Fighting obesity with insects

Scientists have come up with a new way to fight obesity: eating insects.

A United Nations report released Monday found the health benefits of eating nutritious insects could help fight obesity.

The authors of the study, conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Forestry Department, said many insects contain the same amount of protein and minerals as meat and more healthy fats doctors recommend, according to a Reuters story.

“In the West we have a cultural bias, and think that because insects come from developing countries, they cannot be good,” scientist and report author Arnold van Huis told Reuters.

In addition to battling obesity, the report said insect farming was “likely to be less land-dependent than traditional livestock and produce fewer greenhouse gases,” according to Reuters.

It would also provide business and export opportunities for poor people in developing countries, especially women, who are often responsible for collecting insects in rural communities, according to the story.

Van Huis told Reuters that the barriers to enjoying dishes such as bee larvae yogurt were psychological. In a blind test carried out by his team, nine out of 10 people preferred meatballs made from roughly half meat and half mealworms to those made from meat, he said.

How’d you like to be a part of that blind taste test?

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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