The nutritional benefits of eating bugs are serviceable and can be instrumental in combating childhood mortality, and malnutrition rates. Monica Aiyeko of the Food and Agriculture department at Bondo University College has studied and published the effects of integrating native crickets into school meal programs in Kenya. Her studies have found that roughly 30% of Kenyan households are food insecure, leading to massive malnutrition amongst children, particularly under the age of 5. This is due to a lack of both macronutrients and micronutrients, including protein and zinc. Incorporating bugs into school feeding programs could provide children with the necessary nutrients to prevent stunting. Overall, bugs and insects are incredibly nutritionally beneficial. The New York Times states that “Some 2,100 insect species worldwide have been identified as edible…Their nutritional benefits, while varied across species, are substantial: high in energy yield, rich in essential amino acids and comparable and sometimes superior, per ounce, to beef, chicken, and pork in amounts of protein, omega-3 fats, iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.”
The Western consensus is best stated by New York Times writer Ligaya Mishan: “Europeans, and by extension European settlers in North America, never had a bug-eating tradition. Indeed, we largely consider insects dirty and drawn to decay, signifiers and carriers of disease; we call them pests, a word whose Latin root means plague.” This is a ridiculous stigma that we need to shake. The adoption of bugs into a normal diet would not be unlike the transition from raw fish being largely unaccepted in America, to sushi becoming a normal meal option.
All I want is a culinary cultural revolution, is that so much to ask?
Ilyashov, Alexandra. “How (and Why) to Cook With Bugs, According to Three Chefs.” The New York Times, 10 Sept. 2018.
Mishan, Ligaya. “Why Aren’t We Eating More Insects?” The New York Times. 7 Sept., 2018.
Münke-Svendsen, Christopher and Kipkoech Carolyne, John Kinyuru, Monica Ayieko, Anja Homan and Nanna Roos. “Technical Brief #5: Nutritional Properties of Insects for Food in Kenya.” University of Copenhagen, 2017.
Roberts, Wayne. “Eating Insects: Waiter, There’s No Fly in My Soup.” Alternatives Journal, vol. 34, no. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2008, p. 8+. Academic OneFile, Accessed 6 Mar. 2019.