Why we should be eating insects
24th April 2017
Whoa, whoa! Don’t leave yet! At least hear us out first! Yes, the idea of eating insects can be considered…odd by modern western standards, although we’ve been eating them for years! Centuries even!
That’s right, insect eating (also known as Entomophagy) is common in most cultures around the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In fact, over 1,000 species of insects are known to be eaten in 80% of the world’s nations.
Insects don’t have to be some horrendous alternative akin to those that frequent bush tucker trials. In fact, there are a surprising amount of benefits to consuming insects. First we’ll have a look at some common grub- HA! GRUB!
Crickets- Probably the most common insect integrated into food. These noisy critters are often crushed into “cricket flour”, which is then used in cooking. There are already many companies capitalising on this strategy, creating protein bars and baked goods from the formula. We hear they’re pretty good!
Bee Brood- These have been proven to be high in protein and carbohydrate, among other things. Bee Brood is considered a delicacy in many countries, including Mexico. Unsure what it is? Well to phrase it bluntly, it’s the larvae and pupae of numerous bee drones…would you try it?
Beetles- Boasting the highest nutrition to most other insects, beetles can be healthy and efficient, being consumed often in parts of Africa and forested regions. They can also be eaten in many diverse ways, for example Native Americans would roast and eat them like popcorn!
Sure, they may look unappealing but insects can do wonders for your diet. Most insects have very high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre and mineral content which could be comparable to that of livestock. Some specific insects can even be up to 80% protein by weight!
In fact, many believe the insects to be just-if not more- nutritious than commonly consumed meats, such as beef. With many grubs being rich in essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Entomophagy has also been praised as an effective way to combat obesity due to the low-fat content of some insects. But that’s not all, the trend could also help combat malnutrition in parts of Asia and Africa. Insects are literally everywhere, an easily accessible and cheap source of food- a fact that could benefit countries suffering from poor diets.
Insect enthusiast James Brink said:
“We have the ability to transform our diets from the steady stream of junk food, to which so many are accustomed, to an entirely different and decidedly broader global culinary adventure.
It is up to us to make decisions about the future of our waistlines and our planet, and the best option might be a little more creepy-crawly than we initially suspected.” Source
Let’s be honest, the future, by all accounts, does not look bright. The global population is expected to rise to around 9 billion by 2050, which means we need to be able to produce an incredible amount of food in the future. PLUS, with climate change estimated to reduce crop yields by 25 percent, there is an urgent need for alternative sources of food.
Edible insects are a prime candidate to fill in the incoming food shortage as they tick all the necessary boxes. In fact, experts believe they should be indoctrinated in our society as soon as possible in preparation.
Do you already eat bugs?
Believe it or not, some of your favourite foods may have contained insect parts at some point. After all, The FDA states that it is acceptable for 100 grams of chocolate to contain up to 60 “insect fragments” within six 100 gram samples. These allowances show that, for the most part, consuming insects is not harmful to our health.
Many researchers actually believe that eating insects is less harmful that eating livestock meat. Insects have a lower risk of carrying zoonotic diseases, although its still recommended that you cook them first!
Are you in or out?
In the end, the success or failure of Entomophagy is entirely up to our sensibilities and whether we can adopt the idea fully.
Be honest, you started reading this blog out of some sort of morbid curiosity, right? Perhaps you thought we were joking about the benefits of eating bugs? Our western culture has labelled insect eating as a taboo, although the truth is far from it.
So next time you have the chance to try beetles on a stick or muffins baked with cricket flour, give it a go. You never know, it could become a personal favourite!