How do primates such as the great apes and lesser apes get their nutrition? Simple; they eat ants and other edible bugs. The more ants they eat, the less time the primates have to spend tracking other foods that will supply protein, vitamins, minerals and calories.
Apparently the chimpanzees were quite sophisticated in their choice of edible insects. They deliberately chose edible insects that had higher amounts of fat, calories and protein in them comparable to wild vertebrate meat.
One of the types of edible insects that are already consumed by man is butterflies and moths. In 17 different states of Mexico, butterflies – up to 67 different species – are eaten when the insects are in their larval states.
Insects are traditionally eaten in many cultures of the world. The big question is why aren’t you consuming them now?
Big Benefits of Eating Bugs, Say the Researchers
The act of eating bugs is officially called entomophagy; entomo- for bugs, and –phagy for the act of eating.
And according to German researchers, many edible insects could potentially help you meet your calorie and amino acid requirements for the day. Here’s a list of the nutrients found in bugs:
Nutrients Found in Insects
- monounsaturated fats
- polyunsaturated fats
- vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- folic acid
It’s not just scientists in Germany who are touting eating edible insects. With the world population rising every year, scientists predict that there will be a 70-80% extra demand for animal protein foods between 2012 and 2050. That’s what scientists in the Netherlands are estimating.
And of course with all the vegan/vegetarian consumer interest groups that protest eating meat because of ‘environmental degradation’ from the animals, this extra demand spells trouble for the world. The answer is eating bugs.
Protein Levels Equal to Other High Quality Protein Food Sources
For example, when Chinese scientists at the School of Marine Science and Technology at the HuaiHai Institute of Technology analyzed the protein content from Clanis bilineata, an edible insect, they found protein levels of 685.3 grams per kilograms. That’s equivalent to 311 grams protein per pound. One pound of steak provides about 112 grams.
And when scientists fed rats these edible bugs for 10 days, the rats were able to use the protein from the bugs as a good source of protein for the synthesis of their body tissues.
There’s even a new database that was started a few years ago reserved just for the bugs you can eat if you go to India. Actually, 51 different species are known for their nutritious or medicinal content, and you can find everything from economic status, habitat, and recipes for each of the 51 species. Take a look at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374361.
Ready to start foraging? In Countries like Mexico, tropical Africa and New Guinea, the residents already deliberately make changes in their environment to quickly find the edible bugs. After all, who wants to eat one bug at a time when you can eat handfuls? In these countries, they’ll cut palm trees and wait for the caterpillars to show up in droves.
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