Bushtucker Trials: The Nutritional Value Of Jungle Meals

There is currently a relatively entertaining show on ITV where contestants are put through their paces and forced through trials on a regular basis...No, I don’t mean X Factor. I’m talking about I’m A Celebrity of course; the show where we get to delight in celebrities trying to choke down questionable jungle ‘delicacies’.

This year the celebrities have endured consumption of the following: spiders, lamb testicles, ostrich anus, fermented egg, crocodile feet, stick insects and camel toe (it is understandable if you stifled a laugh at that last one). What we know for a fact is that ITV would not put celebrities in physical danger, so with that in mind, let us explore what the nutrient value of some of these delicacies is!

Entomophagy is the human consumption of insects. It is thought to be a food source of our ancestors and remains popular in many cultures today. If you have ever been to Asia, Africa or South America you may have tried an insect out of curiosity. Those of us who have never (knowingly) eaten an insect, we make up only ~30% of the world’s population.

There are ~1500 insects which are edible to humans. Below is the nutritional value of three edible insects:

INSECT PROTEIN (per 100g) IRON (per 100g) CALCIUM (per 100g)
Weevil (beetle) 6.7g 13.1g -
Caterpillar 28.2g 35.5g -
Grass Hopper 20.6g 5g 35.2g

Among the most popular insects to eat in the world are tarantulas, crickets, wasps, beetles and grubs. In most cultures, the insects will be cooked (fried) and the wings, legs and other spikey indigestible parts will be removed.

Economically speaking, switching from meat to insects would be a great idea. It would be more cost effective to get protein in the diet this way, insects are more environmentally friendly than larger animals and as the world’s population increases, we may need to find alternatives to our regular meals. Personally though, I don’t fancy switching my fillet steak for some crickets anytime soon!

We all had a giggle (and possibly wretched) at the sight of Helen and Nadine eating lamb testicles. However, in many parts of the world testicles are considered a delicacy. The majority of male animals that are reared for meat will be castrated and their testicles are sold off separately. As a little head’s up, in the UK this delicacy is known as ‘sweetmeats’. While many of you may think this is disgusting, a few of you will have taken bull semen to boost testosterone levels and will wonder what all this fuss is about :p.

I would like to leave you with this little fact. The thought of chewing down ostrich anus is one that not many of us would delight in; however most of us will have enjoyed vanilla ice cream in our lifetimes. Castoreum is an FDA approved natural flavouring in vanilla ice cream and can you guess what castoreum contains? Beaver’s anal glands.

I realise I may have just ruined vanilla ice cream for many people, but I may also have done you a favour by removing one junk food item from your list of favourites ;).

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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