Why You Should Eat Bugs

Why You Should Eat Bugs

[MUSIC PLAYING] The cricket. The dried-up cricket. You want to see it? That’s a real– that’s
the real deal right there. Um, Craig, did
you just eat a bug? Yep. It’s good. I like it. It’s not bad. I actually like it. That’s tasty. I think anyone would like these. Anyone. Anyone with good taste buds. OK. Maybe I’ll just saying what
everybody’s thinking, but why? This episode is all
about the future of food. Why would you eat a
bug when you could eat a burger made of pea protein? Bugs are already here,
and they’re plentiful, and they may become a
bigger part of our diet. And for good reason. That sounds gross. Just give it some time. You’ll come around. A lot of the world already has. I went to the Peggy Notebaert
Nature Museum in Chicago and talked to Steve
Sullivan, Curator of Urban Ecology and Bug Connoisseur. Does a lot of the
world eat bugs already? Oh, yeah. A lot of the world eats bugs. I’ve done field research
in South Africa where the mopane worm–
which is basically the caterpillar of a little
gypsy moth-like thing– forms, in some cases, the
majority of the animal protein that those people get. I lived in Southeast
Asia for awhile and bugs are just sort of a
normal part of what you might choose to eat in a given day. OK. So a lot of people throughout
the world eat bugs. Fine! But just because
they’re doing it, doesn’t mean I necessarily
want to jump on the bug wagon. Fair enough. But in the end it doesn’t really
matter, because you’ve already eaten plenty of bugs. When was the first
time you ate bugs? Well, I’m sure the first
time I ate baby food here in the United States. Because bugs really
are so ubiquitous that it’s impossible to remove
them from our food chain. And so, in fact,
all processed food is going to contain
some amount of bug. Peanut butter is pretty bad. The FDA can detect
up to 30 fragments per 100 grams of peanut
butter and not do anything. And then chocolate
is double that. [GAGGING AND SPITTING] And you say bad, but is it
bad that we’re eating bugs? No, it’s actually not bad. I mean, it doesn’t affect
us health-wise at all. It’s just a little bit of
extra protein mixed in there. Why didn’t I get a candy bar? Why should people eat bugs? Bugs really are an
efficient source of protein. In some respects bugs–
we can say they’re sort of like animated soybeans. It’s just a little
package of protein that you can do all
sorts of things with. On average it takes
about 10 pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef. However with that
same amount of feed you can produce 6 pounds
of edible insect protein. You can also eat a much larger
percentage of an insect’s body. Only 40% of a cow
is edible, compared to 80 percent of a cricket. Bugs are very
sustainable because they eat very low on the food chain. Bugs eat things that we won’t
eat or that we can’t eat, things like wood– termites are
an excellent source of protein and they taste pretty
good, and they’ll eat wood. Nothing else really
can eat wood. Rich societies have often
enjoyed eating things like cow or very large
ungulate, but raising those giant slabs of protein
is very resource-intensive. On average, producing
one pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of
water, whereas one pound of insect protein only
requires one gallon of water. Cows need a lot of land, too. Almost two full acres
of land is needed for each cow being raised, and
it takes about 18 to 22 months for a cow to fully mature. On the other hand, 55
to 65 pounds of crickets can be contained in a small
four by eight foot pen and can be harvested
every six weeks. And so what this means
is there’s less pollution, basically, as a result
of that, and there’s less habitat destruction. We worry about things like CO2
emissions and stuff like this. And ultimately, by eating
lower on the food chain, all of those things–
they’re not eliminated, but they’re mitigating. They’re significantly
less impact. People associate
bugs with disease. Can’t you get diseases
from eating bugs? Is that more– is it more
unsanitary in some way? I guess I would say that’s
very species-specific. So if you consider
something like pig there are a lot of cultures
around the world that have prohibitions against pig. Now, sometimes that
prohibition is simply, we don’t do this because
we don’t do this, but at other times it
is for health reasons. And of course pigs, because of
the things they eat and the way they live they have a
whole variety of parasites, that if we eat those
we can get them. Bugs have many of the same
kinds of parasites and bacteria, but the cool thing
is is, we humans, we invented this
thing called fire. Flamage. I’ve heard of it. It’s this thing
that we oftentimes forget the benefits of fire. All we have to do is take
this thing and cook it, and when you cook it to the
right internal temperature, it’s safe to eat. All right. Those seem like
really good reasons to start chowing down on some
of our six-legged friends, but it still seems pretty gross. Why is that? Why are we so grossed
out about bugs? Well, I think that has a lot
to do with cultural training. You know, we went
through the ’50s where everything had to
be perfectly sanitary, and bugs were viewed as icky. [SCREAMING] And, you know, if
you go back in sort of a Eurocentric cultural
perspective, things like lobsters–
those are disgusting. You know, when the
pilgrims came to America they might use lobsters as
fertilizer for their crops, but they would never
deign to eat one. Lobster is delicious. Lobster is delicious, but it
takes a certain cultural change for us to be able to look at
that and say, this is food, versus, this is foreign. A lot of times we
think of eating bugs as eating that whole thing,
the whole body of the animal. But you know,
when’s the last time we ate the whole body of a cow? You know, sometimes
we have pig roasts, but even then you’re
taking select portions. So for the most part,
when we’re eating bugs, I think from a
culinary standpoint it’s better to just
incorporate them as an ingredient and not
really as a whole carcass of something. So did you like it
when you first ate it? Um, I did have some of
that cultural baggage. Mm-hm. And so I had to take my
intellectual knowledge and say, I know this is safe to eat and
I can see other people eating it and they’re enjoying
it, and I ate it. It was a little bit weird. You know, sometimes those
exoskeletons are creepy and if you get a leg stuck in
your teeth that’s just gross. But upon reflection and sort
of disassociating myself from the bug I said, you
know, this is kind of fun. It’s crunchy. We love crunchy. It’s got sort of a
smokey, musky flavor. Well, we love that. And so there’s not
really any good excuse that I could come up
with for not liking bugs. So we really need
to look at food as both a source of
nutriment for ourselves to grow our bodies, but also as
a source of adventure and fun and sociality. And once we look
at that, then we realize there’s a
whole panoply of things that we can eat that we
haven’t thought of before. We’re going to be cooking
up some really fun bugs here and you’ll taste that, not only
does the individual species taste different, but also
the preparation techniques can change the flavor. And they can really add
some vibrancy to the food that you eat. Well, let’s go eat some bugs. All right. [MUSIC PLAYING] So what have we here? Here we have the insects
that we’re going to eat. Right here we have the
dry-roasted crickets. This is after they’ve been
baked in the oven at 200 degrees for 45 minutes. You can crush them
up into a powder and mix them in with the flour
now, or we just directly– I directly pressed
them into some cookies. These are the cookies? Yep, that’s the cookie. It’s a chocolate chirp cookie. Chocolate chirp cookie. I see what you did there. And here we have our mealworms. So these were going to
boil for three minutes and then deep fry for
another three minutes. I’m a little
appetized right now. I’m actually getting hungry. They already kind of look
like French fries, don’t they? Yeah. And then here we
have the Chapulines. This is a Mexican grasshopper. I purchased them from a
Mexican grocery already cooked, but we’ll fry them up with some
veggies and make them tastier. OK. Which– what is that? So these are the wax worms
that we were talking about. What we’re doing right here is
what we– is the gut-loading. They’ll eat the fruit
and then they’ll also tunnel into this meal. And so they’re all in here. They’re just surrounded
by food– their food. Yep. They live in their food. That’s kinda– that’s
kind of heaven, isn’t it? So right now we’re going
to make our appetizer, and that is the mealworm fries. Ooh. Deep fried bugs. Now, if you don’t
boil them first they’re not going to fry right. Shove this in. Some people might be watching
and being like, ew, onion. They’re going to eat onion? They’re gross. Go for it. OK. This is the meat of the taco. It’s going to be mostly these. All right. This is going to be a very
thick grasshopper taco. Where’s my bugs? Oh yeah. And then we’ve
got a bit of the– Maybe a little more Stir-fried wax worms here. OK. And make sure to get
some of the liquid. That’ll infuse the rice
with a good flavor. Probably should have given
you a bigger plate, you know? And, of course, we should have
a little bit of appetizer here. Ah. A little mealworm appetizer. OK. I will have one. Pretty good, huh? It’s not bad. It’s really not bad at all. Similar to a perfect
fast food French fry, it’s got a crispy outside
and a soft inside. Yeah. It’s totally a good snack. Mm-hm. Yeah, you can see
most of these insects, they have kind of
a mellow flavor. Yeah. That’s not bad at all. That’s really good. Are we going to go taco or
are we going to go stir fry? OK. I’m going to get some bug
on there, some wax worm. All right, here goes. Very good. It’s got a cool texture. It does pop a little bit. Well, and that’s
part of the reason that I like this particular
dish for something like this, because the
textures really blend. All right. I never eat in such a
coordinated manner with people. [LAUGHING] It’s almost like a team sport. Yeah. Ready? Hm. Crunchy. It’s good. There’s a good crunch to it. It’s kind of like– it’s kind
of like an al pastor taco. Sure. That’s kind of what it tastes
like, but a little crunchier. Mm. Oh Yeah. That’s good. Seriously, if you didn’t tell
somebody that this was bugs, they would be fine
eating this, I’m sure. Oh yeah. As the population grows and
as we create more problems based on our current
system, do you see a possible future where we
have bugs more in our cuisine? Whether or not
we want to, we’re going to need to turn to
additional sources of protein. And so I think
insects will become a more prominent, more common
feature of the average diet. Well, I’m going to try to eat
a lot more bugs after this. Hopefully we’ve shown you
the simple techniques so that you can bring them home
and cook them up easily. Everything was great. This was a great meal. I thought bugs
were pretty tasty, but what do you guys think? Have you ever had bugs before? Did you like them? Would you consider making bugs
a regular part of your diet? Let us know in the comments. Well, I’m convinced. I’m going to start doubling
my bug intake right now. [SIGHING] Kind of missed the point. Where are you going? So last week we asked
you what you guys thought about Beyond Meat and
plant-based meat products. Here’s what you guys had to say. VoilaTada and a number
of you were concerned about the price of them. And it is true that
Beyond Meat’s products do cost generally more
than regular meat. This is a good point. And if beyond meat really wants
to solve the climate problem and shift people away
from animal-based meat to plant-based meat,
they’re going to figure out how to lower the price. Beyond Meat is still
a young company, so this may eventually happen
as production techniques improve and more competitors
enter the market. However, I think a big
question we should be asking is, why is meat so
cheap to begin with? In the US a lot of
government subsidies go into the meat and
dairy industries, which is partially why the
price can be kept so low. And a lot of cows are fed
on a diet mostly of corn, which is also subsidized. So if you think about
it, even though the price tag on that mean is lower,
we’re still paying for it in our tax dollars. Not to mention the
additional cost to the environment and the
quality of life of the animal, if you’re concerned about that. But that’s a different topic. Now, if you compare the price
of Beyond Meat’s products to grass-fed hormone-free
beef or free-range chicken, it’s a lot closer. And who knows, maybe
someday those sweet, sweet government
subsidies will go to plant-based meat producers. Hm. Or to me someday. I can dream. Subsidize me! BGOODEful asked if we had any
stats on how much water is used or how much greenhouse
gases are emitted through Beyond Meat’s process
versus the meat production process. We asked Beyond
Meat and they said it takes about 80
gallons of water to make one pound
of the Beast Burger, which is a lot less than the
1,500 to 2,500 gallons it takes to make one pound
of regular beef. As for greenhouse
gas emissions, we don’t have any exact
numbers, but when you’re looking at the total
emissions from meat production, you have to take
into account raising the livestock and the
transportation and the process there as well as raising
the feed for them. So there’s transportation
and processing there as well. So in Beyond Meat’s
process you’re basically taking out
one half of that. You’re taking out
all the livestock. So like any industrial
process, there’ll still be greenhouse gas
emissions, just a lot less. 85.2 FM and
therandomsciencegirl pointed out that most of
the methane cattle produce comes from the mouth and
not from the other end– the tuchus. We actually did not know that. Thank you. But we maintain that farts
are funnier than burps, so we made sure to go that
route for the animation. [FART NOISE] That’s all. Thank you for all the great
questions and comments. Yeah. I think that’s probably
the most questions and comments we’re ever
gotten for a video, so really good job there. Yeah. Keep it up. You did a good job
answering as well. You know, I like to think
I’m good at answering stuff. I was kind of hoping for
a reciprocal sort of, I did a good job as well, but– You did– you did OK.

100 thoughts on “Why You Should Eat Bugs”

  1. Honestly, the only obstacle in my path to a bug stir fry is the cost! Upon a google search of WHERE I could buy bugs to eat, all I get is pest control and the alternative, a website, which sells 6 grams of ants for £3! In terms of daily usage, 1kg of [insert edible insect] flour for the same price would be about reasonable for a full conversion. Considering the much less energy intensive farming of bugs, the overall cost must also be lower. So the only reason bugs could be this expensive in UK is because of the lack of demand. But hopefully the tide will turn and bugs will be a more accessible item on my grocery list.

  2. Reading the comment section really uplifted my spirits about the potential for change and the quality of open-mindedness.

  3. I'm an adventurous eater, and I have always wanted to try culinary dishes with insects. Hell, most of them can't taste bad because most animals live off them, as well as humans. I think it would be a great way to start helping our planet by lowering greenhouse emissions from all the energy, fresh water, resources and land we use up just to raise larger animals for their protein…and let's not forget the waste we make while doing all this.

  4. we have to downregulate the consumption and production of meat and dairy. immediately. it is not sustainable as it is right now. this shit is insane. we have put animals into concentration camps where they produce miserable food which makes us miserable. we have to break this convention of meat and dairy. it has broken the back of our societies. all healthy societies consume less milk and meat.

  5. I don't eat bugs because I live in a place where no one likes to eat bugs and therefore it is not profitable to sell edible bugs to me.

  6. I actually really wish this was a widespread, normal thing. Bugs make so much sense as a protein source and are pretty tasty.

  7. Eat vegan instead. More sustainable, healthier, no creatures harmed. Even insects feel and think like any other animal.

  8. I wouldn’t mind eating bugs if I cant visually see it like I can still see eyes, legs, would have to be really crushed up. That taco looks good though

  9. I'd like to try insects especially crickets and scorpion I don't know why people are so against it they get into most foods anyway so chances are you've ate them without knowing. Also even if humans don't eat them because of predispositions insects could be used to feed farmed reptiles we could then eat, I mean it just makes sense to farm insects whether for direct consumption or feeding other things we must start eating if our pollution perpetuates at the current rate.

  10. I started to raise meal worms to feed my local birds but after reading more into my hobby i have discovered unforeseen benefits than I originally intended. The Bugs make fertilizer for my garden and they can also sustain me if I need protein. I usually buy 50 lbs bags of wheat bran from my local pet supplier for about 10 dollars and with that I gain most of that in plant fertilizer(Frass) and a possible food source if need be. It's kind of a no brainer that we can supplement our animal meats with insects and I think we would be helping our Eco-system tremendously. I'm all for this.

  11. I ate bugs once in China. I was not a fan, but I was also about 14 at the time, so my palate was based more on an imaginary "gross" factor.

  12. The first time I tried to consume bugs (fully cooked) was in China. They looked appetizing on a dish. My favorite bugs to eat are fried grasshoppers, fried crickets/cicadas, and silkworms. They taste really good if seasoned well.

  13. If we are serious about heading off-planet for any truly extended period of time (e.g. colonising Mars) I”m absolutely convinced that cultivating, maintaining and consuming bugs is not only practical, but probably essential considering weight, space and resource costs. At least in the early stages.

  14. I don't want to eat it…….but I'm sure it is something we have to consume in the future…….But I'll eat it before it eats me!

  15. I ate loooots of Bugs when I traveled through Southeast Asia (mainly Thailand and Vietnam). If done right, they taste really good.

  16. Bugs, Seaweed, Potatoes, Jams, Taro, Maniok, Grain, Corn, Rice, Quinoa, Jellyfish…all these things could save world hunger !!!!

  17. As a South African I feel the need to correct this guy, yes we do eat the Mopani worm, dead and dried. But it does NOT form part of our protein diet. It's a delicacy only, no one here "live off it". We eat, fish, meat, poultry. Dude, we have a Macdonald and a KFC in nearly every town. Stop it

  18. The first time I ate a bug pretty much went like this:

    Before: Eww, it still has the shell on it?

    After: (crunchcrunchcrunchcrunch) What do you mean “yOu OnLy HaVe OnE”?

  19. We give our chickens freeze dried meal worms. I snagged a few. They taste like a slightly woody potato chip.

  20. I don't think eating insects is are a very good idea. To produce 100 kilograms of insect meat we need millions of insects, compared to one cow. We can estimate how much insects can suffer compared to cows by looking at the number of neurons, and it seems that cows have about 10^4-10^5 more neurons than insects, so there is a factor between 10 and 100 here. This probably results in a lot more suffering in insect farming, unless it turns out to be really easy to make insects suffer less, without using a lot more land or other resources.

    Land and water use are very important factors in making agriculture sustainable, but we can better focus all our efforts on making our diet as much plant-based as possible.

  21. When we used to camp i would go off into the woods and catch these fat bettles and burned them they tasted like dry shrimp

  22. You know a lot of people will wanna go Raw bugan to get the full nutritional value ,cause evil fire destroys it.Free meals on the grill of my car,Allucaneat…for desert come lick my windshield clean

  23. with all those bugs how do you know you aren't getting get one that isnt contaminated with a dangerous bacteria or parasite?

  24. My next YouTube search: "Recipes using insects" and then "how to raise insects for human consumption at home".

  25. I live in Southern Africa. Traditionally prepared mopani worms are not my favourite, but then again, neither are many flavours of crisps bought from the store; it depends on how you cook the mopani worms, & what ways you flavour them.
    I love tomatoes but my housemate will only eat them when I cook them in specific ways.
    When I get ants in my food, or other insects in my ingredients, then I just cook them as is (weevils LOVE my curry powder), but I will NOT allow flies to do backstroke in my soup! …Without cooking them first. No seriously, in 3rd world areas flies are DISGUSTING due to sanitary issues…but their larvae can be intentionally contained so that they do not get any form of contaminant on them before you cook them.

  26. To overcome the "social issue", take the guest's advice & travel…pretty much anywhere except North America & Europe (you are the strange ones). South America eats them, so does Africa & Asia (I don't personally know about Australia yet).

  27. Ive ordered some crickets a few days ago and they're supposed to arrive tomorrow, and I'm so hyped already!

  28. Lobster was fed to prison inmates before the rich decided eating it themselves. The main reason poor people eat bugs is because there's nothing else.

  29. I like eating roasted locust. When I was a kid , I tasted roasted locus. It was tasty. Someday swarm of locusts will be fortune.

  30. Yes, yes. Eat bugs while your rulers get to enjoy the finest steaks and live like gods. Bonus points if you live in a pod, like a prisoner in a concentration camp, and PAY for it 🙂
    Anyone falling for this is a fucking moron that should be locked away and fed exclusively tree-bark and homemade cum-soup.

  31. Let's emulate the diet of the people with the lowest life expectancy in the world! 3rd world diet is the way to save the planet from impending co2 doom.

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