You say you’ve tried every diet in the world to lose weight, but nothing seems to work. Have you tried eating insects? Good tasting and good for you, squishy yet oddly satisfying, insects may be the wonder food you’re searching for in your quest to lose weight. That’s the conclusion of a recent 200-page UN report. The UN report and over 2 billion people worldwide can’t be wrong, and more and more people are turning to this all-natural diet every day and are reaping the benefits.
On some diets you are limited in the variety of foods you can eat, but when it comes to insects, the possibilities you can choose from are mind-boggling. Though eating insects and using them as feed for livestock is becoming more popular, the UN report says that they are still “underutilized” as a food source.
There are other reasons that insects are becoming increasingly recognized as an important food source. They are found literally everywhere, they can reproduce rapidly, and they grow to their mature size relatively quickly. They don’t take up much space in relation to larger domesticated animals like cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, and raising them results in little to no environmental impact and pollution.
What’s more, according to the UN report, insects are nutritious, with high protein, fat and mineral content. It is possible that the greater utilization of insects as a food supplement could one day end world hunger.
Insects also need far less feed–12 times less than cattle in the example of cattle–to produce the same amount of protein. Insects can convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of insect mass, as compared to cattle, which require 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilo of meat.
While raising insects produces ammonia emissions, they are much lower than the emissions resulting from other traditional livestock, such as pigs.
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and shows like Fear Factor and Survivor have helped introduce the concept of eating insects to a Western population who are often more squeamish about snacking on bugs than the citizens of other countries of the world, but most Americans are still very reluctant to nosh on insects.
The UN report suggest this reluctance might change if more restaurants add menu items featuring insects. If they were included in more dishes, perhaps the status of eating insects might change, and more Westerners would try them.
Insects stack up extremely well in comparisons with other meat, such as minced beef. For example, according to a study by Montana State University, grasshoppers contain, per 110 grams of weight, 20.6 grams of protein and 5 milligrams or iron. Caterpillars are another insect high in protein, containing 28.2 grams of protein and 35.5 milligrams of iron per 100 grams of weight. Even dung beetles–if you can get around thinking about what they do with dung enough to eat them–are a good source of protein and iron, containing 27.4 grams of protein and 3.5 milligrams of iron. They also are a great source of calcium, with every 100 grams of them containing 30.9 milligrams of this important nutrient.
Though some edible insects are grown on farms, most are gathered in forests. Insect farming is often a family-run business which serves niche markets. Mechanization might be all that is need, the UN report suggests, to make insect farming more efficient and wide-spread. Selling the idea of eating insects to a Western market might be an uphill battle, but don’t be too surprised if one day in the near future you will see on menus delicacies like crickets and earthworms side-by-side with hamburgers, pizzas, and T-bone steaks. Do your bit to end world hunger and to drop a few pounds–add insects to your diet and lose weight the all-natural way.
By Douglas Cobb