Edible forest insects
A good source of food
|Grasshoppers||Laotian dish (Laap) with weaver ant larvae and pupae|
The nutritional value of insects does not differ from the nutritional value of other meat sources such as chicken, beef, pork and fish. In fact protein levels are often higher in insects and crude protein content in many species is above 60%. The chitin exoskeleton comprises only a small part of the total biomass (<10%) and can even be digested. Chitinase has been found in human gastric juices. Recent studies have demonstrated that chitin has even complex and size-dependent effects on innate and adaptive immune responses.
Analyses of the insects' protein components reveal the existence of all the essential amino acids, however their composition vary with insect species. A mixed diet of a staple food and certain insect species enhance protein quality because of supplementation effects. Insects are also high in fats (providing a good source of energy), vitamins (in particular the B-vitamins) and minerals (such as iron and zinc). The scientific literature shows that certain insects are a good source of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. As such they might be better for human health than beef.
Source: Mark D. Finke, Complete Nutrient Composition of Commercially Raised Invertebrates Used as Food for Insectivores