Good question - should human beings be eating bugs instead of beef?

by | Aug 12, 2010 01:17 PM ET

Beef and other agricultural meats have a problem. Several problems actually. To make a pound of beef using modern methods, you need a lot of land (for forage), a lot of grain (for finishing - see this article for details) and a lot of water (both for irrigation and for the cow itself - this page has details). In the process the cows produce a lot of methane, which acts as a greenhouse gas.

Bugs would be better, and the following video makes the case:

Eating insects

Insects are brilliant food to eat, because they have exactly the right sort of stuff that we need. They're not to fatty, they've got high fiber, lots of protein in them...

And this article points out that the U.N. is getting behind bugs as a sustainable source of food:

Good Grub Guide! The UN says eating creepy-crawlies will save the planet ... Our girl finds that hard to swallow

Similar reports here and here make a good case:

The advantages of this diet include insects' high levels of protein, vitamin and mineral content. Van Huis's latest research, conducted with colleague Dennis Oonincx, shows that farming insects produces far less greenhouse gas than livestock. Breeding commonly eaten insects such as locusts, crickets and meal worms, emits 10 times less methane than livestock. The insects also produce 300 times less nitrous oxide, also a warming gas, and much less ammonia, a pollutant produced by pig and poultry farming. Being cold-blooded, insects convert plant matter into protein extremely efficiently, Van Huis says. In addition, he argues, the health risks are lower.

So, what if you wanted to try raising and eating your own insect food? One easy place to start might be mealworms or superworms, which are the larvae of darkling beetles. They are easy to raise and easy to prepare. This video shows you the life cycle of superworms:

See also this page for ideas on raising mealworms.

This page offers a number of interesting bug recipes from a bug banquet:

New York Entomological Society Centennial Banquet

More info:

- How Entomophagy Works

- Flour Beetle

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