Eating insects is not new outside the western world. In Asia, Africa, and South America, eating insects is as normal as eating beef or chicken. The idea of eating bugs might not appeal to most people, but you’d be shocked at how nutritious (and delicious) these morsels of protein are. Want to know more about the nutritional benefits of bugs? In today’s post, we are listing down 5 reasons why insects make an excellent food source:
They are Surprisingly Nutritious
Did you know some insects are more nutritious than beef or chicken, but without the unwanted calories and cholesterol? For instance, adult locusts contain the same level of lean protein as raw beef. But raw beef contains more cholesterol than adult locusts. Insects also contain high amounts of calcium, thiamine and niacin, zinc, iron and other minerals.
A 100 gram of crickets contains 12.9 grams of protein and 75.9 grams of iron. But it only contains 49.5 of calories from fat. Because insects are not treated as livestock, they do not contain hormones and other compounds that are harmful to the health.
Insects are Eco-Friendly
Did you know that rearing traditional livestock accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere? Cows, cattle, pigs and chicken emit more ammonia and methane than the entire transportation industry. Now, imagine processing livestock for food. Machines and tools are used to process the meats. That increases the carbon footprint of processing and transporting livestock into food sources.
On the other hand, insects release far less harmful gasses than livestock. They are small so they are easy to transport. They also breed so fast that rearing insects are very easy. In the Netherlands, the government invested $1.3 million in developing techniques to raise edible insects using food waste.
Edible Insects are Affordable
Rearing livestock is by no means an affordable business to get into. Apart from feeding the animals and keeping them healthy, some farmers go through great lengths to ensure the meat is high in quality. And when the demand for meat falls, the prices drop down as well.
Edible insects are cold-blooded so they are not as sensitive to weather changes as their warm-blooded counterparts. These animals are able to convert food into protein at a faster, more efficient manner. Rearing edible insects is also cheaper and easier than rearing livestock. One can develop a thriving, large-scale bug farm for fairly low capital.
They are Healthier Sources of Food
Edible insects are nutritious, delicious and they are low in calories. They also transmit fewer diseases. Cows are vulnerable to food-borne bacteria and viruses, causing illnesses such as SARS, H5N1, and mad-cow disease, etc. Mass producing meats can lead to serious and unknown maladies. But insects don’t. That’s because insects eat cleaner foods, especially those that thrive in jungles or forests. This makes insect less vulnerable to microbes that can be transmitted to human beings.
They are Sustainable
Apart from being nutritious and affordable, edible insects are sustainable. There are over 1,900 species of edible insects and their population is in the billions. These critters breed at a much faster rate so there is no danger of eating them into extinction.