Crickets are animals that belong to the phylum Arthropoda. This is why they are not vegan-friendly. However, if you do not follow a strict vegan diet, there are certain factors you can consider.
Insects in your food products? This might sound shocking, but the food industry says otherwise.
For those who haven’t seen any crickets in their whole life, these are leaping insects known for producing chirping sounds. Their size ranges from 3 to 50 mm (0.12 to 2 in) with two lengthy wings for flying.
The practice of eating insects is called entomophagy. Eventually vegans became interested in identifying if eating crickets is acceptable for them. Thus, researchers help in clarifying this confusion.
Crickets are not vegan. Crickets are insects, technically, so they are considered animals. Vegans don’t consume anything coming from animals.
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What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Eating Crickets?
These are the nutrients you can obtain from crickets:
|Sodium||Vitamin A||B Group Vitamins|
Moreover, the basic nutritional contents of crickets are presented in the table below:
|200 – Calorie Serving||Protein||Fat||Saturated Fat||Omega -3||Fiber|
|Amount in crickets||31 g||8.1 g||2.6 g||1.8 g||7.2 g|
Why Are Crickets Non-Vegan?
The factors include a cricket’s pain sensitivity, the ways they are raised, and the nutrients they have in them. In terms of the nutrients, we have enumerated several plant-based food items which you can alternatively consume.
Crickets Can Feel Pain
Crickets feel pain but not as much as we do. According to scientists and researchers, they proved that these insects respond to stimuli but are not as complex as other animals. They show an oriented walking behavior against an air-current type of stimuli.
Crickets Can Be Unnaturally Raised
Crickets can grow and exist in a controlled environment. This is really helpful in managing the food of these insects since they can eat almost anything.
For product makers, they make sure that crickets consume foods safe for human ingestion. They do this through a farming method with a pen or a vessel to grow crickets until their adulthood.
Crickets Contain Important Nutrients
Lastly, crickets contain nutrients such as proteins, omega-3s, and B12. Being a vegan also means you have limitations in obtaining nutrients from plant-based foods.
Proteins are essential for the thriving of the human body. These are used to repair muscles and bones and to make enzymes through amino acids. Proteins are also vital when it comes to growth and development of children and adults.
These macromolecules are found mostly in foods such as seafood, meat, beans, and other dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Crickets are a good source of protein, for these contain amino acids which are essential to the human body. In comparison, the amount of protein found in crickets is 2 times more than the amount of protein that can be obtained from beef steaks.
However, there are still vegetables that contain a good amount of proteins. So if you are a strict vegan, here are some in the list: bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, lima beans, green peas, sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and artichokes.
Just like proteins, omega-3s are also essential nutrients our body needs.
The advantages of using omega-3s include fighting anxiety and depression, symptoms of ADHD for children, symptoms of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.
Crickets are an excellent source of omega-3s. But you should use vegan alternatives rich in omega-3s, such as chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, algal oil, hemp seed, and walnut. Avocados also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 also called cobalamin is important for the health of nerve tissues, brain, and red blood cells. This vitamin is naturally found in eggs and meat but product makers use bacterial fermentation synthesis to produce it artificially.
Crickets are also rich in vitamin B12. The content of this nutrient in every 100 g of ground cricket powder is 24 micrograms.
When it comes to vegan sources of this vitamin, you should consider bananas, apples, and berries.
What Are The Health Risks Of Eating Crickets?
Consuming crickets does not only bring advantages but also has its own downsides.
Eating crickets-based products may trigger allergic reactions. Crickets are also carriers of pathogens.
Allergic reactions mostly occur when you are allergic to dust mites or shellfish. Dust mites have some similar allergens to crustaceans (which are known to have chitin). So, if you have an allergic reaction with the said allergens, you should avoid consuming crickets.
Aside from that, crickets might carry pathogens. A pathogen is a microorganism that can cause mild to extreme damage to its host. Although this insect’s bite cannot penetrate the skin, it still brings diseases. This can spread salmonella, which can cause typhoid fever, diarrhea, and headache.
Crickets Are Not Vegan
Unfortunately, crickets-based products are not suitable for a vegan diet. Thus, allowing yourself to eat crickets just goes against the basic principles of being a true member of the vegan community. If you’re after the nutrients found in them, there are multiple vegan-friendly sources that you can try.
So, the next time you see food products that contain not just crickets, but any kind of insects, you already know what to do!