Should We Eat Bugs? Why Eating Insects Actually Makes Sense!
Should we eat bugs? In short, the answer is a resounding YES! Don’t worry we won’t leave you hanging. Read on to find out all the amazing reasons you should consider eating bugs.
So there’s a yuck factor but believe us when we tell you it’s worth trying to get past that initial yuck. The truth is, North America is one of the few places that don’t already have insects as part of their regular menu! A big part of people being comfortable with eating bugs is cultural exposure and we haven’t had much in North America. Eating insects, also known as entomophagy, is common in many countries around the world. From central and south American counties to Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, bugs feed over 2 billion people worldwide.
Reasons Why Eating Insects Makes Sense
- Farming insects is more sustainable than farming livestock
- Bugs are high in protein and healthy fats
- Insects are a great source of nutrients like calcium, zinc and iron
- And they taste good!
Eating Bugs is More Sustainable
Farming insects takes significantly less land than farming beef, pork and chicken. This is because instead of using giant swaths of land to raise and farm animals, insects can be farmed vertically. They can be harvested in trays that are stacked. This means for every acre of land used to farm insects they produce way more protein than beef, pork or chicken! Oh and by way more, we mean way more! Per every acre of land used to farm insects, they can produce 3140 x the protein of beef!
So, farming insects uses significantly less land but let’s not forget they also use significantly less water. It takes a fraction of the water to farm bugs than any other protein source. As we all know, water is a precious resource and the amount of water used to grow the crops that feed cattle, pigs and chickens; to put it simply, is a lot. Not to mention the water livestock actually needs to drink from the time they’re born has to be factored in as well.
Insects not only require very little water in comparison to livestock in order to grow and thrive. They can also be fed from upcycling food waste! Talk about nutrient recycling, insects can be fed off of food waste like vegetable peeling. Then these tiny amazing organisms turn that into protein and other vital nutrients. It’s pretty much a grand slam for insects when it comes to water usage.
Insects are a Great Source of Protein & Other Nutrients
Another reason we should eat bugs is the fact that they’re actually a really great source of nutrients. Depending on your bug of choice, they can be up to 80% protein! To put that in perspective a chicken breast is 34.5 % protein and lean cooked beef is only 27%! Insects are also rich in healthy fats, fibre, and other vital nutrients. In fact, most insect species have significantly more iron than beef. Nutritionally, bugs got it beat.
Should We Eat Bugs Purely for Their nutrition & Sustainability?
Although those are two great reasons to start taste testing insects we know it’s hard to get excited about something that doesn’t actually taste good. You might be pleasantly surprised that most bugs are delicious. There’s definitely a reason so many people around the world eat them!
Let’s be honest, we know insects aren’t going to jive with everyone’s flavour palet. However, if you’re willing to give them a chance you might discover that they’re pretty tasty! Crickets have a fairly neutral flavour so they can take on other flavours nicely, people have likened the smell of cooking crickets to popcorn! Mealworms taste like roasted nuts, and Locusts taste somewhat like shrimp. There are plenty of insects to choose from as there are over 1900 different species of bugs eaten around the world.
If you’re starting to get on board with the fact that we should eat bugs but, eating a whole insect isn’t quite where you feel comfortable starting, try insect powders! Most people who try an insect protein powder find that it really doesn’t taste much different when used in their favourite recipes! Blind tastings have revealed that consumers think insect patties compare well to vegetarian patties. Not to mention, now you can easily find Cricket Powders in Loblaws stores.
If we’ve piqued your interest and you think you may be ready to try some bugs here’s a great list of popular bugs to try from National Geographic to start with! If you’re curious about other alternative protein sources check out our post on Algae!