For most people, nothing is more unpleasant than the thought of complementing their meal with a plate of grasshoppers. Insects, while accepted as a delicacy in many parts of the world, are not popular in Europe or North America despite all the nutritional attributes they bring to the table.
There are an estimated two billion people around the world who enjoy eating insects, with beetles, bees, grasshoppers and caterpillars being the most popular. The practice of eating insects (also called Entomophagy) is particularly common in Africa and Asia, with some areas of South America having taking up the habit in recent times.
When it comes to North America and Europe, though, people view the concept of eating insects with a lot of disgust, which is unfortunate considering the nutritious nature of insects.
Aside from being considered a delicacy by many people, insects are also a nutritious food item, rich in calcium, proteins and healthy fats.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there are very few food items in the world that have the same nutritious potency as insects. This explains why some doctors have begun encouraging their overweight patients to consume insects as a means of overcoming obesity.
Amusingly, a man in the United States reportedly consumed a bowl of crickets, mistaking them for peanuts. Having spent his life nurturing a typically unhealthy western diet, the man reported to the Daily Mail in 2014 that the crickets enabled him to lose weight.
And he isn’t the only individual to extol the efficacy of an insect rich diet as a means of losing weight. Not only are insects the source of essential minerals like iron but they are also low in carbohydrates.
The nutritious nature of insects is such that certain organizations have begun touting the idea of using them to combat malnutrition in developing countries. A surprising number of all the deaths amongst children in places like Africa can be blamed on malnutrition.
The Food and Agriculture Organization believes that it could save millions of lives if it introduced insects to the diets of children in developing countries. The practice of eating insects will allow these children to acquire much needed protein and fat.
There are more than enough insects in the world to solve the food crisis plaguing certain nations. At the moment though, medical experts are having a difficult enough time convincing populations of wealthy nations to take up the practice of eating insects.