But according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, some 2 billion people around the globe already supplement their diets with insects. And with a global population of 7.4 billion, this is nearly 27 percent of the sum total.
One of the biggest benefits to eating insects is reducing pollution and boosting nutrition. Thusly, by saving yourself, you are in essence, saving the world.
Lofty claim for such tiny little morsels you say?
Insects like wasps and beetles reproduce quickly, can feed both humans as well as livestock, and have and a tremendously low-carbon footprint.
Delectably questionable, nutritionally valuable
Insects are extremely nutritious being that they are high in protein and minerals; and are an effective supplement to undernourished children. Edible bugs are also far more efficient than livestock when it comes to edible meat conversion. For example, crickets require an average of 12 times less feed than that of cattle, yet produce the same amount of protein.
Some of the creepy little crawlers even surpass the nutritional value of red meat:
- A caterpillar has 28.2 grams of protein compared to 27.4 grams in minced beef, and a whopping 35.5 milligrams of iron as compared to just 3.5 milligrams with the red meat option.
- A grasshopper contains 20.6 grams of protein, and 35.2 milligrams of calcium while beef has none.
- The dung beetle packs in 17.2 grams of protein and 30.9 milligrams of calcium.
Who is eating what off the insect menu
Beetles of the dung, long-horned, and june varieties top the list. People living in heavily forested regions such as the Amazon tend to dine on beetles often as they are easily foraged from the forest floor, in trees, and fallen logs.
Moths and butterflies are high in protein and iron during their larval and pupal stages, and are regularly consumed by pregnant women and young children in many African countries.
Agave worms are popular for more than just dropping into a Mexican tequila in South American nations. They are actually a constantly in-demand food due to their nutrition-packed, fleshy little bodies.
Bees are great for their honey, but that’s not all they’re good for. Indigenous people from every continent consume bees in their early stages, siting a nutty flavor.
Locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers are all said to have neutral flavors. In areas where agricultural efforts are decimated by locust swarms, it’s easy to understand why they often end up on the dinner table.
Ants can provide more protein than chicken eggs and are rich in calcium (boasting 48 grams), iron, and several other nutrients. While it does take about 1,000 red ants to make this happen, they’re very low in carbs and under 100 calories.
While the global population journeys toward 8 billion people, putting food in everyone’s belly gets a little harder. Harvesting insects for food is cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and helps to sustain traditional agriculture by preventing destruction of vegetation. And with more than a quarter of the world population already benefitting from the nutritional values that often beat out the hooved competition, it’s difficult to argue that eating insects is strange.
Not quite ready to order a plate of bugs? We understand!
Insects in the American kitchen are usually unwanted and quite annoying. If you would prefer to exterminate rather than consume bugs, contact us today. Miller Termite & Pest performs exterior services on regular schedules, because 99% of bugs enter the home through the exterior.