When it comes to insects eating them isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most people get uneasy at the thought of a spider in their home let alone thinking about eating something like a caterpillar or ants. However, maybe it’s time to give insects second thought. Here’s 7 reasons why you should consider eating bugs.
Why You Should Try Out Eating Bugs As Food? It Can Be Yummy!
As it turns out eating bugs just might do more good than harm. This may be surprising to think but it’s actually true. Studies have shown that consuming insects may be healthier sources of protein and various other nutrients.
Entomophagy: Eating Insects
There are several parts of the world where entomophagy, or eating bugs, is seen as a cultural norm. These countries include New Zealand, South America, China, Asia, and Africa to name a few. So when did this interesting practice begin? Research suggests this may go back as far as the cavemen era. Paintings in caves in certain parts of the world such as Spain have illustrated drawings of various insects and nests. This is strongly indicative of cavemen having a variety of insects and bugs as part of their diet.
Entomophagy is certainly a norm in lots of countries however, the Western world begs to differ. Although most are not fans when it comes to eating insects there are certain parts that have given it a real try. Various restaurants in different states have gone as far as creating dishes that incorporate bugs.
For example, several restaurants in London, UK have featured dishes comprised of exotic insects. This includes avocado dip topped with grasshoppers and salad with sprinkled pupae. However, it doesn’t stop at main course dishes as desserts have also been given an interesting insect twist. A chocolate donut sprinkled with crickets, decadent caramel covered mealworms, and pieces of fudge topped with ants.
While the Western world isn’t completely sold on the idea of consuming bugs there are still those who decide that it may not be so bad after all. This is especially appealing as research suggests that bugs are not only good for you but eating insects can also greatly benefit the environment. As time goes on we’re starting to see more and more that insects aren’t so gross as they are helpful to the world and the state of our health.
Common Edible Bugs
Believe it or not, there are several bugs that can be eaten. These are insects that have been eaten for a long time in places where it’s considered the norm or seen as a delicacy.
Mealworms are actually very well known in some Western parts since it’s already created as bird feed. While bird feed is already produced in abundance now mealworms are underway to be marketed for the consumption of humans in Western areas. Other locations in the world such as New Mexico, already produce these worms as tasty treats. The snack is called Crickster and is considered really delicious. They are also very nutritious and can be likened as mealworms comprise of protein and fat.
Cicadas are intriguing, to say the least as their habitats are unlike most insects. Cicadas live underground and can stay there for as long as nearly 20 years, only coming up when the season calls for mating. With that said cicadas are a pretty rare sight to see but certain places get to experience the rare insects more than others like in China, Laos and Vietnam. They too have lots of protein with a taste compared to something like asparagus.
Ants are probably the most known edible insect. Surprisingly ants can be used as a kind of seasoning addition to food as they are said to have a spicy zest sort of taste. Ants are also great sources of calcium and of course, protein.
Often mistaken for mealworms buffalo worms provide a whopping 50% of protein in each serving. The life cycle of a buffalo worm is only a month but thankfully they are still plentiful. They are also much smaller than mealworms making them even more inviting to snack on.
Grasshoppers have been known to be covered in chocolate but they are served another way that actually makes for quite the flavor-packed nosh. In Mexico, you can find grasshoppers as street food known as chapulines. The delicious snack is made up of grasshoppers gently simmered in a delicious sauce. They are typically served with tacos and are said to have a taste similar to mushrooms.
7 Reasons Why You Should Eat Bug As Food
1. Packed with Nutrients
Insects are literally packed with nutrition with some describing them as a “nutritional powerhouse.” It’s very surprising just how much good can come from the tiny critters but insects actually have nutrients that can encourage gut health and better digestion.
They also consist of a very, very low amount of calories which is said to help fight obesity. Vitamins like B12 can also be found in insects which makes this diet even more ideal. B12 aids in energy production and strong bones. While your taste buds may question, your body will certainly thank you for giving this unique diet a try.
2. Could Potentially Solve World Hunger
Despite our planet is full of seemingly endless resources we are unfortunately still combating world hunger. According to statistics, 1 out of every 7 people is hungry. On top of that, statistics also show that in the next 30 years the world population will grow to a hefty 9.7 billion people. That’s very scary as by 2030 we may experience scarcity in food and resources.
While this is all very concerning there is a silver lining. If we decided to make a change and more parts of the world decided to incorporate insects into their diets would ultimately save on resources which would in turn help those in need of food, making it more than enough to go around for everyone.
3. Make for the Perfect Resource
Research suggests that eating insects is better for the environment and our planet. Utilizing livestock as a whole takes a reported 80% of our resources. This includes the use of water and energy used to grow food for livestock. Perhaps the most harmful part of using livestock is the negative impact it has on the environment.
Raising livestock causes the production of harmful chemicals like methane gas, ammonia, and nitrous oxide. Methane gas is a huge factor in global warming and is said to be more than 10 times worse than carbon monoxide. However, raising bugs results in 10 to 80 times less methane and over 10 times less the amount of ammonia.
4. You Can Eat the Powdered Version
Lots of people don’t like the idea of eating an insect but what if it came in the form of a powder instead? If you prefer not to know what it feels like to crunch an entire insect between your teeth you could opt for the powdered form. For example, there is cricket and mealworm powder that can be used in various dishes like salad, soup, and even desserts. It’s a great way to get your protein while still enjoying your favorite foods. This is an ideal start to getting past adding insects into your diet.
5. Could Help Farming in Underdeveloped Countries Flourish
Believe it or not, farming bugs could actually bring a lot of extra profit for farmers in certain parts of the world. In countries that are considered underdeveloped, farming insects could help bring in thousands more per year. This is because it doesn’t take a lot of investment to farm insects. No special equipment or machinery, and definitely not a lot of lands. This could bring in as much as an extra $10k for countries who earn an average of $5600 each year.
6. May help to Fight Obesity
Some research suggests that eating bugs can actually help to fight obesity. According to MedicalNewsToday studies have shown that insects may consist of a healthier, if not more, nutritious amount of proteins and carbs. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of nutrition is insects contain a significantly lower amount of fats than meat.
This has proven even more true after an American man claimed he lost weight after incorporating bugs into his diet. The 29-year-old believes we can all greatly benefit from making them an addition to our diets and that the planet will be better off as well.
“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 expected.”
7. They Make for Versatile Meals
As previously mentioned there are surprisingly quite a few meals that have been created using insects. Chefs in various parts of the Western world alone have created select dishes that have gotten lots of positive feedback. Donuts, burgers, soups, salads, and much more. The variety certainly helps for those who are new to the world of consuming bugs as incorporating them with familiar favorites helps to make it just a tad appealing.
Disadvantages of Eating Bugs As Food
There are several reasons why eating insects or bugs could benefit us but like anything else, this idea has it’s disadvantages.
Bugs, in general, consume lots of bacteria-filled things including decaying foods and even decaying animals. It’s natural of course for bugs to feast on these things but it’s certainly not natural for us to consume and welcome these very bacterias into our systems. Farmed bugs still pose a risk to our health as well since not every insect farm across the word, heeds to health guidelines. This can lead to parasites entering our bodies from insects that are farmed in not very clean environments.
They could be toxic
One of the most harmful disadvantages of eating bugs is they may be toxic. A lot of bugs carry toxins as a natural way to avoid danger by fending off potential predators. Many bugs may be seemingly harmless but actually have the ability to produce certain toxins inside their bodies once they sense they are in danger. If consumed, these toxins can and will cause harm. For example, certain types of beetles carry toxins that can lead to infertility and even cause masculine side effects in women who eat too much of the insects.
You Could Consume Pesticides
While the risk is a small one it’s still concerning that pesticides could be consumed when eating bugs. In areas such a s Thailand, insect farming isn’t heavily regulated and therefore has resulted in a great number of health issues within the country. This came about once dead bugs were consumed after an attempt was made to disinfect and sterilize areas of agriculture by way of pesticides.
Changing our diets and becoming healthy is never easy and while eating insects may seem scary and a bit foreign, it can certainly prove to help enhance the quality of our health as well as our planet.