Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Might As Well Go Eat Worms — Or Bugs

With more and more of the world's population craving meat, insects are starting to look a lot more appetizing.

macro close-up grasshopper bug insect

Photo: Vernon Swanepoel (Flickr)

Then again, you could always just go vegan.

Diversify!

As global meat supplies strain to keep pace with exploding demand, the search is on for alternative sources of protein.

One option — already tapped regularly by some 2.5 billion earthlings — is to replace some of the fish, pork and poultry we consume with insects.

While the notion may elicit gag-responses in those who’ve been socialized to think bugs are ‘gross’ or ‘creepy,’ there are some real advantages to going entomophagic.

The Pros

Nuntrition-wise, though locusts (for example) have a slightly lower protein-to-weight ratio than something like beef, they are a lot less fatty. Other six-legged morsels are also rich in minerals like iron.

What is more, compared to cows or turkeys, raising insects is also a lot less taxing on the environment since they require very little water and space.

A Disclaimer

Like with any comestible, however, there are disease risks associated with grubbing grubs.

A recent study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that insects are good incubators for bad microbes under certain moisture and temperature conditions.

In other words, curious readers might want to do a little extra research before frying up the exoskeletons caught their radiator grills.

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Ben Alford

Ben Alford works in Indiana Public Media's online dimension and holds an M.A. from Indiana University Bloomington's History and Philosophy of Science department. When not vegetating in front of a computer screen or geeking out over a good book, he can found outside exploring.

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