Bugs & Insects: The Future For High-Protein Diets?

Insects are now pretty much readily available to buy in the UK.

Yeah, they aren’t in your local Tesco, but with a quick search online you can find pots of ‘ready to eat’ insects from somewhere like Musclefood quite easily.

Crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms are particularly popular, and at the moment in their raw form are being marketed as something you’d perhaps take to a party for a bit of fun, or use to prank your mates.

bugs insects proteim musclefood

Mealworms on a pillow is a particular favourite of mine.

Pranks aside, the reality is that we’re looking at a pretty dire farming system at the moment, relying on effectively factory farming that simply won’t be sustainable once the earth’s population reaches a certain point.

We need feeding from animals, but they need feeding too – creating a losing situation for both sides.

Farming chickens, pigs and cows will be very hard once the population reaches a certain point, and it’s highly likely our children will be eating a diet quite a lot different to ours.

And, yes, this still applies if you voted out of the EU, you big wally.

Farming insects is sustainable, ethical and takes up hardly any land or feed.

In fact, for every pound of meat produced a cow needs over 1,000 lbs of feed, compared to insects that would require only around 100 lbs.

Are bugs a worthy food source?

So, why eat insects?

And what types of insects can we include in our diets?

Over the last few weeks of writing this article and trying out the insect snacks on my work-proximity-associates and out-of-work-associates I’ve had nothing but looks of disgust.

Turns out most people too “freaked out” to eat dried crickets.

However, when you consider it, many countries like China, Brazil, Thailand and Ghana consider insects a standard part of their cuisine.

Perhaps it’s just that everyone in the UK is a bit of a fanny about this sort of thing.

Eventually we’re going to have to get used to eating them, so why not start now?

When it comes down to detail, insects are actually crazy-high in protein.

Let’s take a look at some of the insects you might eat and their potential for gains:

Insect Protein (per 100g)
Crickets 69g
Mealworms 45g
Grasshoppers 28g

 
Now compare these stats with some more traditional protein-rich foods:

Food Protein (per 100g)
Beef 26g
Chicken 27g
Eggs 13g
Soybeans N/A because I’m not a complete sissy

 
Perhaps that has piqued your interest!

Not only are critters high in protein, but they’re full of vitamins and minerals too.

It’s known that various parts of an animal we traditionally don’t eat, such as the bones, are full of minerals.

Well, with insects you get to eat the whole damn thing every time – nothing wasted!

What do they taste like?

Alright, I’ll admit insects don’t taste all that great.

They’re by no means horrific, but having a handful of mealworms is pretty damn dry, and they taste kinda like peanuts but without the fat.

Not too appetising.

But there are other ways to include insects in your diet without having to eat them dried or raw.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use insect flours – particularly mealworm or cricket flour – which can be used as an ingredient to make something a bit more tasty.

You can also add the insects to a Domino’s Meat Feast, but I’m not going to go into that right now.

Insect bars

Let’s take a look at a couple of insect-containing products that are available on the market right now.

Zoic Mealworm Bars

zoic insect protein bars

Zoic bars are handmade and use mealworms as their primary protein-boosting ingredient.

They are essentially snack bars with added protein, and I found them to be perfect for keeping in my bag and snacking on when other options are things like shitty sandwiches.

The bars themselves are made from 100% natural ingredients, actually only five: dates, mealworm flour, cashew, cacao and coconut flour.

This makes them perfect for a post-workout carb boost with some added protein from bugs!

Personally I really loved the taste; as they are all natural it’s really earthy and actually quite filling for a bar, although I expect it’s not for everyone.

Basically if you’re only used to super sweet bars full of crappy artificial sweeteners you’ll struggle with this one.

If your diet aims more towards a paleo/natural approach then these are spot on.

You can pick up Zoic bars from their website priced at £10.90 for four bars.

Crobar Cricket Bars

crobar protein insect bars

Crobar energy bars are made with cricket flour and come in three flavours at the moment, my favourite being the ‘Coffee & Vanilla’.

They aren’t as high in protein as the Zoic bars, and are much more of a snack than a proper go-to post-workout bar, but many people will prefer their more sweet taste.

You can grab Crobar’s from their website priced at £26.99 for a box of 12.

The good thing about both of these bars is that they are made from all-natural ingredients yet can be chucked in your bag for later.

What do you think?

I’d probably go for bars over actually just noshing down on a bucket of bugs, but what do our humble readers think?

Have you tried any other ways of eating bugs?

Is this the future for high-protein diets?

Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below