Insecta 2017. Berlin, Germany
International Entomophagous Insects Conference. Kyoto, Japan
Insects in feed or food? Liège, Belgium
IPIFF Insects for Food & Feed. Brussels, Belgium
The question “How much protein is in a cricket” is one of the many that I get along with “Why would you eat crickets” and the inevitable “Yuk” when people find out that I include them in at least one of my daily meals.
Protein is an essential part of our diets as it a major component of the body’s tissues. Around half of the body’s proteins are found in structural tissues such as skin and muscles. it is therefore essential for growth as our bodies continually renew tissues.
Proteins are made up of around 22 amino acids and they combine together in various ways within the body depending on the body’s requirements. Some go towards making muscles, bones, skin and hair while others are used to produce enzymes within the body.
Of the 22 amino acids 9 are classified as “essential” for the body. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine and they must come from our diet as they cannot made quickly enough or in sufficient quantities by our own bodies.
These are generally found in animal protein foods meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk
These are foods that lack one or more of the essential amino acids and are generally derived from plant based sources. However by combining different plant based foods in our diets we can still get the complete amino acids by having, for example, a meal made up of grains with legumes (rice and peas or everyone’s favourite beans on toast).
Most adults with limited daily activity should be able to cover their protein needs through a standard healthy diet and the general rule of thumb is .80g of protein per KG of body weight.
If we take a woman weighing 60kg based on the calculation above her daily protein requirements would be 48g (60x.80)
These figures would change depending on different circumstances e.g increased activity or pregnancy but as you can see below this can be easily achieved
2 large eggs – average15g of protein
100g Chicken – average 20g of protein
Now if we take the same woman but she is now training say 3 to 4 times a week or training for a long event like a marathon then these figures would change as we can see below
“So how much protein does a runner actually need? The latest guidelines recommend something I call protein pulsing, where protein is consumed more frequently throughout the day rather than as a large amount straight after exercise. This has been based on scientific findings demonstrating that our bodies can only absorb and utilise a certain amount of protein at any given time. It works on the principle that you need to consume up to 0.4g/kg BW from your three daily meals. For most runners this will equate to around 20-30g of protein. Those of you who also include weight training would also benefit from an additional 0.4g/kg BW portion before you go to bed to enhance your recovery.”
Excerpt From: Renee McGregor. “Fast Fuel.”
Adding protein to your diet helps in weight loss as it slows down the digestion process in turn making you feel fuller for longer and when eaten with carb rich foods also helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. So instead of snacking on high carb “treats” why not try some of our Honey & mustard crickets or a handful of nuts.
Remember that eating more protein alone can also have its own issues like overeating any food. The body cannot store surplus protein and in some cases too much protein and could cause kidney issues if excess protein is consumed over a long period.
The protein content of insects varies depending on the species and it can even be different between sub species and like most things diet and environment are among the contributing factors effecting this.
In the table below you can see the protein content in 100g of cricket powder compared to the same 100g of different protein sources.
A more detailed table an be found in Edible insects future prospects for food and feed security by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation found here (page 69 table 6.3)
So before ruling crickets completely out of your diet why not try one of our sample sized Kric8 cricket protein powder packs? These 15g pouches contain enough cricket powder for a batch of cookies, muffins or if used in a smoothie it will add around 9g of protein the same as an egg.
In the second part of our series we look at the types of crickets commonly used in Entomophagy.
There are 2 types of crickets most commonly used in the food industry, The House Cricket Acheta Domesticus from the order Orthoptera & the Banded Cricket Gryllodes sigillatus from the family Gryllidae.
Lets cover the House Cricket Acheta Domesticus from the order Orthoptera derives its name from two Greek words Ortho meaning straight and ptera meaning wing and covers more than 25,000 species around the world although the majority can be found around the tropics and included Locust, grasshoppers and crickets. The House cricket is around 15-21 millimetres in length brownish in colour.
Second is the Banded Cricket Gryllodes sigillatus also known as Tropical house cricket, Indian house cricket from the family Gryllidae.
The Tropical house cricket being slightly small at around 13-18 millimetres in length and a light yellowy brown. They get their name from the 2 black bands that they have on their bodies, One through their thorax and another across their abdomen.
It is the males in the species that make the chirping or stridulation sounds by rubbing the upper part of one wing against the lower part of the other or by rubbing the hind leg against the front wing that the males are able to call out to the females.
They are both farmed in in southern Asia as food for both Human and and animal although due to its flavour profile the House cricket is the preferred choice for protein powders and snacks with the Banded cricket coming a close second due to its longer life span, it’s resiliency to certain diseases make them hardier than the House cricket and easier to farm.
In the next post we will talk about the protein content in crickets