Crickets and Cholesterol, Crickets and Protein, Crickets and Vitamin B12, Entomophagy

Cricket Food Facts | Advantages

Are you looking for information on why crickets are a good food source? If that’s the case, you can easily understand why if you read this article.

Introduction

Cricket food facts are what I believe to be important to “dip your toe” in. There’s so much to learn regarding crickets as a food source, both in its great nutritional value, in its versatility, as well as in a sustainability perspective.

Not only do we have a lack of knowledge regarding entomophagy but also myths such as insects not being real food, something this article will, and previous ones clearly have demonstrated as false.

For that reason, I have compiled a list of a few cricket food facts. Hopefully, this will answer some of the questions you might have, or clear up any misconceptions.

Being somewhat more specific, you’ll learn a little bit of what entomophagy is, crickets and nutrition (mostly about crickets as a protein source), as well as why crickets are the way to go from a sustainability perspective.

Enjoy!

What does Entomophagy Mean?

Picture of several question marks. One of them is bright red.

Now when you’ve started to show an interest in crickets as a source of food, you’ll both here at kutaan.com, as well as on other places run into the word entomophagy. Needless to say, knowing what it actually means is beneficial.

And well, entomophagy simply means: the practice of eating insects.

Where does the Word “insect” Come from?

Most of us actually know what insects are. In this case, the insect we’re talking about is the cricket. But where does the word insect come from? Could be fun knowing since this too is a word one frequently tends to come across in this subject area.

So, to the answer: the word insect derives from the Latin word insectum.

Insectum, in turn, means: “with a notched or divided body”, literally “cut into sections”, from the fact that insects’ bodies have three parts.

What does Entomology Mean?

Not to be confused with entomophagy is the very similar word entomology.

You see, while entomophagy refers to the practice of eating insects entomology is the: scientific study of insects.

Crickets have a Higher Feed Conversion rate

A woman with a chalk board pointing to the word " E=mc2".

Most of us care about the environment. However, sometimes knowing what’s what, and what it means can be confusing. At least this is the case for me.

This is why I like the feed conversion efficiency measurement. When you look at that you can easily understand why crickets are more environmentally friendly than food sources such as beef.

The root of this way of thinking lies in the fact, livestock, just like us humans need food to grow, live and survive.

For example, how much food is needed for a cow to reach the maximum weight is a feed conversion. Once you compare how much food was needed compared to other animals, you can see which ones are more efficient in converting food into weight gain.

So, if we look at how much feed is needed to produce a 1-kilo weight increase, called the “feed-to-meat” conversion rates, the “green” power of entomophagy will start to show.

Obviously, what kind of animal and production system used matters when doing these calculations. However, the numbers down below are calculated using a typical United States production system.

Needed feed for 1 kilo of live animal weight:

  • Cricket= 1.7 kilos
  • Beef= 10 kilos
  • Chicken= 2.5 kilos
  • Pork= 5 kilos

To be noted, the difference between that of the needed feed for crickets to that of beef is a staggering 8.3 kilos less.

Crickets VS Conventional Livestock– Adjusted Edible Weight

Looking at cricket food facts, we already have enough supporting evidence to see it’s more efficient getting your animal protein from crickets rather than from beef.

What’s more, we do have further evidence supporting the fact crickets do have even more “green” power, compared to its competitors- the conventional livestock.

This is because of the fact the whole animal is normally not eaten. Once we start to look at it from an adjusted edible weight perspective, and the numbers to go with it, the previously mentioned “green” power of crickets is even greater.

Edible and digestible weight percentage comparison:

  • Crickets= 80 percent
  • Cattle= 40 percent
  • Chicken= 55 percent
  • Pigs= 55 percent

What this simply means is that the you can eat twice the amount of the cricket compared to cattle.

The Efficiency of Crickets

So, we’ve seen the very stark contrast between how much feed is needed in order to produce 1 kilo weight increase in crickets compared to other livestock.

But we have one more factor to consider before claiming victory for crickets when it comes to sustainability. That being the above-mentioned factors; edible and digestible weight.

When putting these factors together, the difference in the feed to meat rate is even higher, as we’ll see in the list down below.

The efficiency of crickets compared to conventional livestock.

  • 1200 % more efficient than cattle
  • 400 % more efficient than pigs
  • 200 % more efficient than chicken

In the end, crickets being 1200 % more efficient than cattle into converting feed to meat just goes to show how much greener this wonderful protein source is.

Cricket-Flour VS Beef – A Protein Density Comparison

Whenever we hear the word “protein” our minds almost immediately shifts our minds towards red meat. We’ve been told so many times from so many various sources that this is where one finds protein. And who can blame them? After all, it’s very much true this is where you find protein dense food.

That being said, I thought it would be fitting to see which one is the more protein dense, cricket-flour or beef.

And to what I assume will be to your surprise, it’s cricket-flour.

I for one would say that’s pretty cool.

Now, protein in edible insects vary, looking at a fresh weight basis, 7% to 48% per 100 grams consists out of protein. This we can compare with beef, which lands at 19%–26% per 100 grams.

Although, we have one more thing to consider, which is the fact most people don’t consume crickets as is but as powders, bars etcetera.

When we do this the advantages of crickets as a source of protein becomes even more obvious, especially if one keeps in mind the feed conversion efficency stated earlier.

To prove my point, the 19%–26% per 100 grams protein content of beef doesn’t change since you cook it and then eat it. Protein from crickets, on the other hand, can be seen on as “dry basis”, or dry weigt, meaning how much protein dried, ground up crickets contain- e.i cricket-flour.

Since crickets most of the time are consumed as flours/powders it’s only fair to compare the two protein sources, crickets and beef, in their respective, most common state in which they are eaten.

Protein comparison:

  • Lean cooked beef: 19-26% per 100 grams
  • Male crickets, dry matter: 66.3-69.6 g per 100 grams
  • Female crickets, dry matter: 61.2-64.9 per 100 grams

A quick look at the numbers shows us there’s more than twice the amount of protein in crickets than there’s in beef.

Clearly, these numbers are staggeringly great from both a health perspective as well as from a sustainability perspective.

Undoubtedly, this is the protein source of the future.

Crickets & Nutrition

Fruits and vegetables.

As I’m sure your’e well aware, there’s a seemingly never ending list of what’s not good for us and what is. Unfortunately, this leads many of us, myself included, to wanting to throw ups ones hands in the air and go “I’ve had it, nothing’s good your you, I won’t bother anymore”.

However, today we won’t do that, we’ll stick it out. We simply have too much to loose out on if we don’t investigate what crickets can do for our health.

That being said, and as I think you would agree, from where and what kind of nutrition we get is of most importance. However, so many of us are not thought the importance of being knowledgable when it comes to our fuel, our food.

Fortunately, if you’re reading this, you’re one of the people who seek out knowladge about food.

And first thing for you to know is that insects in general are a great source of nutrition.

You’ll find both macronutrients and micronutrients in crickets. One macronutrient I thought we’d do over is the very popular protein, as well as the much talked about micronutrient vitamin B12.

Crickets & Protein – The Health Benefits

Surely protein must be one of the most talked about nutrients out there. And of course it’s of great importance, especially if you’re a physically active person.

If you go to the gym and want to build muscle and don’t get enough protein in your diet, chances are there’s not going to be a lot of muscle building.

As a matter of fact, protein is needed by your body in order for it to function, grow and develop.

Moreover, you need protein in order to help your body make new cells and repair old ones. It’s also important for growth and development in children, teens as well as pregnant women.

Undoubtably, there’s plenty of reasons not to skip out on protein.

Some of those reasons include:

  • Stabilizing your blood sugar levels
  • Improvement in your ability to learn and concentrate
  • Reducing brain fog
  • Boost energy levels
  • It supports the absorbtion of important nutrients

As I have stated many times on this blog, a good diet here at Kutaan.com consists of a lot plant-based food sources together with an entomophagous diet.

Clearly, all of us need to eat a lot of more vegetables.

Sadly, the fact of the matter is the ones of us who are serious about eating enough vegetables often tend to forget about having enough protein in our diet. If you incorporate crickets or cricket-flour in your diet you can get enough protein. This way you avoid turing your hands towards that bowl of chips.

And by the way, from someone who’s had a lot of issues with brain fog, I can attest to the fact protein keeps the “fogginess” away.

Cricket protein & Your Cholesterol

Investigating the benefits of crickets as a food source and the benefits to ones health it brings is a challenge. Not because there’s a lack of data out there regarding bugs as a source of food. No no, on the contrary, academia seems to have caught the “bug-bite” of entomophagy.

As a result, the academic journals are filled with the health and sustainability benefits of crickets.

One study which piqued my interest was the relation cricket diets had on cholesterol. Cholesterol something almost all of us know having too much is bad for you, and a danger to your health and wellbeing.

Now, the bad cholesterol is called LDL. It can cause blockages, due to the fact it collects on the walls of your blood vessels. And the higher level of LDL, the greater the chances are for a heart attack.

Obviously, this is something all of us wants to avoid.

Well, you needn’t worry anymore. The study found that rats fed on a cricket diet lower serum LDL cholesterol concentration of rats.

The study ends by saying: “This finding is of relevance because a high serum level of LDL cholesterol is implicated in increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. These insects are therefore nutritious and safe for consumption.”

Needless to say, you’re here for cricket food facts, and not to become a “cricket encyclopedia”. However, since we’re talking about protein in crickets, learning a little bit about amino acids will take us a long way. This will provide us with solid proof of the superiority of cricket protein.

Crickets & Amino Acids

See, protein consists out of amino acids. We have 2 types of amino acids. One being essential amino acids, the other, nonessential amino acids. There’s a total of 20 amino acids.

Essential amino acids can be categorized as the amino acids you’ll need to get from food.

There’s 9 of them:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Arginine is essential during times of rapid growth, when not, it’s a nonessential amino acid.

Nonessential amino acids, on the other hand, are amino acids which our bodies can produce themselves, hence we don’t need to get them from food.

And of those, there are 10:

  • Alanine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartate
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

Now when we know proteins consists out of amino acids we can begin to understand the superiority of cricket-based protein.

Crickets & Complete Proteins

Now, there are complete and incomplete proteins. And this is where the above-mentioned amino acids comes into play.

See, complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids needed. Meanwhile incomplete proteins lacks one or more of the essential amino acids.

And if you remember, essential amino acids means amino acids the body itself can’t make. Hence the importance of getting them from food.

While it very much is true we don’t need complete proteins at every meal, since you can combine different incomplete protein foods during the day (some say it doesn’t even need to be under the course of a day), knowing you’ve had a meal where you get all of them could put your mind at ease. At least that’s the case for me, I like to start off my day with a protein-rich breakfast, the reason to why is something I mention in the article: “ENTOMOPHAGY AND INTERMITTENT FASTING“.

This is also why people like to talk about good protein sources, like meat and dairy products, since they contain all the essential amino acids the body itself can’t produce.

Sadly, this is where crickets or cricket-based products are forgotten about, because you see, crickets contain all the essential amino acids, just like meat and dairy does.

In other words, crickets or cricket-based products contain complete proteins.

In my view, cricket protein is a superior form of protein source since A, it contains complete proteins and B, it’s more environmentally friendly than other protein sources such as beef. It’s a “green” protein if you will.

How Much Protein do You Need?

You’ve learned all these protein-related cricket food facts and typically this is where you go “well, you didn’t tell me how much protein I need”.

Obviously, just like with everything else health related, this too is a subject where one can spend a significant amount of time on. However, we will keep it short and simple.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), tells us you need 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

RDAs are defined in as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that, on the basis of scientific knowledge, are judged by the (US) Food and Nutrition Board to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons.

Now, you may need more or less depending on the circumstances. For example, if you are physically active you might need more, and perhaps less if you have a sedentary lifestyle. At least that’s my interpretation on protein needs.

To be noted, how much protein we need is of ongoing debate, every day, all days of the year by various dieticians, nutritionists, bodybuilders, fitness personalities, etcetera. Hopefully, the above-mentioned numbers of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight will at least serve as some sort of reference point.

For your convenience, I’ve put a “Protein calculator” down below. Just enter your height and so on and you’ll get a quick answer of how much protein you need.

Crickets & Vitamin B12

vitamin pills.

Cricket food facts don’t start and stop with protein. Cricket-based products are a nutritional powerhouse and incorporate much more than protein.

That’s why I bring up vitamin B12, vital for your health and well-being.

Typically, vitamin B12 is something we are thought comes from animal protein such as chicken or beef. And while that’s very much truth they contain vitamin B12, many of us forget about the fact insects such as crickets do too.

Vitamin B12 Health Benefits

Once we start to feel like there’s something wrong with us we tend to go to the doctor. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, however, when doing that we tend to forget about other vital aspects such as diet and how it effects us.

Way to few doctors take diet seriously enough and quite frankly don’t know much about it.

The reason why I bring this up is due to the fact many of us feel fatigued, have low energy and mood swings. In order to fix this, you might not need the little white pill from the doctor’s office. I could be related to your diet.

If that’s the case, perhaps it could be low vitamin B12 levels.

Some health dieaticians, chiropractors, health gurus even claim roughly 40 percent of the population suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.

In other words, it’s a serious problem since the areas where B12 will benefit you include:

  • Mood (Although, if being a sour-puss is your idea of what will benefit you, then it’s probably not for you). Sorry, this is just me trying to be funny…
  • Energy level, Superman someone?
  • Memory, which is great if you want to stop feeling like a goldfish
  • Your hair, Pocahontas?
  • Digestion

Moreover, vitamin B12 is also essential when it comes to several metabolic functions such as:

  • DNA synthesis
  • Enzyme production
  • Hormonal balance
  • Keeping a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system

Being hormonal and feeling like a goldfish stops being funny when you realize you’ve put your newly washed socks in the fridge. – The author.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Because of my previous life of eating and drinking the wrong food and drinks, I ended up at the doctors office, a specialist even. This experience made me come to the conclusion that doctors don’t know everything, even though they are pretty smart.

Nowadays when I feel something might be up I try to educate myself. That’s why aside from the above-mentioned side affects of a vitamin B12 deficiency, I thought I would ad some to the list.

So, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency could include:

  • Continually feeling tired or chronic fatigued
  • Poor memory- remember the goldfish?
  • A poor appetite
  • The feeling of dizziness, which is not cool unless you’re a woman living in Victorian times

With a more serious B12 deficiency, something called pernicious anemia can occour which is a serious condition.

Pernicious anemia can cause:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion- bear in mind, some people like myself are regularly confused, it doesn’t mean I suffer from pernicious anemia
  • And in the long run even dementia

Crickets, Vitamin B12 & Weight Loss

Since my friends know I’m in the business of entomophagy, promoting and selling cricket powder I’ve been asked many things in regards to crickets, hence the headline “Cricket food facts”.

Basically, the question I get, mostly from female friends, is: can cricket powder help me lose weight?

And the answer to that question is: yes, my personal experience tells me it can. Again, I urge you to read the article “ENTOMOPHAGY AND INTERMITTENT FASTING” where you can find out more about this subject.

However, one thing not brought up in that article is the subject of vitamin B12 and weight loss.

So, can vitamin B12 help you lose weight? The answer is both yes and no. Needless to say, it’s not a miracle pill. It can, however, aid you in your quest for weight loss.

And the train of thought goes a little bit like this:

Since B12 is benefiting your metabolism by converting the carbohydrates to glucose your body can use for energy, not having enough B12 might lead you to feel fatigued.

Secondly, neurotransmitter signaling is also something vitamin B12 is needed for which helps your muscles contract, it gives you energy and you won’t have to go through the day feeling spent.

Maintaining and losing weight, feeling tuckered out along with the previously mentioned symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency does not help when we’re trying to create the body we are comfortable with.

Along these lines are the tracks upon where the train of thought run. And along these lines do I come to the conclusion vitamin B12 can aid you in this quest for a better body, as well as a sharper, more enduring mind.

The Power of Entomophagy

The fact is cricket powder brings us a lot of environmentally friendly, high-quality protein, as well as vitamin B12, cricket powder also comes with a lot of other nutrients, but that’s for another article.

Hopefully, by now you are well aware entomophagy, eating insects, is not for “barbarians”, but rather the “new” food.

We see the establishment of a whole new industry bringing us factories, jobs, new research areas, and ultimately, a healthier, happier people. A better world if you will.

Naturally, cricket food facts entail much more than protein and vitamin B12. Like stated before, it comes with a lot of other nutrients, like iron.

This is the power of entomophagy.

The history of entomophagy is a long one. One might even wonder why it hasn’t caught on big time. I’m sure there are many reasons to why that might be. However, I’ve written an article called “BUGS AS A SOURCE OF FOOD” where I ask the questions why, except for the almost 2 billion people who regularly engage in entomophagy, how come it’s not part of the lives of people in Europe and its cousin-countries across the world?

As it turns out, there is a solid historical explanation to this. So, if you’re interested I highly suggest you check it out.

Crickets & the Mineral Iron

A close-up of blood.

I’m of course talking about the essential mineral and not the construction material iron. Iron is a micronutrient contained in crickets and our cricket powder. Actually, as it turns out, it’s quite an important nutrient.

As we all know, hopefully, is that oxygen is important. And hopefully, we all know what happens without it. With this fact in mind, iron starts to show its appeal.

You see, one of the main reasons we need iron is due to the fact it helps transport oxygen throughout our bodies.

To hemoglobin, iron plays an important part. Hemoglobin is the substance which transports the red blood cells from your lungs to the rest of your body, like your muscles and brain.

Say we don’t have enough of this vital mineral, well, then we won’t have enough to make enough healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells.

Iron deficency anemia is when you have a lack of red blood cells andalmost 10% of American women have an iron defeciency.

When you don’t get enough oxygen in your body you’ll become tired.

The lack of healthy blood cells in your body can result in exhaustion where your brain might not function as it should be. Even more, your immune system might be compromised, resulting in it being less capable of fighting off infections.

Furthermore, iron is also needed in order to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.

By the way, ladies, don’t waste your money on beauty products. Instead, focus on getting all the nutrition you need. That way you stay healthy and as a bonus, you save money because that money will no longer be needed for the nail salon or the aforementioned beauty products.

A lack of nutrient dense food is what causes us to have broken nails and bad skin and not a lack of expensive creams.

Crickets & Society

Hands holding a an earth globe.

One of the more notable things about crickets, or insects in general, is that they are full of nutrition.

Something sought after both in the developed world as well as in less fortunate places is to maximize nutritional intake.

Not only can we enrich the diet for the developed world through entomophagy, but actually benefit ourselves.

I would even go so far as to argue we in the developed word have a moral responsibility to drive this kind of food culture forward. As it is us with the purchasing power to bring entomophagy to the world stage lies.

In the end, as more and more people are getting over the “eew-factor”, possibilities arise from this seemingly new source of food.

Those possibilities include both economic and social factors. This since getting started with insect harvesting/rearing is a low-tech and low capital investment. Entry into this business will be open to the poorer sections of society, like women and the landless.

Moreover, insect rearing and gathering can be done not only by rural people but by urban people as well.

With this I leave you, and hope you have a cricket day 🙂

Sources:

The book: “Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security

Be part of the new food revolution:

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