Whether you run or go to the gym, the more you increase your physical fitness, your body requires more and more protein. But that doesn't necessarily mean you need to consume more meat or dairy products. Many athletes are opting for alternative sources of protein (such as vegetable protein) to supplement the necessary nutrients for the proper functioning of the human body. In recent years, however, new alternative proteins, insect-based foods, have been appearing on the shelves of specialty stores, a trend that is gaining momentum in Western countries among those looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to animal protein.
CRICKET PROTEIN VS. MEAT PROTEIN
Insects are proving to be a far more efficient source of protein than conventional animals. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that "insects contain between 9.96 and 68.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, compared to 16.8-20.6 grams for meat." However, the protein density varies greatly depending on which insects are involved. With more than 2,100 species of edible insects, there is no limit to the imagination, but crickets, certain types of ants and mealworms are proving to be the most popular species, mainly because of their energy value and protein density.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE FOOD
Edible insects are a great alternative for those interested in reducing their ecological footprint. On average, the resources required to raise insects are significantly less than traditional livestock. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, "crickets require twelve times less feed and two thousand times less water than cattle to produce the same amount of protein". They also produce significantly less greenhouse gases and require less land to raise.
HOW CAN I TRY INSECT PROTEIN?
Cricket powder is one of the easiest protein sources to integrate into your diet, as it can be used like any other protein powder and can be mixed into your daily protein shake, even in a cake. However, you can also try insect foods in the form of chips, cookies, protein bars or dietary supplements freely available in specialized online stores, for example.