Why Eat Bugs?

Why eat bugs, anyway?

Despite the fact that 80% of the world’s cultures eat insects (that’s right: the US is in the minority here) most people in our culture consider insects simply to be pests. But when you consider the logic of bugs as food, from an ecological, financial, and global perspective, they start to seem a lot more palatable.

Insects: The True Eco-Protein

A United Nations report found that the livestock industry is responsible for generating more greenhouse gas emissions than transport. That means the burgers, chicken, and pork we are eating are technically worse for our environment than our cars. Insects require such fewer resources in terms of food, water, and land space that, as David Gracer of SmallStock Foods puts it, “Cows and pigs are the SUVs of the food world. And bugs—they’re the Priuses, maybe even bicycles.”

Top Ten Reasons To Eat Insects

10. Most edible insect species are highly nutritious.

9. It is up to 20 times more efficient to raise insect protein than beef. That’s per pound. This is mainly because bugs don’t ‘waste’ food energy on things like raising their body temperature, or making bones, fur, feathers, and other stuff we can’t eat.

8. Also, it takes less water to raise insects — much, much less: up to 1000 times less.

7. You are probably already doing it, as the FDA allows a certain amount of insect matter to be present in most commercial foods: an average of 150 or more insect fragments are allowed per 100 grams of wheat flour, for instance — that’s a lot of bug!

6. Most cultures in the world not only eat insects, but in many cases find them to be a delicacy.

5. If insects themselves were deemed a food crop, imagine how much we could cut down on pesticide use, and its associated environmental damage.

4. Many insects are tasty: some larvae taste like bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon?

3. Many animal rights activists often won’t get up in arms over eating bugs, as they are already exterminated on a daily basis (the bugs, not the activists).

2. Insects may be the food of the future, as scientists are researching their potential as a space food crop.

And the number one reason to eat insects is…

1. Insects are a great, inexpensive, green source of the protein desperately needed by starving peoples. If we can help create a market and funding for it, there is the potential to help spread nourishment throughout the planet.


49 responses to “Why Eat Bugs?

  1. Hello great site and I encourage you and I want to be a member with this site and I love that there is more video of the way we cook insects and finally say great site I want to eat insects.

    • I tried waxworms and crickets at the bug arboretum in New Orleans over a year ago, and have been craving them ever since.
      I think it’s odd how most people will eat fungus or fungus by-products without a second thought, but bugs? Ew. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Even bread is made with yeast, a fungal component that parasitically invades the human body from time to time (and is naturally found within a females vaginal environment). That’s grosser to me than eating a bug, but I love bread (and who doesn’t!).

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  3. Some anthropologists think that the reason humans developed opposable thumbs is…the better to eat insects with, my dear.

    Also, as a dietitian, I have recently become interested in the increasing incidence of autoimmunity and atopy in our culture. Specifically, I wonder if the relative lack of insects in our diet deprives us of something. My theory is that there is an essential carbohydrate (from chitin, found in the exoskeletons of insects etc) that is supposed to be involved in our own cell-to-cell messaging. Perhaps without this carbohydrate, our bodies have begun getting confused between what is “self” and what is “other” and therefore “dangerous”? I have no evidence or data, just a hypothesis. But nutrition is such a new science that I would not be surprised to find out that we are deficient in something we don’t yet know about.

    While I still gag at the thought of eating crunchy recognizable bugs, I may just try the toddler approach and try some mealworms or something ground into a dust and hidden as much as I can…baby steps, right?

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  5. I’ve make an photo (fun) for explain why to eat insects it’s here http://multivores.com/img/save-cows.jpg tell me what do you think about it 🙂

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  7. there is nothin’ wrong with eatin’ a bug..i ain’t skeered

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  9. Hi Daniella,

    We like your movement and your blog,
    that we’ve featured your blog on our site:

    we’ve describe your quirky ways of sending a message to the world of how good bugs are to us,

    couple your knowledge of bug cuisine with how beautiful you are,
    I bet in no time people will be talking about bug food!


  10. Top Ten Reasons To Eat Insects
    10. if u dont found any nutritious foods other than insects
    9. if you want more protein than you need per day for ur body
    8. if you dont have water to digest
    7. if you are fed up of your current taste of regular food
    6. if you are in the culture of eating bugs and insect
    5. If you dont have space to cultivate crops
    4. If you found ur regular foods are not much nutritious to full fill your daily needs
    3. if you dont like to be a victim of animal killing and get caught by blue cross
    2. if you like to set up your home in space. because bug and insects are the future space foods
    1. if you dont have money to buy regular foods

  11. Pingback: Eating Bugs – Get Used to It! | All 'Round The Table

  12. Ummmmmm. NO! NO! NO! I am very progressive would love to save the world but NO! I’m sorry get back to the damn drawing board UN. This just isn’t gonna do it! Sorry you don’t have the liberty of having the “mission accomplished” speech with regards to world hunger.

    I’m sure whomever conceived this idea picked up their UN paycheck and went out and ate a nice entree at applebees feeling very proud of themselves.

    This is a non starter

    • Why is it a non-starter? Is it because you don’t think insects could taste good? Is it because you’ve been “brainwashed by the mainstream media” and “Big Beef” that this cheap, sustainable source of protein is no good?

      I think that at the very least, it’s a starter.

    • Right all this crap it rediculous its wrong!

  13. hi, do you know where i can get honey ant flour, heard that is has a high level of protein

  14. You people are sick – rather than tatoo a dot on the bottom of the big toe for each baby a woman has, and tying tubes on the 3rd, you would rather devolve back to a primitive monkey diet and eat bugs, and you are brainwashed to feel as if that makes you something special or significant, when it only proves you are idiots.

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  16. Ive tried scorpion ..ants..some beetles…all were delicious..nutty..honestly not gross…I’m glad to have found this sight…would love to try and raise my own..don’t knock it till you try it! 🙂

  17. I find that this is a great idea.

    We could save more animals this way and bring back low populations of species!

  18. I went on a bug-eating, Google rampage this morning because I was contemplating how to thwart off impending cardiovascular disease that runs in my family, no matter how clean they’ve kept their diet. I understand that all food (fruit, veggies, and meat) have little resemblance to the foods that we would have eaten millions, let alone, 100 years ago. I lift heavy weights, get lots of sleep, and eat a lot of meat and veggies. But, having this much access to this much meat (corn fed) isn’t the answer.

    So, last night I got to thinking. What is the ultimate human diet? What is that missing link that would end diabetes and heart disease? Although we’re happy to eat a nice fatty animal should we happen to catch one. It sure takes a lot of energy. Its my guess that we probably just walked along, scooped up some termites, and shoved them in our mouths.

    Further, most plants are toxic. Even safe, grocery store veggies are toxic in large quantities. As we came out of the rift in Africa, we weren’t walking along fields filled butter lettuce and romaine.

    Bugs seem like the perfect answer. They have calcium, without the inflammatory effects of dairy and are a great source of protein, along with other vitamins from their plant-based diet.

    Oh, no. Now I have to muster up the courage to eat a bug.

    • Daniella Martin

      Sue – I couldn’t agree more. Good luck, and trust me, it’s not that bad. Make sure your first bug is fresh and well-prepared. May I suggest a crisp toasted waxworm or cricket?

  19. Some good recipes and product on our growing company

  20. Pingback: How To Eat a Live Bug | vsvevg

  21. Good God how did I come upon this disgusting website ? If you guys want to eat bugs then eat bugs. More real food for the rest of us.

    • haha this comment though ^^^^^^^^ just made my day you are so true if people want to eat bugs them eat them nobody else cares!

    • Daniella Martin

      Just an FYI, I won’t be approving comments like this anymore. Not because they are critical, but because they don’t add to the discussion. Perhaps if you could qualify why you feel eating insects is disgusting…

  22. This is just wrong! People should not eat bugs it is gross i mean i dont find it attractive i mean c’mon nobody wants this is our world nobody wants to kiss somebody after they have eaten bugs!

    • Daniella Martin

      Jayda, could you dig a little deeper as to why you feel this way? What, specifically, is gross about eating bugs?

      You say, “Nobody wants this in this world.” Actually, the majority of the world eats insects. Can you qualify what you meant by this statement?

      BTW, my husband has no trouble kissing me after I’ve eaten a bug, nor I him. 🙂

  23. bugs are yummy.

  24. Is it OK to eat bugs that you sometimes find in flour or other dry products?

    • Daniella Martin

      You know what, this is a great question that I’m not sure I’m entirely qualified to answer. My guess would be yes, if they’re eating something you yourself would eat. I’d advise you to pose the question to the Missouri Entomophagy Facebook group, as they are highly interactive: https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/

  25. Thanks for your reply. I too, thought it would be OK because they are eating what we would eat. I went to the MO. Entomophagy facebook page but didn’t see a place to ask a question. Oh well, I did this yesterday and I’m still alive so, here’ s hopin’!

    • Daniella Martin

      Oh, you have to join the group first.

      Yeah, as long as you cooked them (and even probably if you didn’t) you should be fine. Think of all the people eating them unknowingly. I mean they were likely just whole versions of what was already ground up in there, right?

  26. I’m vegetarian, but I understand that is a luxurious choice I have because I am relatively wealthy and live in a part of the world that is agriculturally rich (it also happens to be a part of the world that eats bugs). If I didn’t have that luxury I would certainly consider making insects part of my diet before I would eat other meats.

    I’m confused about why people at the upper economic end of bug eating cultures drop bugs from their diet. Do you think this is because American culture is more dominant the richer people get, or because of the association of bug eating with poverty, or simply that they have so many choices?

    I hope the focus of bug eating shifts towards ingredient substitutes that people will accept more readily, so we can move beyond old, wasteful ideas.

    I do believe that no matter what the food, distribution problems and economic enslavement will prevent us from eliminating starvation. If you get hungry enough, surely you already eat the bugs you have access to?

  27. A Mexican study recently compared the insect management strategies of several farms. Some of them used modern insecticides, others allowed locals to harvest grasshoppers for local markets. The two methods were equally effective in controlling grasshoppers, but one approach required money and poisoned the land, water and food being grown, while the other avoided those costs, providing healthy wild food and income.

    (quoted from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/edible-insects-zebz1305znsp.aspx#ixzz3AGy8kZ5w)

  28. Oh and by the way, earwigs, grasshoppers, snails and especially ants and termites are really delicious if you just cook them right. Most ants are a little bit sour, so fried and salted they are really similar to salt and vinegar chips. Yum.

  29. I think eating bugs is a great but I wouldn’t get carried way with it. I still love beef

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