No, You Won’t Have to Resort to Eating Insects in the Future

Doesnt it seem like lately every single food-related website is bombarding you with hideous images of piles of crickets or worms being touted as the food of the future?Blech. Eating insects doesnt seem like something to strive for in our future—more like a relic from our less-evolved past.

I get it; as far as protein sources go, eating insects makes for a more humane and less messy option than slaughtering billions of pigs, chickens and cows year after year.

Related: 3 Lies Big Food Wants You to Believe and the Truth Behind Factory-Farmed Meat

I’m not the first to point out that America’s meat obsession has gotten way out of control. Countless studies also point to the inherent benefits of eating fewer meat (and dairy) products. Not to mention the antibiotics and growth hormones fed to these animals to make them grow bigger faster. Or the pesticide and herbicide sprayed GMOs fed to the animals in their unnatural grain diets.

From an environmental standpoint, eating crickets instead of chickens makes sense, too, sort of. Factory farms are extremely damaging to the land, air and water, where insects can be raised in less intensive environments. But is it the most environmentally friendly diet? Recently Mother Jones noted that “universal veganism”—meaning if every human gave up meat, eggs and dairy products—”would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by 17 percent, methane emissions by 24 percent, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent by 2050. Universal vegetarianism would result in similarly impressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

And let’s also not forget that people around the world do eat insects already on a regular basis. But that doesn’t make it any less like…eating insects.

Yes, eating insects may be one answer to factory farming, but so is adopting a vegan diet. Worms and crickets contain protein, but so do less leggy lentils. Chickpeas, avocados, brown rice.

Hopefully our future does contain a lot less meat—not just for our own health, but for the animals too. And even though they’re icky, insects are animals—animals we really don’t need to be eating.

by Jill Ettinger

73 comments

John B.
John B.1 years ago

Thanks for sharing Ms. Ettinger's very interesting article.

Angela P.
Angie P.1 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert2 years ago

Insects will become a component of our diets eventually, but not a majority, at least not in the First World

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Val M.
Val M.2 years ago

Noted

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Oh god no!!!

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Oh god no!!!

Taylor Story
Taylor Story2 years ago

Go vegan– for your health, for the animals, and for the planet. Slaughtering millions upon millions of animals per year for only the sake of our taste buds is cruel and heartless. Taking the lives away from sentient beings, who are innocent, and did nothing wrong, is disgusting. I can't stand the thought of it.

Cosmic Sky
Cosmic P.2 years ago

Sick

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey2 years ago

I don't care whether its humane or not to eat insects. I watched a show called Bizarre Foods. This is a series. The host goes to remote places and eat as the locals do.

Once in Thailand, he ate water beetles. He said they taste just like the nasty, polluted pond they came from.

I have also seen him eat ants(cooked) and he remarked "Not bad".

If I were lost in the woods(or the case of these locals, environmentally challenged), I wouldn't hesitate a minute to eat insects for protein, calories and whatever else is
nutritious about them.

As far as a complete protein? 100% more preferable than forever combining with complementary plants to make a complete protein.

Lentils, avocadoes and brown rice are ALL incomplete proteins. I don't know about the chickpeas. My guess is that it too needs to be combined the way you combine other beans(beans and rice make a complete protein). And you have to eat a lot of it. Plant proteins are not as readily digested and used by the body. Most of it goes down the drain, if you know what I mean.