Would you consume insects? Seriously, would you? If you answered “no” your response may well include some level of revulsion, after all Western society views insects as dirty and germ-ridden creatures you avoid, swat and squash. However two billion people worldwide already eat insects, viewing them as a nutrient-rich source of high protein, and in the West, edible insects are now moving from the fringes into the mainstream. But why on earth would you contemplate eating insects, especially as part of your daily sports nutrition? Here are some key nutritional and environmental reasons.

More protein than beef
Insects are full of protein. In fact, crickets have more protein than beef, chicken, pork and salmon and at 65-69 per cent protein content, are comparable with whey. Crickets are also a high quality protein as they have a complete amino acid profile together with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Dairy free and a natural prebiotic
Insects are rather unsurprisingly dairy free and also contain high amounts of prebiotic fibre making them very easy to digest. This is unlike whey, which some people find causes bloating and discomfort.

Full of vitamins and minerals
If you want to consume large amounts of vitamins and minerals then insects are a really good starting point. In fact, crickets have 168mg of iron per 100g which is considerably more than spinach (3.6mg per 100g). They are also stacked full of Vit B12 (far more than beef) and include a range of trace vitamins and minerals (zinc, copper, magnesium and manganese). These are vital for metabolising nutrients, maintaining your immune system, growing and repairing body tissue and ensuring general connectivity between cells.

A sustainable solution
Traditional meat and dairy proteins require huge amounts of feed, water and land, contributing to rainforest destruction. With the UN forecasting that we will need to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to feed the growing Global population, diets heavy in meat and dairy just aren’t sustainable. This is where insects come in. Farmed insects, such as crickets, are incredibly sustainable with 1kg of cricket protein requiring 15m2 of land, 1 litre of water and just 1.7kg of feed. Compare this to cows which, for every 1kg of beef, requires 250m2 of land, 30,000 litres of water and 40 kg of feed. On top of this, 1 kg of crickets emits just 1 gram of carbon during their lifetime whereas cattle emits close to 3000 grams.

Powdering insects can make them more appetising
No matter how nutritious or sustainable insects are, some people will find it difficult to get over the fact that they looks like, well, insects! This is where powdered insects come in. Protein powders that contain powdered crickets, for example, make insect eating far more appetising, especially if they’re blended with complementary plant proteins. This carefully balances the taste and texture with the nutritional and environmental benefits.

Superfood qualities at no cost to the planet
Insects have been referred to as a superfood, as they’re nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for health and wellbeing. With such high levels of complete protein, iron, vitamins and minerals, they’re ideal as a sports supplement, supporting post-exercise recovery, the growth and repair of muscles, and general wellbeing.

Insects such as crickets, really are hard to beat when it comes to their nutritional and environmental credentials, and so if you can get over the “yuk” factor, might you try them now?

Interested in trying cricket-based Reload protein powder? Learn more here