To have a sustainable and healthy diet you need to cover your nutritional needs while using as few resources, and harming the environment as little as possible. Edible insects are rich in many essential nutrients including vitamin B12 and iron and are very sustainable to produce.
According to leading scientists, a healthy and sustainable diet means having a mainly plant-based diet. However, most health authorities advise the population to eat meat and fish in order to get vitamin B12, amongst other nutrients. The daily recommended intake of vitamin B12 for Danes is 2,5μg (micrograms).
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 comes from animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs and meat and are not naturally present in plants. Animals produce vitamin B12 as they digest certain bacteria from their surroundings and feed. The bacteria form part of a fermentation process in the animal’s gut, which produces vitamin B12. (Degnan et al 2014).
Although it is possible to live a happy, healthy and sustainable life with a plant-based diet, it is necessary to take B12 supplements. Many people, especially women, also lack iron. According to research a supplement is never as efficient as absorbing nutrients from food. As a vegetarian, it is possible to get vitamin B12 through milk, eggs and cheese.
If you get your B12 exclusively from dairy you need to consume about 4 eggs (220g), or 8 slices of cheese (160g) or 4 glasses of milk (660g) each day.
As a flexitarian it is possible to cover your B12 needs by for instance eating 160 grams of beef or 160 grams of fish in one day.
If you are interested in having the most sustainable diet eating a high amount of meat is not optimal. The alternative solution is to integrate edible insects into your diet. Insects contain a high level of B12 with 4μg per 100 grams of powdered insects.
Compared to beef, insects contain double the amount of B12. You would need to eat 62,5 grams of insect powder to cover your daily need. At the same time, insects are far more sustainable to produce than meat.
Compared to beef, insects contain double the amount of vitamin B12.
By adding a few spoonfuls of insect powder to your smoothie, bread or other recipe you will cover almost half of your recommended daily intake of B12 in a very sustainable way.See our recipes for inspiration.