You may not think that crickets sound like a tasty snack, but a new study suggests they could be a healthy one. In many parts of the world, however, people are delighted when insects are on the menu. In southern Mexico, chapulines are considered a delicacy. Edible insects are also prized in certain regions of China (Insect Science, April 2018). Some experts foresee insect consumption as an efficient way to provide high-quality protein (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Aug. 2016).

Can Eating Crickets Benefit Your Bacterial Balance?

One of the great benefits of fiber is that it encourages a wide variety of intestinal microbes. The fiber in vegetables is somewhat different from the fiber in insects. Insect-derived fiber is known as chitin. However, a new study of 20 healthy adults reveals that the fiber in crickets can improve the balance of microbes in the intestines (Scientific Reports, July 17, 2018).

In this placebo-controlled crossover trial, half the people had a breakfast muffin or shake containing 25 grams of powdered crickets for two weeks. The other half had cricket-free breakfasts of either a shake or a muffin. After a two-week washout period, the groups switched.

During the cricket consumption period, levels of a beneficial microbe called Bifidobacterium animalis soared more than five-fold. People eating breakfasts rich in insect fiber also had lower blood levels of an inflammatory protein called TNF-alpha.

Learn More:

You can hear about the benefits of fiber from leaves and stems in our interview with Dr. Robynne Chutkan. It is Show 1115: How You Can Conquer Constipation.

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  1. Sara O
    South Carolina

    I sm NOT eating crickets………

  2. Bob
    Tampa, Florida

    Well, I decided to try this cricket diet, sounded good to me. So I ate some crickets. I decided to eat live ones, figured that would be the healthiest option. Not working out for me. The crickets are hopping around in my stomach, driving me nuts! So I decided I’d better feed them, they’re probably looking for food. I went on the web to find out what crickets eat. Things like rotting leaves and rotting vegetables. I made myself a bowl of rotting leaves and vegetables and ate it. Kind of tasty actually. Anyway, the crickets were happy and settled down. But then last night they started chirping, you know that sound they make late at night. What’s worse, they’re multiplying so there are probably dozens of chirping crickets in my belly. Any solutions to this? On the plus side, I am very regular now. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    • David
      West Palm Beach, FL

      Hi Bob. Cute, but unlike you, I have actually eaten grasshoppers and a few other bugs that are listed as good for us to eat. The first time I ate grasshoppers was back in college in the late 50s (yes, I am an old guy) as a dare and it was also easy to buy fried insects in cans. Most of the canned insects tasted like overused oil as I recall.

    • susan
      Palm Beach Gardens, FL

      Bob I love you!!!

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