Insects for Dinner

The current wisdom of thought leaders in the world of food is that insects will become the food of the future. Apparently, they believe that it's easier to get people to eat insects than it is to get people to give up meat. And of course, there is some sweet revenge, maybe a little karma in the whole thing as we think about summer days sitting by the pool trying to swat mosquitoes or thinking about outdoor picnics waving away the flies that want to grab a piece of our food. And who wouldn't love to eat that bee or wasp that just stung us?

Yes, eating insects may be a sustainable food source, but I see two problems with it. First, I'm not a biologist, but I am pretty sure that insects are not plants.  From my freshman biology days, I seem to remember that there are two kingdoms in biology. There's the plant kingdom and there's the animal kingdom. So, if we can all agree that insects are not plants, then it must be that insects are animals.

Right away, if you're vegan out of concern for the animals, then that leaves eating insects out of the picture. But it may take insects out of the picture from a health standpoint too. That's because the protein in insects is animal protein, and we know from the works of Dr. T. Colin Campbell that it's animal protein that makes us sick. So, before eating insects, we might want to ascertain if that's the case with insects as well.

There is good news however. Insects are mostly under 10% fat. That's quite low for an animal and well within the guidelines for a low fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. So, based on fat content alone, insects could be acceptable to eat. But you have to remember, they haven't started farming insects yet. Once that starts and the food industry works at fattening the insects up, there's no telling where their fat content will end up.

But there's another concern I have. Very few, if any of us other than a drunken fraternity student or two, will find it appetizing to munch down on a dragonfly or cricket without doing something to the dragonfly or cricket first. And that means processing it, which tells you everything you need to know about why food companies might be behind this kind of move. And you better believe that right now they are. There's laboratories all geared up searching for that right combination of fat, sugar and salt to make that dragonfly or cricket taste not just good but something you might be willing to die for.

And guess what? When they find that right combination of fat, sugar and salt and start to market that delectable item, you will be dying for it.

So yes, it's true what the experts tell us. Crickets really are 12 times more efficient than cattle at converting plant foods into calories. So, if that's your only choice, then crickets are the better deal. But as long as plants are around, that's the even better deal. And plants will be around as long as cattle and crickets are around because plants are what cattle and crickets eat. Does that make cattle and crickets smarter than we are?

Sometimes I wonder.