More than two billion people around the world regularly consume insects — a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. UW–Madison researchers have documented, for the first time, the health effects of eating them. Their clinical trial, which had participants eat crickets ground up in breakfast shakes, shows that consuming the insects can help support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Researchers also found that eating the insects is not only safe but may also reduce inflammation in the body. “Food is very tied to culture, and 20 or 30 years ago, no one in the U.S. was eating sushi because we thought it was disgusting, but now you can get it at a gas station in Nebraska,” says Valerie Stull PhD’18, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher with the UW’s Global Health Institute.
Published in the Winter 2018 issue