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saturated fat in insects

Hi, When researching entomophagy I noticed one thing - although many brands push insects as healthy, or "full of healthy fats" etc., pretty much all the insects commonly reared/eaten are quite high in saturated fat in comparison to leaner cuts of meat from any livestock. I've put together a quick table comparing freeze dried insects vs different kinds of jerky (=dried lean meat): All the species of insects are much much higher in saturated fat and seem to come closer to bacon.

I'm in no way a nutrition expert, but left very confused about this. Saturated fat is usually considered unhealthy and insects seem to contain a lot of it (as well as the other, healthier fats). I'm guessing the healthy fats don't "cancel out" the unhealthy ones.

Can someone shed some light on "healthiness" of eating insects?


  • Take a look at Fig. 20 in the following on-line free full text (a very long review, so I suggest skipping the early content & scroll down to specific section that begins the paragraph above Fig.18&19; see this subtitled as "Dietary cholesterol and animal fats [saturated fats] are protective against ischemic stroke)". Link=

    I will add that the different composition of different kinds of fat in different insects & under different feed diets can be something relevant. Since it is unlikely humans will live on a "complete" formulated feed as the only thing (& nothing else) these differences are less of an issue. On the other hand, if formulating "complete" diets for captive subjects (pets, animals, fish, avians, reptiles) then there is some practical reason(s) to calculate fat composition if trying to standardize outcomes &/or commercialize a product.

  • Thank you @gringojay

    So basically the argument for insects here is that "saturated fat is not evil" rather than insects don't have too much?

    I've been reading around this and it does seem there are some studies with the conclusion, that SF is not associated with disease, however even more studies that say it is. Major health organizations like WHO still recommend lowering SF intake (,

    Makes me wonder, if something like "low-fat insect protein powder" should be developed rather than just milling the whole insect? (don't know, if making a low fat version is even possible..)

  • Those links you gave: 1st is WHO citing 2003 & 2007 reports to declare saturated fat is "causal" of cardiovascular disease. The 2nd is Wikipedia, which is a curated site, with limited independence of content.

    If you wish to interpret the correlation of WHO's diet advice & Wiki's about saturated fat in regard to cardiovascular dusease then read the link I privided above. The authors make extensive interpretation of relevant factors & give some real pathology data references concerning cardiovascular disease. I do not want to make my personal declaration about dietary saturated fat & will leave everyone to their own assessment of the report I linked to.

    Yes, a partially/entirely de-fatted insect meal would be a commercial product. If not for humans then for elaborating different "feed" formulas; the formulation could then selectively add in the exact "fat(s)" to match up targeted needs of different rearings.

    A soxhlet extractor using hexane (a solvent) is probably the simplest way (some of humans' edible seed oil is hexane extracted) flush out the dried insects' fat. Done under vacuum the temperature (at which hexane would rise & condense to flush through the dry insect in a repetative cycle) could be lower in degrees (different solvents, like hexane, vaporise at lower than water's boiling point) & this would limit de-naturing the dry protein. The bit of residual hexane in the insect protein can then be evaporated off & away from the product in a different processing apparatus by venting solvent through a purge valve (edible seed oil extracted in hexane is "purified" of residual hexane quite thoroughly before consumers get it).

  • some commercially available cricket powder is defatted, I believe the crickets are dried, then pressed to remove oil before milling. Large BSF producers like Protix also extract the lipid from their larvae and sell as a separate product.

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