3 Benefits of Eating Insects: Entomophagy as Sustainable Nutrition 

If you’ve traveled to faraway lands, you may have come across a few local delicacies that, at the time, you considered questionable. “No thank you, I’ll pass on the roasted grasshoppers,” you say as you navigate through stalls of colorful trinkets and street snacks. 

While eating insects might not be at the top of your culinary bucket list, many communities in Eastern cultures have been consuming insects for thousands of years. With a rapid increase in the global population, the scientific community has begun exploring the potential roles that insects could play in creating a more sustainable world. 

Today, we’re dissecting three benefits of eating insects and the positive implications of embracing entomophagy — the practice of eating insects — on a larger scale. 

#1 Nutritional Value 

Approximately a quarter of the world’s population, about 2 billion people, consume insects regularly, and many have been doing so for centuries. As a regular part of their diet, you may assume that insects must provide substantial nutritional value — and you’d be correct! 

Insects contain a remarkable combination of two essential macronutrients: proteins and fats. They also have significant vitamin, fiber and mineral content that our bodies need for optimum functioning. Of course, with such a robust number of insects available for consumption, the nutritional value of each species varies. 

If the idea of eating an insect whole makes you queasy, there’s a less intimidating alternative available. Many insects can be ground into a powder, removing the legs and crunch factor from the equation. This versatile form allows you to mix the powder into a variety of recipes, from cookies to sauces, making it possible for you to have your insects and your protein, too! 

#2 Environmental Stability 

When it comes to providing a more sustainable environment for our future, insects hold remarkable sway. Below, we discuss several reasons they excel in this area:  

  • Consumability 
    Insects generally boast a higher proportion of consumable body mass than farm animals. For example, up to 80% of a cricket is edible to humans. In contrast, farm animals offer a lower amount of available meat for consumption, with pigs providing only 55% edibility. 
  • Deforestation reduction 
    Insects require significantly less space and water to develop and cultivate than their farm animal counterparts. If more people partook in entomophagy, there would be a considerably lower amount of deforestation due to less land being needed to farm the insects. 
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 
    Properly raising farm animals for food purposes requires a significant outlay of crops. The production of these crops involves clearing more woodland areas and using pesticides, which can contribute to the release of greenhouse gases. In addition, cows, chickens, and pigs produce a lot of manure, releasing methane into the atmosphere as it decomposes. Insects, on the other hand, are a more sustainable option, as they emit much lower amounts of greenhouse gases due to their small size and lower food requirements. 

#3 Food Security 

The United Nations expects the global population to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, posing significant challenges for food production to meet the increased demand. However, with limited arable land available worldwide, it will be difficult to keep pace with this growing population using traditional farming methods. Insects offer a promising solution by providing an eco-friendly, land-efficient alternative that still offers a nutritious source of protein. 

Experience the Number One-Ranked Entomology and Nematology Program in the World 

Eating insects isn’t the only way to contribute to creating a more sustainable planet. If you find yourself fascinated with the world of insects or work in the field of entomology, the University of Florida proudly offers several online programs that will not only quench your thirst for all things bugs but also propel your career in entomology forward. 

At UF, we understand the challenges that come with balancing a professional and personal life. That’s why our programs are entirely online, giving you the chance to complete them at a pace that aligns with your busy schedule. 

We offer four unique specializations, each of which you can complete as either a graduate certificate or as part of our master’s degree programs: 

  • Medical Entomology 
  • Landscape Pest Management 
  • Urban Pest Management 
  • Beekeeping 

With a renowned faculty and multiple programs tailored to complement your current skill set, we’re excited to show you why we’re ranked as the number-one entomology and nematology program in the world

Apply today! 

Sources: 
https://guides.loc.gov/entomophagy 
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772566921000033
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frsus.2023.1112950/full
https://www.un.org/en/desa/world-population-projected-reach-98-billion-2050-and-112-billion-2100 

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