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More Researchers Urging People To Eat Insects

Update Date: Jan 22, 2017 08:03 PM EST

Around 80 percent of world's population eat more than 1,500 kinds of insects. But in most western countries, eating insects are seen more as a disgusting or vulgar behavior. However, researchers from Brigham Young University are urging people to eat insects.

The ongoing research on the benefits of eating insects is led by assistant BYU professor, Laura Jefferies. Her team is looking into how to process insects, specifically, crickets to make them more palatable in western societies. "But most people [in the western world] don't want to eat a whole cricket", adds Jefferies.

So her team is collaborating with a small Utah-based company to incorporate powder from ground-up crickets in protein bars. Samples of the protein bars are given to willing students and faculty members where experiences and reactions regarding eating the cricket-loaded protein bars are assessed.

The food researchers from BYU are seeing a slow but positive reaction to their protein bars and hopes these reactions influences an increase in willingness in people to try to eat insects.

Just like the food researchers from BYU, many other researchers are urging people to eat insects. Edible insects are a good source of protein and it has lower saturated fat compared to protein gotten from eating beef. On the other hand, eating insects or entomophagy reduces the risks for immune disorders and cardiovascular diseases and even promotes improved brain health.

In addition, edible insects are a sustainable food source. Edible insects like crickets require fewer resources to produce. It only takes two kilograms of feed to get one kilogram of edible insect protein compared to the 25 kilograms of feed to get just one kilogram of edible beef protein. Moreover, crickets are an excellent source of iron and vitamin B-12. Insects like crickets are also loaded with the nine essential amino acids.

But with all these nutritional and health benefits of consuming insect, why are people still not willing to include insects in their diets? In a United Nations report entitled, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Food Security", it explains that most of the people in the Western world do not see insects as a source of food besides associating the consumption of insects as disgusting, is that they perceive the practice of eating insects as a primitive behavior. In short, the acceptance of the type of food, like edible insects, are firmly rooted in an individual's culture.

In addition, most Western societies see eating insects as disgusting or a vulgar behavior as their food practices are greatly influenced culture which is in turn influenced by religious beliefs.

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