Insect protein is trending

Food and nutrition

Published on 21 June 2019
by Isabelle Huot

Are insect proteins a good food alternative? Isabelle Huot wanted to learn more about this practice.

 

In the past few years, we’ve witnessed a revolution in dietary habits and behaviour. Influenced by a multitude of factors (environment, culture, health, etc.), individual food beliefs are increasingly strong and diverse. Who would have believed that eating insects would become a foreseeable phenomenon? The fact is that today, entomophagy has many fans. Though it is not considered a staple in Quebec, insect-based food supply is certainly growing. Here at home, we mainly see crickets on the market. What are the benefits of opting for entomophagy?

 

Ecological footprint

Compared to the beef industry, the food conversion rate for insects is highly efficient. Whereas 2 kg of food is required to produce 1 kg of insects, 8 kg are needed to produce an equal amount of animal body mass. Insect production also requires 2,000 times less water and they produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than animals.

 

Nutritional value

So what’s in this little critter? For the same weight, crickets contain twice as much protein as beef. Just like protein sources found in the animal kingdom, those found in insects are complete; meaning they provide the 9 essential amino acids. In addition to their interesting protein profile, crickets are a good source of calcium and an excellent source of magnesium, iron and vitamin B12.

 

 

Nutrients

Quantity

(for 100 g)

% DV

Protein

65 g

-

Fibre

0.5 g

2%

Calcium

125 mg

13%

Magnesium

110 mg

26%

Vitamin B12

3.2 ug

130%

Iron

5 mg

Female: 28%

Male: 63%

 

 

Sports nutrition

µg

Cricket consumption is often associated with sports nutrition. Due to their nutritional profile, these insects are particularly interesting to the sports community. Cricket powder is also interesting for vegetarians, who are often at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Do vegans eat insects? That’s a question that remains unanswered.

 

Isabelle Huot
Doctor in nutrition, spokesperson for the Kilo Cardio weight loss program