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We know most of our readers will probably stick to chicken and lean beef for their main protein sources—perhaps some might be willing to try elk, bison, or other meat choices. Hell, we even have a list of the 20 best meat protein sources for you to peruse.
And while we’ve preached the benefits of adding bugs into your diet, this next suggestion might be our weirdest one yet: black soldier fly larvae, or baby flies. Yup, we’re serious.
A new study out of the University of Queensland in Australia found that black soldier fly larvae is just as nutritious as traditional meat sources, such as beef, and may actually provide more nutrients and have a smaller environmental impact. “Just like meat, it contains all the nutrients humans need for health,” Professor Louw Hoffman said in a statement. “The larvae is richer in zinc and iron than lean meat, and its calcium content is as high as that of milk.”
According to providers of black soldier fly larvae, the grubby insects 17.5 percent protein and 14 percent fat. Many studies have shown that a single acre of them could provide the same amount of protein as 3,000 acres of cows or 130 acres of soybeans—so it’s better for the environment as well. And in case you’re wondering, yes the larvae does have all essential amino acids and in some cases has greater concentrations of them than beef or chicken.
While Americans and most European countries don’t typically include insects in their diet, more than two billion people across the world do, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “The biggest factor that prevents fly proteins being used in our food supply is Western consumer’s’ acceptance of insects as food,” Hoffman said.