You might not have ever thought about it before, but do you fancy eating some bugs! Now before you run away, let’s dive into the facts. Cricket protein is a real thing, and along with other edible insect-based products, it is growing in popularity worldwide. These processed cricket items aren’t only a viable food source; they are also a far more nutritious food source than beef or chicken. They might even be a possible future solution to food shortages or help individuals with specific digestive issues.
The idea of crickets being ground up and used in your food may be shocking. Or even a little off-putting to some. But let’s do a little bit more research into what exactly cricket protein is, what benefits it might have over other protein sources, and even whether this new ‘fad’ is here to stay or not.
What Exactly is Cricket Protein?
First off, cricket protein can come in many forms. The tiny, dried creatures are often ground up and made into flour or powder, resulting in a food source that is nearly entirely protein. This flour can then be added to various foods such as cookies, casseroles, or smoothies. It is possible to substitute up to 25% cricket flour for regular flour without any change in texture or taste. What this means for you is that you are not going to have to down a whole cricket at your next meal just to get all the nutritional benefits and proteins.
What Are The Benefits of Cricket Protein Over Other Protein Sources?
Cricket protein and flours certainly have their benefits compared to other, more prominent protein sources. First, crickets themselves are rich in multiple vitamins: calcium, b12 and b2, potassium, iron, and other essential fatty acids. A study was done in 2020 that proved edible crickets to have a higher protein content than more common meats such as goat, chicken, and pork. It might be considered odd, but crickets are also a rich source of fiber. Which most sources of animal protein lack, as well as ‘healthy’ fats. That makes it a more heart-healthy option in comparison to other meats. On top of that, crickets appear to be far more bioavailable. This means our bodies can digest them easier than beef or other meat products. And utilize the nutrients from them more efficiently.
Additionally, crickets are far more environmentally friendly than just about any other source of meat. Whether that be cows or goats, pigs, chickens, etc. They take up less space, require far less grazing land, and put far fewer greenhouse gases into the air than other meat sources. The United Nations, Food and Agricultural Organization, states that livestock makes up 14.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. And that makes it a leading cause of anthropogenic-induced climate change. To put it into perspective, one study found broiler chickens had 89% higher greenhouse gas emissions when compared to crickets. So if we are apprehensive about climate change, we may want to think seriously about making smarter choices in what meats we choose to eat.
So Is Cricket Protein Here To Stay?
In the end, crickets are highly nutritious, reasonably affordable, and a good choice for the environment. Especially when compared to other sources of meat or protein. They are also already highly regarded in multiple non-US countries, having been eaten for centuries in other parts of the world. So if you had the chance to eat a cookie or some banana bread made with cricket powder, knowing that you were helping the environment and getting more protein and nutrients besides… would you take the chance?
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