Snacking on crickets, caterpillars, termites, and beetles seems like something out of an episode of Bizarre Foods but eating bugs, also called entomophagy, is growing in popularity, according to Change.org. In truth, bug eating is nothing new, but to Westerners it can still make our stomachs a bit unsettled. But insects are good eats in other parts of the world: Filipinos snack on crickets, Columbians like ants, and the Japanese crave wasps and rice.
But it’s not just a taste for the weird that’s changing the tide for bug eating, bugs are naturally nutritious and easy on the planet. Bug eating has minimal impact on the planet because there’s a large population of the little buggers just waiting for the taking. They take no extra energy to cultivate and produce minimal pollution-causing waste. Eating bugs makes the use of pesticides less necessary.
According to an article on Change.org, Arnold van Huis, a consultant to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), recently touted bugs as a nutritious and eco-friendly meal.
But it’s not just their microscopic impact that has bug enthusiasts raving, bugs are loaded with nutrients. According to HowStuffWorks, 100 grams of crickets contains 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 75.8 milligrams of iron, and only 5 gram of carbohydrates. Caterpillars have 28 grams of protein per 100 grams as well as iron, thiamine, and niacin. They have more protein pound per pound then even traditionally healthy foods like fish.
Research carried out at the National Autonomous University of Mexico found that 1,700 species are eaten in at least 113 countries across the world, usually as a substitute for meat. So there are many tastes for the taking. Still not appetizing? Start off with the chocolate covered variety. Mix some salty crickets in with your popcorn, pretzels, or potato chips. But no, I still can’t stomach wasps and rice.
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