Study: Eating crickets helps with gut health

FOX / File

Adding creepy crawlers to your diet apparently does wonders for your body.

The University of Wisconsin, Madison recently conducted a new clinical trial run. The results showed that consuming crickets provides some benefits to gastrointestinal organs and reduces inflammation in the body.

“There is a lot of interest right now in edible insects,” Valerie Stull, a recent doctoral graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and lead author of the study said in a press release. “It’s gaining traction in Europe and in the U.S. as a sustainable, environmentally friendly protein source compared to traditional livestock.”

The study was published in the Scientific Reports Journal. Researchers examined 20 healthy adults, between the ages of 18 and 48, over a six-week period in order to assess the effects of eating cricket powder.

During the first two weeks, 10 participants ate a control breakfast, while the other 10 ate muffins and shakes containing 25 grams of powdered crickets. Then, the participants ate normally for the following two weeks. For the final two weeks of the study, the participants switched. Those who ate the control breakfast had cricket powder, and vice versa.

Researchers collected blood and stool samples from the participants, as well as answers to a gastrointestinal questionnaire before the study, after the first two-week diet period, and then after the second two-week diet period. 

Participants said there were no significant gastrointestinal changes or side effects, but researchers said they did see an increase in a metabolic enzyme associated with gut health. They found a decrease in an inflammatory protein in the blood, called TNF-alpha, and an increase in the an abundance of Bifidobacterium animalis, a strain of good bacteria in the gut.

While the authors of the study are talking up the healthy benefits and protein assets they discovered, they are not ready to advise replacing a typical protein meal with crickets. Researchers said a larger testing scale must be produced to determine and confirm the positive factors.