US/World

Bugs To Solve World Hunger? Crickets And Mealworms Are Full Of Protein And Good For The Environment

eating bugs
The practice of eating bugs, known as entomophagy, is good for you and the environment. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

All over the world, there are some 2.5 billion people who consume insects on a regular basis, as a supplement to their regular fruits, vegetables, and animal meat — particularly in Africa and Asia. Crickets, mealworms, ants, even flies and mosquitoes all are considered edible in various world cultures. It’s a practice dating back to ancient times, known as entomophagy.

Many Americans will find the idea of consuming bugs repulsive, yet they consider crustaceans like lobsters and crab a luxury. Should we all be eating more insects? According to a video by AsapSCIENCE, 100 grams of crickets contains about the same amount of protein as does 100 grams of chicken, steak or bacon. But those crickets are packed with other important vitamins and minerals that other meat doesn’t contain, such as high levels of calcium, iron, and zinc. They’re also low in fat and have plenty of fiber.

So bugs are really good for you — and the AsapSCIENCE video makes the argument that harvesting crickets for human consumption is good for the environment, too. 80 percent of a cricket is edible and digestible, compared to 50 percent of a chicken and 40 percent of a cow.

In fact, the United Nations is in support of boosting the amount of insects eaten around the world. In a report published in 2013, the UN argues how producing insects as food could reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions, use much less water than animal meat production, and feed people all over the world. And past reports have highlighted the possibility of developing a mass production and distribution of insect-based flour to reduce world hunger in developing countries.

Don’t worry — you won’t need to eat the bugs wriggling and alive. And you don’t need to pick up a cockroach running across the floor and chomp down on it (there’s a difference between eating any old bug, and eating bugs that are farmed specifically for eating). They often come dried out in packages you can buy at a store, or else you can cook them, boil them, or bake them. Below, you’ll find some AsapSCIENCE videos that help explain the power of bugs, as well as some insect recipes so that you can serve up some cricket dip at your next loft party.

To check out some bug recipes, like making chocolate “chirp” cookies or dip, watch their other video here:

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