Why Do Humans Think It’s Gross to Eat Bugs?
For most people in today’s world, asking them to eat a grasshopper or a maggot will most likely be met with repulsion or disgust. “Why would I eat a bug?” “I know it’s good for me, but I can’t get past how grossed out I am by eating bugs or insects.” “Why would I do that, when I can walk into Cub and purchase food that looks and sounds delicious?”
Those are all fair questions, but what’s crucial to understand is that being “grossed out” by eating bugs, whether they be crickets, grasshoppers, or worms, is purely a mental block. As Scientific American explains, this repulsion is simply the way our bodies have evolved to protects us from perceived dangers, even if the danger isn’t always really there: “We are taught to be careful as children; we are cautioned that wasps will sting us, that flies carry diseases, and that beetles can bite. These messages are often reinforced through chance encounters with insect members of the natural world.”
In other words? Your “yuck” reaction is all in your head. Biologically, your body is just trying to keep you safe. It’s the same reason we’re repulsed by thinking about drinking chunky milk or yogurt with a green film on top: Our bodies know that the spoiled product will hurt us, so it keeps us “creeped out” to keep us safe.
While our bodies have the best intentions, this “yuck” response when it comes to bugs is misguided in this day and age. Eating bugs, like our farm-raised, Minnesota-grown crickets, is completely safe and more importantly, really, really good for you. The only way to overcome our own natural instincts is through education, as the Tasting Kitchen notes:
It’s through education, increasing familiarity and incorporating bugs into gourmet cuisine that we can breakdown the association with disease and consequentially, extinguish feelings of disgust. If insects are indeed a solution to the impending food-pocalypse, then it’s critical that we break down the psychological barrier against entomophagy and begin to get on board with the food that others around the world have been enjoying for years!