Eating insects is a normal routine in many parts of the world. In fact, a 2013 report from the United Nations (UN) stated that approximately 2 billion people are regularly eating insects. This is a common practice in Asia, Australia & South America and the act is labeled as “entomophagy”.
Aristotle, born in 384 BC during the Classical Period, likes to eat cicadas and he even mentioned them in his book “History of Animals”. In addition, John the Baptist, a Biblical figure, ate insects:
“And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”
Thus, to eat insects is not a new trend. In reality, our ancestors have been practicing entomophagy a long time ago.
A report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that 113 nations practice entomophagy nowadays. However, the ancient method of simply catching insects and eating them raw has evolved. In fact, present procedures about entomophagy now include harvesting insects, cleaning those collected, then cooking and finally, marketing.
Health Benefits Of Eating Insects
They Add Muscle, Not Fat
Eating bugs or insects will give you so much protein. In fact, a cricket contains 65% protein – much higher than the protein amount of beef. Insect protein can help you build muscle mass and can also support your ligaments and tendons.
They Can Improve Your Mood
In addition to protein, insects are also loaded with amino acids which normalize a person’s hormone levels. Also, if a person lacks amino acids he/she will start to feel anxious, moody and blue. Finally, protein from insects can help normalize the blood’s sugar level. Mood swings are sometimes caused by sudden spikes in a person’s blood sugar level.
Helps Your Brain To Function Normally
As mentioned above, insects are rich in amino acids and protein. The brain burns a lot of energy and it needs a steady supply of glucose. Because of insects’ high protein content, it can keep your blood glucose level at a healthy rate. Further, the amino acids help your brain to concentrate.
A Healthier Meat Alternative
A 100 gram-beef is made of 20 gram- fat and contains approximately 254 calories. On the other hand, a 100 gram-cricket is made of 5.5 gram-fat and contains approximately 122 calories only. Additionally, crickets have 3 times more iron than beef.
Insects Are Less Likely To Transmit Diseases
Undoubtedly, human beings are taxonomically distant from insects. This gives insects a lower chance of transmitting diseases to humans as compared to eating meat (for example, mad cow disease).
The insect farming industry can be more economical than the animal farming industry because insects do not require large spaces and they are easier to feed.
In addition, when compared to animals, they create fewer greenhouse gases. In fact, traditional livestock produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation industry.
Lastly, because insects are abundant and cheap to sustain, they may help solve the problem of world hunger. Here is a statement from Eva Muller (one of the Directors of Food and Agriculture Organization): “Insects are not harmful to eat, quite the contrary. They are nutritious, they have a lot of protein and are considered a delicacy in many countries.”
Differences of farmed Insects
There is not one single sign that can tell if an insect is safe to eat. Fortunately, most of them are edible.
To keep yourself safe, choose to cook insects before eating them. Bugs containing venom will be safe to eat after you boil them. Lastly, pick live insects whenever possible. There is no way to tell how the dead ones died. In this way, you can avoid the risk of eating a bug that has recently been killed by an insecticide.
Insect Food Products
Here are some of the tastiest food snacks available on the market today:
Cricket Brownies (brand name: Cricket Flours)
Cricket Chips (brand name: Chirps Chips)
Bug Burgers (brand name: Insecta)
Cricket Energy Bars (brand name: Grilo)
Cricket Cocktail Bitters (brand name: Critter Bitters)
Insect Salt (brand name: Gran Mitla)
Consuming insects are great for your health, the environment, and it has great potential in reducing world hunger. They provide the same nutrients that we can get from meat and with less fat! To sum it up, insect consumption and farming are very sustainable. We would like to end this article with a statement from the United Nations about entomophagy: “…one of the many ways to address food and feed security.“