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Would You Eat Insects?

Wong Shu Lee  


  June 08, 2021

What do you think about eating insects? 


For many people, insects are filthy and disgusting. Even the idea of insects in the same cabinet that our food is in may disgust you. 


However, insects eating is never a new thing in many countries. People from many countries have always included insects as a staple of their diet for generations. Despite this, relatively little is known about insects as a food source. 


Are insects really safe to eat?


It turns out, yes, eating bugs, as gross as it seems, benefits our bodies and our world in many ways. 


Insects are a great source of nutrients


First of all, the protein content of an insect is 20-76% of dry matter, depending on the insect’s type and development stage. For example, 100 grams of grasshopper typically contains between 14 and 28 grams of protein. This translates to 25-60% of your recommended daily allowance, from just one small serving of food. 


Obtaining protein is so important as it is the basic building block of every part of your body. Muscles, bones, and skin all count on protein to grow and to repair themselves. 


That’s why athletes and bodybuilders go to any lengths possible to fill themselves with it. Shakes, vitamin supplements, and protein bars are popular ways to try to fill in the protein gap. 


Eating insects is good for our planet


Since protein is an essential nutrient for human survival, hence, the best use of the earth’s land, water, and other resources is the production of food that provides it. 


Beef is generally considered an excellent source of protein and other valuable nutrients. But in fact, 100 grams of beef yields around the same amount of protein as crickets. 


Producing this mere 1 kg of beef also takes a toll on our resources. The process requires an average of about 15 liters of water, in addition to the water used to grow food for the cattle to eat. Raising the same amount of mealworms uses about 4 liters, a full 9 liters less than each kg of beef. 


Besides, the raising of livestock produces methane gas, a major contributor to global warming/climate change. The effect of methane is estimated to be 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide and ammonia are also released by cattle into our environment. 


Raising insects produces between 10 and 80 times less methane gas than does the raising of cattle, and 8-12 times less ammonia. 


Insect farming can provide a stable income


Farming insects does not require a lot of lands or expensive machinery. Even the poorest segment of the population in our least developed countries can do it and make a profit. 


Things to consider before you start eating insects


Eating insects brings many benefits to our health and the environment. However, if you want to start practicing entomophagy, there are a few things to consider. 


Please ensure you source your insects from trusted and registered edible insect sellers. Please do not simply catch an insect to eat because wild insects generally feed on decaying matter: rotting food, animal corpses, human waste which are full of bacteria. 


Besides, do not eat raw and uncooked insects. The best way to consume insects is to purchase cooked (usually roasted) insects from trustable and certified sellers. For example, in Malaysia, you can look for ENTO


So, after reading this, next time if anyone offers you roasted mealworms or a cricket protein bar, would you try it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box! 


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