Are insects the new buzz for protein intake?

Are insects the new buzz for protein intake?

When we think about getting in our protein, we typically think of chicken, beef or any other animal meat; and for those vegetarians: beans, nuts and tofu.

However, new research says to consider insects.  According to last week’s discussions at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo, insects may just be the new environmentally-friendly way to get your daily dose of protein.

Participants discussed how insects are economically practical and do not take as much a toll on the environment as other sources of protein.

“Insects require less feed, less water, less land, and less energy to produce and their production generates substantially lower environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and greenhouse gases,” said Dr. Aaron Dossey, founder of All Things Bugs LLC, in Gainesville, Florida, at the meeting.

Dossey also said that insects contain a greater quality of proteins that are good for the body.

“Some insects are as much as 80 percent protein by weight and provide more essential amino acids than most animal proteins,” he said. “They are also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.”

Dr. Florence Dunkel, Associate Professor of Entomology at Montana State University and editor of Food Insects Newsletter, said at the meeting that about 85 percent of insects in the U.S. may be used a food sources. Dunkel said that locusts, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles are some of the primary insects eaten around the world.

With an abundance of insects worldwide, why don’t we eat them more often? The answer, according to Dunkel, is cultural acceptance and differences.

“Western cultures’ aversion to the use of edible insects as a food source is a serious issue in human nutrition. But it’s the way forward into a sustainable world environment,” Dunkel said.

Countries across the globe consider certain insects as a normal part of their meal and eat them often. It has never been a popular delicacy in the U.S., and researchers also say that Americans need to get past the socially constructed image of eating insects. Not only that, with constant increases in the world population and limited amount of resources, insects as food may provide a solution.

Researchers say there is still more to be discovered when it comes to making insects a marketable resource. You can learn more on these proposals here.

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Comments

11 Comments

  1. I am all for getting my protein and helping the environment but I don’t think I’ll be able to swallow insects anytime soon!

  2. I don’t think I could ever get passed the texture of a bug…

  3. interesting, maybe if someone processed it in my food and never told me about it….

  4. Unless I happen to be stranded on a deserted Island, I don’t think I’ll be eating a diet of bugs anytime soon. I might consider it if I see Al Gore doing it.

  5. It does not appeal to me. Besides the texture, part of me is concerned about germs. Cooking may take care of that. There are several cousins of insects on the American diet, essentially bigger bugs:shrimp, prawns, crayfish, crab, and lobster.

  6. Ummmm I think I will pass on the bugs! Thanks but No Thanks…..

  7. Mmmm yeah not really my cup of tea. I like the idea but I can’t see myself munching on some insects at the dinner table.

  8. The might be tolerable if they were finely ground into a powder and used in a protein shake.
    They were need to be well disguised for my tastes.

  9. well not in its raw form or cooked as it looks alive….but there is this gal in Nor CA that makes flour out of crickets… and I am going to order some this weekend. (I don’t recall the business name of hand)

  10. I have eaten ant eggs and grasshoppers in a Mexican restaurant. They were served with mole sauce and sour cream. The first bite was hard, but after that it was fine. I am game for insects in our diets.

  11. I can’t even look at the picture in this story – that’s how much I hate bugs!!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.