Bugs as a food source
I have to admit, the thought of eating grasshoppers or crickets does make me a bit anxious. I do know that insects are a very acceptable source of protein and nutrition for the daily diet.
According to the data from the United Nations, insects are part of the traditional diet of 2 billion people around the world, with 1,900 species considered both edible and a highly nutritious food source with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and essential minerals. The most commonly eaten bugs are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps and ants
It had been thought for a very long time, that mammals did not produce an enzyme that could break down the insect exoskeleton (outer shell). So in turn they were considered to be difficult to digest. Research has shown this theory with its research on primates is not true.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization recently produced an in-depth report about edible insects. (the link is above to see this 2013 report)
Bugs are seen as a green food source. Consuming insects as opposed to livestock is more environmentally friendly. Insects are cold-blooded and require less energy to maintain their internal body temperature. This means they are very efficient at converting feed into edible body mass, unlike cattle and other animal food sources. Also since insects are small, they require smaller areas for their growth, less water and possibly less pesticides.
Insects also produce less greenhouse gases vs livestock.
Globally, beetles and caterpillars are consumed as much as all other edible insects taken together. But bees, wasps and ants are popular too – statistics stating these account for a whopping 14% global insect consumption. Cicadas, locusts, crickets, dragonflies, flies are not spared either.
With a good portion of western society not desiring to eat insects, unbenounced to them are eating them possibly daily, to the tune of aprox two pounds of flies and bugs per year!!!! This is mostly due to the FDA limits placed on food product maximum insect standards!
Western society may have to change its thinking on eating insects. According to nature.com; just looking at population growth alone, the global population will reach 9 billion people in 2050 that will require we produce twice as much food than we do today.
Nutritional information– overview: (according to healthyeating.sfgate.com)
Crickets & Grasshoppers:
A 3.5-ounce serving of raw grasshoppers contains between 14 and 28 grams of protein, which is quite a lot for such a small amount of food. That translates to between 30 and 60 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and between 25 and 50 percent of the 56 grams men need on a daily basis. Grasshoppers and crickets are a good source of unsaturated fats,
A 3.5-ounce serving of red ants supplies about 14 grams of protein. The same serving of red ants also supplies 5.7 milligrams of iron. Ants are also a good source of calcium.
Beetles are among the richest insect sources of protein. The exact amount depends on what type of beetle is being eaten. A giant water beetle supplies approximately 20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce. June beetle aprox 3.5 ounce supplies 13.4 grams of protein. Beetles also supply calcium, iron and zinc.
There is more insect nutritional information at: www.planetscott.com/babes/nutrition.asp
If you are interested in tasting insects prepared, I found a website called: www.bugsfeed.com , listing cities & countries that serve insects!
There are many prepared insect products available online. Including cricket flour, candy, cricket jerky, deep fried cheese flavored silkworms, cricket pasta.
This may be the food way of the future as society grows and food options may become more limited either by space or cost!