We’ll do a lot of things for gut health—but maybe not this.
Eating bugs isn’t exactly a new practice. It’s a tradition that’s been around since prehistoric times and continues to thrive in 80 percent of countries on today. For years, experts have praised entomophagy—the official term for eating bugs—for its environmental benefits. After all, breeding locusts, crickets, and meal worms for food emits 10 times less methane than livestock and 300 times less nitrous oxide.
Nutrition-wise, edible bugs have long boasted having lots of protein, minerals, and vitamins. But now, a new study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reveals how eating crickets positively impacts your gut health.
Cricket Study Details
Here’s how the study goes down.
First, they pick twenty lucky adults to participate in the six-week trial. Half are given a breakfast containing 25 grams of crickets, and the other half a non-cricket control breakfast for 14 days. Then, both groups receive a washout period (basically, a break from the study) before returning and switching to the opposite breakfast.
Researchers collect blood and stool samples before and after each trial period. Their findings?
First, it’s worth noting that the crickets were “tolerable” at the studied dose. (Though we can only assume this refers to the physical implications and might not speak to the actual taste…) Then, it turns out eating crickets supports the growth of the friendly probiotic strain known as bifidobacterium animalis. In other recent studies, this strain was shown to provide gastrointestinal support and also boost the immune system.
Those who ate the cricket breakfast had five times as much of this healthy bacteria compared to their baseline. Impressive!
Though frankly, we think we might stick with our probiotics.
You can read the full study results here.