Should We Eat Bugs? | Teen Ink

Should We Eat Bugs?

November 3, 2015
By okami-san368 SILVER, LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois
okami-san368 SILVER, LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Would you ever eat a deep-fried cricket? If you said no, then you're like most people. Although munching on critters that people usually consider pests might seem gross, it helps our fragile world in many different ways. Eating insects is beneficial for the environment in part by reducing the amount of methane released into the air, being easy to produce, and being healthier than beef for our bodies.
Cows release a lot of methane, therefore polluting our environment. A United Nations report found that the livestock (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) industry  is responsible for generating more greenhouse gas emissions than transport. That means that the burgers, chicken nuggets, and pork chops 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."
Since cows release so much methane, it is up to 20 times more efficient to raise insect protein than beef per pound. This is manly because bugs don't waste food energy on things like raising their body temperature or making bones, fur, feathers, and other things we can't eat. As a result, if insects themselves were deemed a food crop, imagine how much we could cut down on pesticide use and its associated environmental damage. Also, it takes much less water to raise insects, up to 1,000 times less. Insects such as crickets can live on organic waste, such as vegetable scraps and banana peels. Those foods would be repurposed, in a way, instead of rotting in a landfill.
Speaking of food, most insect species are highly nutritious. Also, many insects are tasty: some larvae taste like bacon. Who doesn't like bacon? They've got protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and essential minerals. You just have to overcome the "ick" factor. Nutrients differ, or course, by species, age, and preparation method; but grasshoppers in particular are pack with about just as much protein as lean ground beef with less fat, and mealworms are typically a fair substitute for fish. Some caterpillars have more protein by weight than a turkey leg—and more fat, too, but it's a healthier, monounsaturated kind.
In general, insects help the earth in three ways: by reducing the amount of methane released into the air, by being easy to produce, and being much healthier than beef, So it's time to chow down on a plate of deep-fried crickets and make the world a better and healthier place, one insect at a time.

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