Are insects really a source of protein?

By now we know it well: to combat the effects of climate crisis and slow down global warming in the western world we all should reduce meat consumption. If we were really good at following this lead in respecting our planet, we should make up for protein provided by the meat in another way. One solution could be to integrate our diet with proteins that come from the world of insects. Insects are consumed daily in hundreds of countries around the world but, in the West, they still maintain a marginal status on our tables. But how much actually the bugs would be alternative protein source to the meat?

Insects as an alternative protein source?

According to research, insects actually are a source of protein but the quantity and quality strongly depends by the type of insect. In short, when it is suggested to eat insects to replace proteins, it is necessary make distinctions. Some insects however, such as some species of barbecue, are an outstanding source of complete protein. This means that, unlike many other plant-based sources of protein, they contain all nine essential amino acids and in quantities comparable to beef, making it an exceptional alternative source.

How much protein is in insects?

To give an idea of ​​the quantities, according to research published in the journal European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 100g of beef manzo they provide approx 20.6g of protein, the pig arrives at 20,1g and the pollo a 19.9g. For insects: 100g of barbecue adults arrive at 20,1g of protein, exactly like pork; 100g of mealworms they reach 19.4g of protein and mopane caterpillars at the last stage they can go up to 35,2g of protein per 100g.

Are insects an alternative food to meat?

Insects are therefore a good source of protein, or at least some species. But would they be a food equivalent to meat? Experts in this regard warn: in fact, these are not 100% equivalent foods. Although some insects can achieve quantities and qualities of protein similar to those of meat, other nutritional values vary greatly. For example, crickets have a content of sodium more than double that of beef and a greater amount of polyunsaturated fats.

On the contrary, always taking into consideration the crickets, the content of ferro is 3 times greater and there is presence of vitamin C e vitamin A. But even in this case the differences are considerable depending on the species of insect. Experts therefore warn against replacing meat entirely with insects. The choice may have unforeseen repercussions about diet and on the state of health. At the moment sufficient data is still lacking to get a more detailed overview.

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