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Eating crickets can be good for your gut, according to new clinical trial
The University of Wisconsin-Madison ^ | August 3, 2018 | Kelly April Tyrrell

Posted on 08/06/2018 3:17:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Valerie Stull was 12 when she ate her first insect.

“I was on a trip with my parents in Central America and we were served fried ants,” she says. “I remember being so grossed out initially, but when I put the ant in my mouth, I was really surprised because it tasted like food — and it was good!”

Today, Stull, a recent doctoral graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, is the lead author of a new pilot clinical trial published in the journal Scientific Reports that looks at what eating crickets does to the human microbiome.

It shows that consuming crickets can help support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and that eating crickets is not only safe at high doses but may also reduce inflammation in the body.

“There is a lot of interest right now in edible insects,” Stull says. “It’s gaining traction in Europe and in the U.S. as a sustainable, environmentally friendly protein source compared to traditional livestock.”

More than 2 billion people around the world regularly consume insects, which are also a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. The research team was interested in documenting for the first time via clinical trial the health effects of eating them.

“This study is important because insects represent a novel component in Western diets and their health effects in human populations haven’t really been studied,” says co-corresponding author Tiffany Weir, a professor of food science and human nutrition at Colorado State University. “With what we now know about the gut microbiota and its relationship to human health, it’s important to establish how a novel food might affect gut microbial populations. We found that cricket consumption may actually offer benefits beyond nutrition.”

Raising insects for protein not only helps protect the environment, but also offers a more healthful option than meat in many wealthy countries with high-meat diets, says co-author Jonathan Patz, director of the UW–Madison Global Health Institute, where Stull will begin a postdoctoral research position in the fall.

Crickets, like other insects, contain fibers, such as chitin, that are different from the dietary fiber found in foods like fruits and vegetables. Fiber serves as a microbial food source and some fiber types promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics. The small trial probed whether insect fibers might influence the bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract.

For two weeks, 20 healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 48 ate either a control breakfast or a breakfast containing 25 grams of powdered cricket meal made into muffins and shakes. Each participant then ate a normal diet for a two-week “washout period.” For the following two weeks, those who started on the cricket diet consumed a control breakfast and those who started on the control diet consumed a cricket breakfast.

Every participant served as their own control for the study and the researchers were blinded with respect to which diet each participant was on at any given time.

The researchers collected blood samples, stool samples and answers to gastrointestinal questionnaires immediately before the study began, immediately following the first two-week diet period and immediately after the second two-week diet period.

Participants’ blood samples were tested for a host of health measures, like blood glucose and enzymes associated with liver function, and also for levels of a protein associated with inflammation. The fecal samples were tested for the byproducts of microbial metabolism in the human gut, inflammatory chemicals associated with the gastrointestinal tract, and the overall makeup of the microbial communities present in the stools.

Participants reported no significant gastrointestinal changes or side effects and the researchers found no evidence of changes to overall microbial composition or changes to gut inflammation. They did see an increase in a metabolic enzyme associated with gut health, and a decrease in an inflammatory protein in the blood called TNF-alpha, which has been linked to other measures of well-being, like depression and cancer.

Additionally, the team saw an increase in the abundance of beneficial gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium animalis, a strain that has been linked to improved gastrointestinal function and other measures of health in studies of a commercially available strain called BB-12.

But, the researchers say, more and larger studies are needed to replicate these findings and determine what components of crickets may contribute to improved gut health.

“This very small study shows that this is something worth looking at in the future when promoting insects as a sustainable food source,” says Stull.

Related: Could squirmy livestock dent Africa’s protein deficit?

Stull is co-founder of an award-winning startup and research collaboration called MIGHTi, the Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects. In the future, MIGHTi hopes to provide home-use insect-farming kits to communities that already consume insects, including many in southern Africa. Insects require far less water to farm than traditional livestock and can help improve food security in impoverished communities while providing economic opportunities to women.

“Most of the insects consumed around the world are wild-harvested where they are and when they are available,” says Stull, who has eaten insects — including caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers and beetle larvae — all over the world. “People love flying termites in Zambia, which come out only once or twice a year and are really good; they taste like popcorn and are a crunchy, oily snack.”

She hopes to promote insects as a more mainstream food in the United States, and though the industry is currently small, the rise of edible insect producers and companies using insects in their food products may make this possible.

“Food is very tied to culture, and 20 or 30 years ago, no one in the U.S. was eating sushi because we thought it was disgusting, but now you can get it at a gas station in Nebraska,” she says.


TOPICS: Agriculture; Food; Health/Medicine; Science
KEYWORDS: farming; food; insects; livestock
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This is their plan. The 90% get insects and other "environmentally friendly" food while the big shots continue eating Chilean Sea Bass, Lobster, Prime Beef, Heritage Pork and waterfowl.
1 posted on 08/06/2018 3:17:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It’s for “the common good” doncha know.


2 posted on 08/06/2018 3:20:00 PM PDT by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either satire or opinion. Or both.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Bill Gates George Soros and Al Gore can all go stuff themselves on roaches.


3 posted on 08/06/2018 3:21:24 PM PDT by a fool in paradise
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They’ve been predicting people are going to eat bugs for decades. It’s nobody’s plan, it’s just a stupid article they recycle during slow news times.


4 posted on 08/06/2018 3:23:10 PM PDT by discostu (Every gun makes its own tune.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What kind of liberal clap trap is this?
People eat meat (poultry, fish, crustaceans, and mammals).
Everything else is what food eats.


5 posted on 08/06/2018 3:23:12 PM PDT by BuffaloJack (Chivalry is not dead. It is a warriors code and only practiced by warriors.)
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To: BenLurkin

I can open a store because I have them in my house every day it seems. Just got one an hour ago. PLEASE DON’T YOU TELL ME IT’S BAD LUCK TO KILL A CRICKET.


6 posted on 08/06/2018 3:23:40 PM PDT by Hildy (The worst part of betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.)
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To: BuffaloJack

Crustaceans are basically bugs.


7 posted on 08/06/2018 3:23:55 PM PDT by discostu (Every gun makes its own tune.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Man, I’m glad we’re in the top 10%!


8 posted on 08/06/2018 3:24:01 PM PDT by antidisestablishment ( Xenophobia is the only sane response to multiculturalism’s irrational cultural exuberance)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hard to digest the metal ...

9 posted on 08/06/2018 3:25:21 PM PDT by x
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My gut might like crickets, but my lips and tongue and teeth and throat and eyes and fingers won’t like them, even if they are crispy-fried and slathered in catsup.


10 posted on 08/06/2018 3:26:27 PM PDT by Slyfox (Not my circus, not my monkeys)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Met a real nice family from Ouaxaco who made some of the Mole’ I have ever had.

Asked if they had any grasshoppers and was told “next time”.

They’re actually very good.

Steak is better.....and fish....and chicken....


11 posted on 08/06/2018 3:26:36 PM PDT by Vendome (I've Gotta Be Me https://youtu.be/wH-pk2vZGw2M)
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To: BenLurkin

Not all the LOONS on Lake Mendota have feathers.


12 posted on 08/06/2018 3:27:05 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
BEFORE YOU CHOW DOWN ON A CRICKET...

CRICKET DISEASES excerpt...

Crickets also are prone to eat other dead crickets or other dead animals and feces. The items that they have eaten could have been exposed to dangerous pathogens. If you feed your pets infected crickets, the pets get sick. If you have more than one pet, they could spread this sickness through their fecal matter and dead skin cells.

CRICKET DISEASES

13 posted on 08/06/2018 3:27:18 PM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. Psalm ( 32:12))
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To: Slyfox

How about chocolate?


14 posted on 08/06/2018 3:29:40 PM PDT by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yeah - and keep your partner up all night listening to crickets in their stomach.


15 posted on 08/06/2018 3:31:47 PM PDT by SkyDancer ( ~ Just Consider Me A Random Fact Generator ~ Eat Sleep Fly Repeat ~)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Some ants contain formic acid. Don’t eat the yellow crazy ones!


16 posted on 08/06/2018 3:31:58 PM PDT by Buttons12
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To: stars & stripes forever

Yep. My sister-in-law says crickets are just glorified cockroaches.


17 posted on 08/06/2018 3:33:30 PM PDT by Liberal Anti Venom (Freedom exists not to do what you like, but having the right to do what you ought. ~John Paul II~)
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To: discostu

Crustaceans are basically bugs.

...

Phylum Arthropoda


18 posted on 08/06/2018 3:34:01 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Give a man a fish and he'll be a Democrat. Teach a man to fish and he'll be a responsible citizen.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I will decline consuming insects for fear of being labeled for culture appropriation.

==

I will stick with beef cattle and chickens. NOW GET OFF MY YARD!


19 posted on 08/06/2018 3:35:26 PM PDT by TomGuy
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Agree. Saw this budding on the west coast just before we left.

This is enviro-crap warfare on real food.

20 posted on 08/06/2018 3:39:00 PM PDT by MarMema (John James for US Senate. Dump Debbie!! Let's Fly Michigan.)
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