Rumpold & Schlüter found wide variation in nutrient content but were able to make some generalizations. Most insects store energy as fat, not carbohydrate and use proteins for a variety of structural and metabolic functions. The energy content is primarily from proteins and lipids. Lipids and proteins are relatively energy dense compared to carbohydrates giving insects a high caloric value relative to their weight. Almost 80 percent of edible insects measured have caloric content above 400 kcal/100 g and 41 percent are above 500 kcal/100 g. The caloric value of insects is high even relative to meat.
Insects can feed on a variety of foods that are not edible by humans or our livestock. Raising insects on otherwise inedible food is one way to utilize more of the available biomass for human nutrition. Basic studies of nutrient content combined with innovative processing methods will lead to new foods of the future.
*Birgit A. Rumpold, Oliver K. Schlüter. 2013. Nutritional composition and safety aspects of edible insects. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Volume 57, Issue 5, pages 802–823.