Everyone loves to eat healthy… but have you considered that bugs might be the next health food craze?

The UN says insects might be worth adding to the food chain. With the population expected to hit nine billion very soon and crop yields seeing a steady decline, it’s time to start looking into alternative food sources, and healthier ones, too.

Of course, the report doesn’t suggest that you simply head out and start eating earthworms for dinner. Rather, it argues that we should consider insects as both a way to feed ourselves and feed the livestock that we raise for food.

Doing so, as the UN points out, may very well wind up being a lot better for our bodies and for the planet.

 

Bugs Over Burgers?

It’s no secret that the United States is in the middle of what many have called the “obesity epidemic.” It’s true: obesity and diabetes are rising in the United States at rates that are higher than ever before.

Many argue that it’s the proliferation and popularity of the “fast food diet” that has helped to usher in this precarious health situation.

Whatever the cause, it’s become more and more clear that we all need to eat healthier. One possible solution? Adding some delicious crawling critters to your diet!

Think that sounds horrible? Think again. Bugs are a delicacy in many countries around the world. For example, crickets are a tasty treat enjoyed by many in Africa and Latin America. In Europe, they’re also considered a special treat; they just haven’t really caught on in the US.

 

A (Surprisingly) Healthy Alternative

Why insects? Well, for one thing, because they’re all over the place. They’re also insanely healthy. Think about it. About eight pounds of materials are needed to produce one pound of edible meat from livestock.

For bugs, only two pounds of feed are needed to produce one pound of edible food. What’s even better is that the materials needed to raise crickets are readily available.

Your average fast-food chicken sandwich is made from animals that are loaded with artificial chemicals like Prozac (to keep them calm) and arsenic (to make the meat nice and plump). Do you really want to be putting harmful ingredients into your body?

Crickets, on the other hand, are incredibly high in protein, breed incredibly fast, and consume waste materials that we’d otherwise have to spend money cleaning up.

With all the advantages of an insect diet, why hasn’t it caught on?

Well, Psychology Today points out that marketers will have their work cut out for them making bugs palatable in America:

“[Marketers should] convince [the] public that eating crickets and other insects is salubrious, public spirited, cost effective, ecologically sensitive, culinarily adventurous, waste loss positive, global climate change negative, deliriously nutritious, fun to eat, and a direct aid to American foreign policy.”

Doesn’t that just make you want to dive into a heaping helping of delicious crickets?

If it doesn’t, it should at least make you think about the possibility of insects being used as feed for animals. Whether people start dining on them, or we begin taking advantage of their presence to raise our livestock, it’s looking like insects might become part of a relatively normal diet sometime soon.

Do you have any crazy eating habits that are surprisingly nutritious? Let us know in the comments.

 

See Also

How Those “One Weird Trick” Belly Fat Ads Scam You
Are Herbal Supplements a Scam? New DNA Evidence Exposes Natural Pills
Placenta Pills: A New Health Trend for Moms or an All-Natural Scam?

7 Responses

  1. [email protected]

    Sean, I suggest you stick to pop culture or at least do a little fact checking before you publish another health or “science” article. This piece of fluff contains at least two inaccuracies, right out of the gate:

    ≈ “The UN says insects might be worth adding to the food chain.” They’re already in the food chain, from the bottom up. Up to 80 percent of the world’s population includes insects in their diet, which means far more people eat insects than not. You convey a narrow, America-centric perspective by failing to note this. Also human-centric: the food chain includes the whole spectrum of predators and prey—not just humans. Many species live on insects, which are integral to the food chain.

    ≈ “Of course, the report doesn’t suggest that you simply head out and start eating earthworms for dinner.” While earthworms are edible, they are not insects; they’re annelids. Try grasshoppers (great photo, by the way).

    I’m not into entomophagy myself, at least not yet. But it’s hardly a new practice, even in North America, where people tend to prefer their insects ground into meal (favourites include crickets and grubs), which they then add to their recipes. To avoid pesticides and other impurities, some enthusiasts even turn a closet into a bug “grow op,” for fresh, organic insects with assured provenance.

    Next time, put down that Big Mac and spend five minutes on Google before you post. You’ll only find about 14.5 million results for “eating insects.” Probably some information there?

    Reply
      • [email protected]

        Thanks, Sean. No work at all, really, just passing along general knowledge. Here’s another idea for your blog: why not sample some dishes made with whole insects or meal (beyond the novelty chocolate-covered ants or grasshoppers) and report your findings?

        You could seek out restaurants or markets that offer such cuisine, or if you’re handy in the kitchen order some ingredients online and test a few recipes. That would make for a truly interesting and informed piece.

        I recall an episode of Top Chef Masters where contestants had to prepare dishes using all manner of invertebrates, for two judges who specialize in eating insects. Some recipes succeeded; others not so much.

        A friend from the Democratic Republic of Congo tells how as children he and his siblings hunted fat grasshoppers, tossed them into hot coals, plucked off the wings and legs, and relished them as a delicacy. I hear they taste a bit like shrimp.

  2. seht1912

    I’ve lived in South East Asia for thirty years plus. Bugs, insects, crickets, cicadas, what ever you want to call them are sold in almost every market I’ve ever visted except the supermarkets e.g. similar to Coles. Safeway etc. They’re fried for the most part with added condiments such as chilli, etc. I’m not an expert on bugs but anybody who has lived in Asia will be familiar with what I am saying.
    My Thai partner buys them frequently including such delicasies as ant eggs. Not just a token amount but handfuls. I’ve indulged but I must say I’m not a fan. I did enjoy other exotic foods such as cobra (snake) bat meat and dog but if you don’t know what you’re eating it’s mostly all good. Dog meat is delicious I must say and I didn’t know what I was eating until someone one day, one year later, translated Vietnamese into English. told me. It’s all in the mind.

    Reply
    • Sean Boulger

      Nice! It’s definitely interesting to see what kinds of foods other people enjoy around the world. I’m personally trying to break out of culinary shell, so to speak, and try things that are different from the kind of things I’d normally eat at a given time of day. Soup for breakfast!

      Reply
  3. [email protected]

    http://theweek.com/article/index/243799/americas-coming-cicada-invasion-5-key-facts

    4. They don’t taste bad
    Cicadas are arthropods, meaning they’re related to shrimp and lobsters. (Something to bear in mind if you have shellfish allergies.) According to TIME, the bugs have something of a long culinary history, especially in the Southwest:

    Ashlee Horne of Nashville likes her cicadas sautéed in butter and garlic. Jenna Jadin of Washington, D.C., bakes them into banana bread, chocolate-chip cookies, and rhubarb pie. Others like them dipped in chocolate for a sweet, crunchy snack.

    According to one blogger, they taste “crispy and crunchy, with a nutty, almond-like flavor,” and are best eaten before the nymphs form their hard exoskeleton. The New York Times says a cicada swarm once even rescued the Onondaga Indians of New York from famine.

    Reply

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