Crickets? Cockroaches? Grasshoppers? I’d have to be awfully desperate.
‘This tastes freaking delicious’
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
… it says, in the latest dietary advice on how to procure your protein needs from insects, mealy bugs, grasshoppers, and the like. Just “consume” Popular Science’s (PS) “Bug Eating Guide” ( https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/insect-bug-eating-guide/ ).
Deliciously crunchy grasshoppers
Now, I don’t want to question anyone’s culinary delights. After all, they depend on what you are used to eating and in which you find sustenance. It’s just that your tastes and mine may not exactly match.
So, if you’re used to dining on sushi-kind bat-wings or whatever, no problem. And you can, sort-a, start getting the feel for it following PS’s helpful advice, like “When people think about eating bugs, they most immediately picture a taco with chapulines [for non-foodies: that’s a chef’s term for some grasshoppers] or a bowl of sautéed crickets. But the truth is you can opt for a less shocking alternative.”
Just in case you are in need of a Mexican recipe for them delicious hoppers, kindly see https://www.thespruceeats.com/chapulines-mexican-grasshoppers-2342567.
More importantly though, it’s the kind of nourishment that one supposedly will get from that kind of meal. That, after all is the real issue.
Nutrition – You tell me
The PS-post author, Sandra Guiterrez G., (SGG) also claims “Bugs have another upside they can be hacked to improve their nutritional content even further.” With “hacked”, I think she means cut or chopped into tiny pieces. Oh yeah, that increases their nutritional value by exactly zero.
But wait, there is even a scientific explanation. As the author explains: “…enzymatic hydrolysis … boosts the nutrient count by rendering the chitin… exoskeletons … more protein bits to bond with other ingredients.”
Even the river otters and raccoons in our environs that catch plenty of crayfish with chitin exoskeletons cannot digest such. Instead, they deposit these delicious and nutritious exoskeletal remnants of that prey in heaps onshore or other firm surfaces.
Chitin – a Source of Protein?
Chitin, essentially a kind of starch-polymer, is not a source of protein. At best, it’s an indigestible source of starch. Chitin is not a source of protein but does contain small amounts of one or more amino-acids that make up all kinds of real protein. The idea that one could live a healthy life on that kind of “nutrition” is nonsense. Besides, it’s entirely irrelevant – in terms of nutritional value – how a particular food tastes as perceived by your personal taste buds.
Moreover, there is currently a real locust plague in eastern Africa. These critters swarm by the billions and devour the farmers’ vegetables and grains without abandon. Strangely, if you believe the story in PS, the farmers ought to welcome all that nutritious free protein rather than being afraid for their livelihood. Perhaps they could roast the locusts and develop a flourishing export market for the eagerly waiting and bug-eating folks in the Big Apple.
Rather than salivating about “freaking delicious” grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches and friends, kindly permit me to state my preference for some real meat or fish and I will permit you to drool over your insect exoskeletons.
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.
Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.
Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org