Eating insects is the new fashion: pros and cons

Let’s see properties, risks and benefits insects may give us. Are you ready to try them?

Have you ever tried and crunch a grasshopper or chew a fly? If you haven’t, maybe you will soon. Eating insects might become a daily practice in the future.

Eating insects is essential for people in many developing Countries in Asia, Africa and Central America. They have a fundamental role in human diets, because they feed 2 billion people, that is a third of the world population.

A lot of institutions, such as FAO, think everyone should include insects in their diet. On our planet there are 1900 edible species which could feed 9 billion people by 2030.

Edible insects: nutritional values

These little animals are very nourishing. Fried, boiled or sauteéd, they are a good alternative to fish and meat. They contain a lot of high quality proteins, mineral salts, fatty acids, fibers and vitamins of the B group.

For example, 1kg of termites contain 350g of proteins, while the same quantity of beef only contains 320g. For this reason, they are the base food in about 90 Countries. In some parts of the world, they are considered diet supplements for malnourished children.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/mangiare-thai-insetto-piastra-1222261/

Edible insects: pros and cons

These tiny creatures are easy to breed and also eco-friendly, because they need few water, soil and don’t emit too many greenhouse gas. As a consequence, their production is also low-cost.

Actually, the ancient Romans already ate insects. They contain about 80% of proteins, other than minerals, fats and fibers and they could end the world hunger.

What about their cons? It is difficult to understand the impact of their large-scale production on the environment. Moreover, it is fundamental to follow the right sanitary rules.

Surely, at the moment the biggest obstacle is the cultural prejudice and the disgust one may feel at the idea of edible insects.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/photos/primal-future-cricket-powder-2863076/

Which insects you can eat

The most common edible animals are caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants and grasshoper. You can also eat locusts, crickets, cicadas, cochineals, bedbugs, termites, dragonflies and flies. And it seems they are very tasty!

Eating insects in the West

In the Western world, this practice is not that common yet. In the European Union, for example, since January, 1st 2018 a new regulation considers insects as novel food. These rules allow their production and sale.

You can only eat bred insects, so you can’t hunt them! If you want to try them, you can buy them online or you can go in France or Denmark, where there are restaurants which actually serve edible insects!

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/mangiare-thai-insetto-piastra-1222261/, https://pixabay.com/photos/primal-future-cricket-powder-2863076/

ultimo aggiornamento: 08-03-2019

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