Bugs for bugs? Edible insects as prebiotics
Posted on Mon, 3 Sep 18
Edible insects are emerging as a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to meat, but health effects beyond basic nutritional value has not been documented. In a novel exploratory study edible crickets were found to have significant prebiotic effects.
Tipped as a sustainable, eco-friendly, protein-rich alternative to animal products edible insects have emerged recently as a ‘health food.’ But beyond basic nutritional profile, the positive (or negative) health effect of eating insects has not been explored scientifically.
A recent investigation aimed to see if edible crickets had prebiotic effects that might translate to wider health benefits. Over 6-weeks, a group of healthy adults ate 25 grams per day of whole, dry, roasted, cricket powder (in either a breakfast muffin or a morning chocolate shake) with blood and stool samples collected at baseline and after the intervention to assess liver function for safety, and microbiota changes for any prebiotic effects.
It was found that the cricket powder increased the level of Bifidobacteria species, a characteristic of prebiotics. Although, there was a decrease in abundance of Lactobacillus and small reductions in short chain fatty acids acetate and propionate.
It appears short-term consumption of crickets may be a safe way to improve gut bacteria, but then so is a breakfast of whole grain cereal, fruit, yoghurt and/ or a cup of tea or coffee.
Stull VJ, Finer E, Bergmans RS, Febvre HP, Longhurst C, Manter DK, Patz JA, Weir TL. Impact of Edible Cricket Consumption on Gut Microbiota in Healthy Adults, a Double-blind, Randomized Crossover Trial. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 17;8(1):10762.
Tags: Insects, Prebiotics