If you haven’t seen the film Snowpiercer, there’s a scene where impoverished citizens living in the back of a train are fed blocks of food that look like jelly bricks. They’re told it has all the nutrients they need to stay alive and, spoiler alert, the bricks end up being made from bugs. As disgusting as that sounds, a new study suggests that Hollywood got this one right — bugs may be more nutritious than steaks.
Researchers from the University of Oxford pitted insects against main meat sources in America, like chicken, steak, and pork to see which one was actually more nutritious. Published in Nature, the study used two models to help them arrive at a conclusion: Ofcom and Nutrient Value Scores (NVS). Ofcom uses a scoring system that takes a 100-gram sample of a particular food and tallies up the amount of energy, sodium, saturated fat, and sugars that are in the sample on a scale of 1 to 100. The closer the total score is to 100, the more nutritious that food is. The NVS works similarly, but focuses more on the sample’s amount of protein, energy, and fat levels, as well as its vitamin and calcium levels.
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