Powerhouse nutrient: Protein. Yes, eating insects is gross, but bear with us: A new study in the journal PLoS One by researchers from Norway has found that these wriggly worms provide just as much protein as milk, chicken, pork, and beef with a fraction of the greenhouse-gas pollution, helping the world meet its growing demand for animal protein without adding to global warming.
More healthy bonuses: Livestock production currently uses 70 percent of the world’s agricultural land and accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. According to the Norwegian study, producing the same amount of protein from mealworms uses 90 percent less land than doing so from cattle, 70 percent less than pork, and 60 percent less than chicken. That means that more land can be reforested to sequester carbon dioxide (cattle production is a leading cause of deforestation in developing countries) or used in other ways, such as organic vegetable farming, that keep carbon dioxide in the soil.
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