Mealworms Might Be the Next Protein Staple

Researchers in the Netherlands say mealworms are more sustainable than current protein staples

Looks like eating bugs for dinner might really be a trend of the future; researchers in the Netherlands have found that mealworms and other insects are much more eco-friendly and efficient than cows, chicken, and pork.

Researchers discovered that growing mealworms released less greenhouse gases than raising cattle, pigs, and poultry. Furthermore, mealworms only take up 10 percent of the land that beef uses, although it generates the same amount of protein.

The amount of energy used to grow mealworms, however, was about the same for pork, although it still used less than half the energy necessary for beef. However, freeze-dried mealworms are apparently easier to grind into a powder, and might just be in your next batch of cookies. "I have already used them with good success in brownies," University of Montana entomologist Florence Dunkel told LiveScience.

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LiveScience reports that another entomologist Brian Fisher at the California Academy of Sciences (who did not participate in the study) has found that mealworms taste like what you feed them. "Most times they're a bit nutty-flavored," Fisher told LiveScience. "People love them if they're cooked right." Yum.