Angelina Jolie Feeds Her Kids Bugs!

Remember drinking “bug juice” at summer camp? We knew it wasn’t literally bug juice, right? Well Angenlina Jolie and Brad Pitt‘s brood actually do eat bugs, but they’re crunchy not juicy.

While shooting her Louis Vuitton ad in Cambodia, Angelina revealed that she and her kids love to eat insects, specifically crickets. “It’s their favorite thing, ” Jolie said. “They ate them like Doritos and they wouldn’t stop. But they’re good. They are like a potato chip.”
Actually, Angelina prefers cockroaches to crickets, she told New York Magazine, but “There’s this very pointy bit on their stomach you just can’t eat. You have to kind of pop that off.”

People who eat insects actually have a name — they’re called Entomophagists. It is actually quite common in cultures around the world, such as North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Angie’s infamously strange eating habits may be good for her kids. Insects are lower in fat, higher in protein, and have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, lamb, pork, or chicken.

3.5 ounces of crickets contains 121 calories
, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, and 3.10 mg. of niacin. That’s a bargain compared to ground beef, which, although it contains more protein (23.5 g.), also has 288.2 calories and a whopping 21.2 grams of fat!

With our epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S., maybe swapping bugs for burgers isn’t such a bad idea. Then again, I don’t see McDonald’s offering them in their Happy Meals anytime soon, except maybe in Thailand or Cambodia.

What are your thoughts? Would you eat insects? Would you let your children do it?
This is the first article by our new contributing editor, Petra Herzog.

Ms. Herzog is a former producer and assignment editor for ABC affiliate WLOS News 13 in Asheville, North Carolina and currently works in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

We’re thrilled to have Petra on our team. Stay tuned for new and exciting stories under her byline in the days and weeks to come.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.


  1. Meagan

    July 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Such an interesting and entertaining article! Especially the bit about happy meals. I hadn’t any idea the healthy nutritional aspects of bugs. Still not sure I’d eat one, it does offer a lot to think about.

    • Dr. M

      July 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Perhaps as just a snack?

  2. Grant

    July 23, 2011 at 3:09 am

    I would definitely let me kids eat bugs! I see absolutely no problem with it as long as the bugs have not been around pesticides (this last bit is pretty important!)

    • Dr. M

      July 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Any bugs (assuming they are pesticide-free) you wouldn’t try. For example, Angelina can’t get over the furriness of tarantulas.

      • ella

        July 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

        i have to be careful with bugs. I have arthropod/shellfish allergies. But i have eaten some and they’re very delicious.

      • ella

        July 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm

        one thing that i recommend to people (especially celiac and other gluten-free people) is mealworm flour. EVERYBODY in my house eats mealworm 🙂 I bake the flour into bread so i get a protein punch but with no gluten. And my hedgehog eats them live or freeze dried. And the cats sometimes get one or two as a treat though they’re not especially big on them. Mealworm flour is REALLY good for you and the mealworms are cultivated to be safe for human and animal consumption.

        • Dr. M

          July 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm

          Thanks for the comment. You are correct that mealworms are a good source of protein. I’ve found a recipe for Mealworm Chocolate Chip cookies for you. Try it out and let me know how they come out:

        • Kristy

          September 15, 2012 at 2:53 am

          What’s interesting is that mealworms are fed wheat bran. So, while it’s not directly eating gluten, it’s surely in the makeup of them and even on the outside of them because that is what they sleep in. If you are sensitive to gluten, it’s probably not such a great idea unfortunately. Unless, that is, you can find ones fed/bedded in something different. (Which is what I’m looking for as I’m raising chicks)

      • Ann Duncan

        July 28, 2011 at 12:17 am

        Dr. M – tarantulas are not bugs 🙂


        • Dr. M

          July 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

          Sorry, I make no claims in being an entomologist. Besides, it was Angelina who drew the line at tarantulas!

  3. Aneta

    July 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Truthful. Very good article.

    • Dr. M

      July 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I hope you keep coming back for more.

  4. Stefani

    July 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Very interesting….I am not surprised that bugs have more nutritional value than processed and manufactured foods…..but I would think that bugs would have less calories!!!!

    1. Do they digest better as well?
    2. Is social acceptance and American customs the only thing preventing bugs from being publicly eaten?

  5. ella

    July 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    They are eaten pretty much everywhere except north america and western europe (the fattest nation clusters on earth) I don’t understand how people can eat a lobster but turn their nose up at scorpion (they’re the same damn animal!)

    They’re good for you. Our genes are those of insect eaters. I’ve traveled quite extensively and have eaten termites, grasshoppers, crickets and a sort of beetle that i now forget the name. I tried scorpion but had a terrible allergic reaction to it (i’m allergic to lobster and shrimp and it’s the same basic animal so i should have been a little less stupid and avoided it)

    Most insects taste like nuts. They’re good.

    • Dr. M

      July 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      According to the Food Insect Newsletter:

      For most people, working with or eating food insects would pose little if any health risk, especially if they have no history of allergy to insects or other arthropods. Nonetheless, since sensitivity can be acquired with repeated exposure to an allergen, a measure of vigilance is in order. The person with known insect or arthropod allergies would be wise to exercise some caution. Cross-reactivity among related as well as taxonomically dispersed groups of insects has been established. There is also evidence for cross-reactivity among distantly related members of the Arthropoda suggesting the existence of common allergens within the phylum. So, if you are allergic to shellfish, you might want to reconsider the urge to “down ” a plate of fried meal worms. As with anything, a little knowledge and common sense should keep you out of trouble.

      Thanks for your input.

  6. thepuffyshirt

    July 26, 2011 at 1:00 am

    appearance is everything. if the meal looks like bugs then i doubt many americans would go for that, however, if it looked like a hamburger paddy then it’d be more marketable here. the FDA allows certain amounts of rat hair and insects already so a whole hamburger isn’t that far off.

    • Dr. M

      July 26, 2011 at 1:19 am

      That’s an appetizing thought…

  7. plainjane

    October 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Cockroaches, honestly? I thought they were nasty. I think anything this woman AJ can do to promote more attention to herself, she will do. But, that’s what celebrities do.

  8. am

    September 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Bugs are way better for kids than Doritos!!

  9. Shannon Foreman

    October 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    There is nothing new about seeing a celebrity endorsing a product on TV or in a magazine. However, over the past several years, celebrities have expanded their reach over consumers to effectively sell products based on their lifestyle habits. We look to celebrities for how to dress, exercise, or even think about certain topics. Our fascination with the lives of celebrities fosters the idea that if we follow a few simple tips or secrets from our favorite actors or athletes we will be able to achieve a lavish and vibrant lifestyle similar to their own. This celebrity influence is prevalent in the medical field because of the current emphasis placed on being healthy, especially as it relates to dieting, attractiveness, and happiness.

    As I read through this article, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between the influence of Angelina Jolie’s “healthy” parenting/eating habits and the influence of the global pharmaceutical industry’s drug ads on people’s medical habits. These influences are especially important because they both can potentially jeopardize people’s health if taken the wrong way. The image of a beautiful, thin Angelina Jolie and her healthy children eating bugs has a similar effect to happy people going about normal lives as are often portrayed in drug advertisements. Both instances focus on the emotional and physical benefits of entomophagy or prescription drugs, respectively, but provide very little information about their safety.

    Oftentimes, patients go to their physician’s offices with lists of drugs that they believe will enrich their lives, sometimes not even knowing what the drugs are for. Similarly, many people follow celebrity fad diets because they believe they will make them feel healthier or skinnier like the celebrity they saw in a health magazine without really knowing the nutritional value or reasoning behind them, or lack thereof. Therefore since celebrities and pharmaceutical companies play such major roles in people’s health practices, I believe they both have an obligation to the public to do a better job educating consumers about their endorsed products and lifestyle habits. Celebrities should be careful not to establish expertise which they do not have when publicly speaking about medicine or anything that has to do with people’s health practices, while pharmaceutical companies should stress the risks as much as the benefits of prescription drugs. Ultimately, we need to be cautious not to trust celebrities and pharmaceutical companies without knowing all the facts when it comes to our health.

  10. Rebecca

    April 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    This is directed to Shannon Foreman
    Consumption of insects is not a new thing or a fad nor can it be accredited to any celebrity. In fact AJ was not even a twinkle in her dads eye or even her great granddads eye while many cultures eat bugs as part of their diet.
    Thailand, Ghana, Mexico, Australia, China, Brazil. Japan and the Netherlands are just a few places where insects are consumed. In face when I was just a little kid, my Albanian Papou used to bring me home chocolate covered ants. It was like eating chocolate with crispy rice in them and they were delicious.
    So, that said.. no matter what AJ does nor her celebrity status has anything to do with the popularity of eating insects. I applaud AJ for allowing her children to eat what some see as exotic and others as OMG that is so gross.. insects.
    Insects are actually far more nutritious than other common forms of protein, even fish. For example, 100 grams of top sirloin beef contains about 29 grams of protein in addition to a whopping 21 grams of fat, while 100 grams of grasshopper contains 20 grams of protein and a measly six grams of fat.
    Eating fried bugs sounds interesting especially if they are seasoned with local spices and some dipped in chocolate.
    Unfortunately in the US, due to the profuse use of pesticides that are toxic thanks to Monsanto who is also responsible GMO crops, I would probably avoid catching your own critters to indulge in and opt for farm raised ones.

  11. bugsy

    March 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I saw them sold on street markets in Burma/Malaysia. In belgium you see burgers with 10% insects in them for sale in some regular stores, at least one chain. Luckily they are marked well with big letters.

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