As the global population grows under a changing climate, the urgency to find sustainable protein sources is greater than ever. Plant-based “meat” and “dairy” products may be popular, but they’re not the only environmentally friendly meat alternatives.
A new study in mice from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests replacing traditional protein sources with mealworms in high-fat diets could slow weight gain, improve immune response, reduce inflammation, enhance energy metabolism, and beneficially alter the ratio of good to bad cholesterol.
“In addition to more dietary fiber, nutritionists also recommend eating more high-quality proteins as part of a weight management plan. We knew from an earlier study in roosters that mealworms are a high quality, highly digestible protein source that’s also environmentally sustainable,” said lead study author Kelly Swanson, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and interim director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences, both in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at U. of I.