Humans May Have to Eat Maggots and Insects to 'Mitigate' Global Malnutrition in Future, Finds Study

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Hinting threats to plant and animal-based foods, a new scientific report has suggested that humans may have to alter their diets in the future where they will need to eat maggots in order to avoid global malnourishment. The report, covered in Mail Online, comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has already deepened the global hunger crisis, pushing millions of people back to poverty.

Plant-based food items such as maize, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced foods like meat, fish and eggs are “innately exposed to various acute and chronic stresses”, found researchers at Cambridge University.

They said that larvae insects or maggots have relatively more nutritional value, and could provide a sustainable alternative to the traditionally eaten foods. Maggots or insects are known to provide nutrients like protein, magnesium and have three times more fatty acids than fish.

Superfoods such as maggots are already visible in some food stores in the UK but have niche appeal. However, the researchers are advocating for ramping up production to “mitigate global malnutrition”. Believing maggots and future foods like kelp can be more easily grown, Dr Asaf Tzachor –the lead author at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at Cambridge University — said, “Our current food system is vulnerable.”

Dr Tzachor asserted that it is essential to “integrate new ways of farming” to “future-proof” the food supply. Along with maggots, scientists have identified microalgae (tiny photosynthetic microorganisms)as another promising source of food supply.

It is believed that around two billion people in the world are either malnourished or undernourished. A majority of this population can be found in Africa, Asia and other under-developed regions.

India, too, has a problem of hunger crisis although the country has made significant gains in the last several decades. India has gone from a wheat-importing nation to a food-surplus state.

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