There is a rational, even persuasive, argument for voluntarily eating insects: Bugs are high in protein, require less space to grow and offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to the vertebrates we Westerners prefer, advocates of the bug fare say.

However, this topic is not a hotbed of research, so while some data exist — in particular on the protein content of insects — there are some assumptions built into the latter part of this argument.

“The suggestion that insects would be more efficient has been around for quite some time,” said Dennis Oonincx, an entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He and other researchers decided to test it, by comparing thegreenhouse gas emissions from five species of insects with those of cattle and pigs.

The results, Oonincx said, “really are quite hopeful.”

 

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