What is Chitin?

Chitin is the fibrous material that makes up the exoskeleton of arthropods such as insects and crustaceans.

CHITIN AND EDIBLE INSECTS

Edible insects all use the fibrous material chitin to form the structure of their exoskeletons. Chitin can be found in the exoskeleton of insects, the shells of crustaceans, and even in the wing scales of a butterfly!

There are different modified versions of chitin that are utilized throughout the insect world that make it possible to have the strong exoskeleton of a beetle, for example, and also be used to create the flexible bodies seen in caterpillars.

For those that are interested in entomophagy and eating insects, the chitin is also a great source of valuable fiber and a prebiotic too.

Insect Species in the US

Edible Insects Known in the World

Wondering what is entomophagy?

It generally refers to the human consumption of insects as a food source.

CHITIN AS A PREBIOTIC HEALTHY FIBER

Edible insects as a roasted snack or protein powder are an awesome source of nutrients and protein.  The chitin also provides a source of beneficial fiber from the chitin that is a great prebiotic for gut health. This dietary fiber is good for your digestive health, helps to keep you feeling full longer, and has also been found to help to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

In a recent study on the consumption of edible insects, the researchers found almost a 6X increase of the beneficial probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium animalis, in those who ate crickets.  The results also suggest that eating insects may reduce systemic inflammation as well.  The prebiotics available from the chitin in edible insects, provide nutrition for probiotics and are one of the benefits of chitin for gut microbiology. Read more about the study in-depth here.

 

HOW CAN I EAT CHITIN &

EDIBLE INSECTS IN MY DIET?

Interested in trying chitin in your diet?  Edible insects are a great way to try chitin and we have some delicious recipes available too for you to get started.  The easiest option is to try our roasted crickets or roasted mealworms that are flavored and can be eaten straight out of the pack. 

However, if whole crickets aren’t where you want to start, we also have our cricket powder and protein too that can be mixed with virtually any recipe.  We have used it to make protein shakes, chocolate espresso banana breads, chocolate chip cookies, balsamic vinaigrette salad dressings, cricket nachos, french toast, granola, and more.

  • Chocolate Espresso Banana Bread
  • Cricket Nachos
  • Spiced French Toast Recipe
  • Tropical Pear Protein Smoothie

What is the chemical structure of chitin?

Check out the chemical structure of chitin in this Haworth projection of chitin.  The Haworth projection represents the structure and makeup of chitin in this example with a 3-dimensional rendering, and it is often used in organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Cricket Flours USA

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