Sunday, 13 November 2016

World's Most Unusual Protein Snacks


I know this whole thing is going to sound strange, but stick with it and you may be pleasantly surprised!  
 
Have you ever considered that there may be some alternative protein sources out there, aside from animal and plant based sources? Well, i'm going to talk to you guys today about eating insects…yes you heard right actually eating insects…

I have done a lot of research for my MSc dissertation into entomophagy (eating insects) and it appears that the protein content actually rivals that of whey, chicken and beef. Now I’m not suggesting we go ‘I’m a celeb’ style and look under a rock to find our food, but would you even notice if you ate a protein snack that contained insect flour instead of whey? I don’t think we would!

What are some unusual protein snack sources?
Insect protein may be in the form of whole crickets or spiders, a great protein snack right…? Maybe not. However, if you look at the bigger picture, insects can easily be ground down into a powder like substance very similar to that of whey protein. This insect protein powder can then be added into other protein snacks and blends, such as your favourite protein brownies or cookies. This then wouldn’t be too unusual to us. Mix in some other yummy ingredients such as chocolate or nuts and this will be one tasty protein snack.

In the research I conducted for my Master’s degree, over half of the participants agreed that insects could be a great protein alternative to animal sources, with a further third of the population stating they would be willing to use solely insect protein in their diet. They stated the reason for this would be to increase their health and contribute to a better environment. Reducing the demand on livestock for protein can reduce global gas emissions by 100 times and increase land space availability, thus increasing food sustainability for the future. The farming of insects also uses up to 2000 less gallons of water per lb than the rearing of cows.

Eighty percent of the world are already eating insects as protein snacks, so why aren’t
 we?

Commonly consumed insects include locusts, caterpillars and crickets. The nutritional information for the most commonly consumed insects are shown below.
Insect
kcal per 100g
Protein *
% Fat
Locust Flour
436
47.5
22.9
Cricket
117
13.7
5.3
Witchetty Grub
417
13.2
36.2
Silkworm
229
23.1
14.2
Caterpillar
458
66.6
13.9
Beetle
192
27.1
3.7
(Bukkens, 1997)
*crude protein value (total nitrogen content)

As you can see the protein content, of locust flour for example, beats that of most of our most popular protein snacks. In addition, insects contain all essential amino acids.
Do you think that next time you reach for your favourite protein cookie you may think again...?