you over the initial 'eww' factor.
There are over 1,900 edible bugs in the world and certain species are only good for consumption at different stages of their life cycle. Here's a few reasons why eating insects should be given another thought.
- Bees, Wasps and Ants
- Bees, Wasps and Ants
- Grasshoppers, Locusts, and Crickets
- Cicadas, Leafhoppers, Planthoppers, Scale Insects and True Bugs
Rich in protein
Protein is a vital building block in training. It helps feed, refuel and replenish our muscles so they can grow healthy and strong. While many of us turn to protein supplements, meat and foods like eggs for our fix, insects are packed full of essential protein in a higher concentrate.
For example, caterpillars contain 280g of protein per 1 kg. That’s 20g more than salmon, 30g more than pork, and 263g more than tofu.
It requires a whole lot less feed to cultivate insects than it does to produce the same amount of beef, pork or chicken. Insects are cold-blooded animals, so they don't require as much energy to keep them warm, and insect feed is far cheaper to produce too.
For example, it takes 10kg to produce 1kg of beef, only half of which can actually be eaten. On the other hand, 10kg of feed will produce 9kg of insects of which over 95% can be eaten!
Not only are insects cheaper to farm and produce, but they also require far less space than farms and companies who produce more common protein alternatives. Without the new of so much space, there's much less impact on the environment.
As creatures themselves, they produce very little CO2 emissions also. For example, crickets only produce 2g of CO2 per 1kg, whereas cattle produce 2850g of CO2 per 1kg.
If we all made the conscious effort to switch from chicken and beef to beetles and crickets, there would be a reduction in the land space needed for farming animals. The land that is freed up could be used for development to sustain the ever growing population.
Because insects like crickets, beetles and termites can be cultivated in such high volumes with fairly low input, the cost of consuming insects as part of a regular diet is not only healthy, but considerable cheaper than consuming meat is today.
With the high volumes of cheap healthy food on offer, there would be a significant change in hunger across the globe.
How can you eat insects?
If you want to try it for yourself and give the little critters a chance, then fear not, you don't have to dive right in and munch down the freshly picked garden variety. Here's some edible insect food to slowly introduce into your diet.
There are a number of brands on the market that sell responsibly sourced insect food and it's surprising just how non-insect like it looks. Everything from flour, salts, spices and bars can be made with the use of insect ingredients. You won't even have to close your eyes to eat it!
With so many convincing health reasons why eating insects are good for you, it's hard to deny there's some temptation - or gross curiosity - to give these critters a taste. However, there's still a huge obstacle in the way, the 'ew' factor.
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