A new United Nations report say the health benefits of consuming nutritious insects could help fight obesity and world hunger.
Insects belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest animal group constituting over 90% of the animal kingdom. More than 1,900 species of insects are eaten around the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, but people in the West generally avoid even thinking about the possibility of eating grasshoppers, termites and other crunchy fare.
The authors of the study, which was published on Monday, by the Forestry Department, part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said many insects contained the same amount of protein and minerals as meat and more healthy fats doctors recommend in balanced diets.
Eva Muller of the FAO said restaurants in Europe were starting to offer insect-based dishes, presenting them to diners as exotic delicacies.
The word “entomophagy” is used to describe insect eating. It originates from the Greek term éntomos, or éntomon, meaning, “insect(ed),” literally meaning “cut in two,” referring to an insect’s segmented body, and phăgein, “to eat.” Combined, the two terms mean, “insect eating.”
As well as helping in the costly battle against obesity, which the World Health Organisation estimates has nearly doubled since 1980 and affects around 500 million people, the report said insect farming was likely to be less lan -dependent than traditional livestock and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
It would also provide business and export opportunities for poor people in developing countries, especially women, who are often responsible for collecting insects in rural communities.
If you ever consider raising your own insects, here are a few sites that explain in detail how to raise your own crickets and mealworms:
Raising Crickets by Jeff Mucha http://skylab.org/~chugga/cricket/
Breeding and Raising the House Cricket: http://www.anapsid.org/crickets.html