Consideration of insects as a source of dietary protein for human consumption

Nutr Rev. 2017 Dec 1;75(12):1035-1045. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux057.


Consumption of sufficient dietary protein is fundamental to muscle mass maintenance and overall health. Conventional animal-based protein sources such as meat (ie, beef, pork, lamb), poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are generally considered high-quality sources of dietary protein because they meet all of the indispensable amino-acid requirements for humans and are highly digestible. However, the production of sufficient amounts of conventional animal-based protein to meet future global food demands represents a challenge. Edible insects have recently been proposed as an alternative source of dietary protein that may be produced on a more viable and sustainable commercial scale and, as such, may contribute to ensuring global food security. This review evaluates the protein content, amino-acid composition, and digestibility of edible insects and considers their proposed quality and potential as an alternative protein source for human consumption.

Keywords: amino-acid content; dietary protein; edible insects; protein digestibility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis*
  • Amino Acids, Essential / analysis
  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / chemistry
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • Insecta / chemistry*


  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Essential
  • Dietary Proteins