Should We Eat Bugs?

Kate Herndon

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Believe it or not, bugs are already a big part of many cultures diets. Ever heard of Fried Caterpillars? Maybe Deep Fried Moths? How about Love Bug Salad? Although you might shriek or cringe at the thought, these are considered valuable delicacies in other parts of the world, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the moment, there are 2 billion people who eat bugs as a regular meal, but the other 5 billion people are stuck on the fact that bugs are creepy and crawly and just down-right disgusting. That means only about 29% of the world eats bugs.

With our fast-growing population, bugs might just be the solutions we need to feed more and more people. Did you know that the insect to human ratio is 200 million to one? That means for every one person, there are 200 million bugs? That’s pretty crazy to think about. Although not all bugs are edible, many of them are, and there are over 2,000 edible bug variations today.

Ask your self this: “Why do bugs seem disgusting to me?” Most of you probably said that you don’t want to crunch into them, or you don’t want little legs stuck in your teeth. Maybe some of you don’t have a reason, it just sounds so wrong. But the reasons are actually linked to our history and ancestors, a long time ago, about 10,000 BC, in the Fertile Crescent, a place in the middle east known for advanced agriculture. They started growing a lot of crops and eating animals. Before then, eating bugs was actually a huge part of life. For example, in Ancient Greece, eating bugs was a delicacy. After the partly nomadic people in the Fertile Cresent, bugs became highly disgusted and unwanted. The reason for this isn’t complicated. Bugs just came in the way of the farmers and their crops. The bugs ate their crops and the farmers couldn’t make money because their crops were unsellable. After that, bugs slowly started being hated and considered gross.

Not only could bugs be a very cost-effective solution to developing countries, but they are also very healthy for you and pretty easy to take care of and contain. If you consider the cost and environmental relationship between bugs and red meat, the results are astonishing. Many edible insects contain up to 80% protein. They are also filled with energy-rich fat, vitamins, and minerals, and also loaded with fiber. What’s more, many bugs have equal to or more mineral iron than beef making them extremely healthy. You might be wondering if bugs and meat are very similar in nutrients, then why not just eat bugs? Well, when you compare the prices of handling them and the environmental cost and effect, then the results will show that bugs are very more cost-efficient and eco-friendly.

When you think about it, we have already taken a step towards this action. Lobsters are pretty much giant bugs, right? Now lobsters are a delicacy and eaten all around the world. If we can get over the sick feeling we get when we think about cooking and eating bugs, we would gain so many nutrients and a better future for our planet.

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