Entomophagy: A Sustainable Food System

Entomophagy is the consumption of insects could just be a forward step towards acquiring food security and sustainable food systems. This might sound like a crazy idea at first for those of us who aren’t used to eating  insects in our diet, and if they are prepared or cooked right, they even taste good. Looking back in history humans have had to depend on eatings insects, and today there is an estimate that at least 2 billion people consume insects for their everyday diet.

Consumers and nutrition professionals both have a responsibility to keep and ethical train of thought of sustainability of their choices and recommendations responsibility. IF we want to achieve food security and a sustainable food system we first have to think about having a sustainable global food system with the capacity to meet our nutritional needs and abundant to supply the world’s population, for the long run. AS we most know the human population is continuously growing and our limited resources like water, land and fossil fuels are decreasing. Therefore, the decline in resources makes food prices are going to rise, as is the demand per capita for resource-intensive meat.images.jpg

In 2003 a report was conducted in order to compare the land and energy usage needed for a produce a meat-based diet and a lacto-ovo- vegetarian diet. The data showed that the meat-based diet would require more energy, land as well as water expected, stating that both diets turned out to be unsustainable for the long run. On the other hand, insects have many environmental benefits. They produce lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to other productions, less ammonia production, use up less amount of resources and take up a low amount of space requirements.

Numerous studies analyzing the nutritional composition of different insects have been performed, with some finding that many insects are actually high-quality protein sources, having excellent amino acid profiles. In terms of the intersection between environment and nutrition, insects have a higher feed conversion ratio. This refers to the amount of feed required to produce 1 kg of high-quality animal protein. Using crickets as an example, 1.7kg of feed produces 1kg crickets, compared to 10:1 for beef, 5:1 for pork and 2.5:1 for chicken. There are also over 1,900 edible insect species, and endless ways to prepare them and cook them. Bon appetit.

 

Resources:

Collavo A, Glew RH, Huang YS, Chuang LT, Bosse R, Paoletti MG. House cricket small-scale farming. In: Paoletti MG editor. Ecological implications of minilivestock: potential of insects, rodents, frogs and snails. New Hampshire. Science Publishers;
2004.

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security. Rome: FAO; 2013.

Pimentel D, Pimentel M. Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3):660S-3S.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Entomophagy: A Sustainable Food System

  1. amyquandt

    Have you ever eaten insects? What do you think it would take to change most American’s opinions on eating insects?

    Like

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