Available evidence suggests that the consumption of edible insects may not only contribute protein and other valuable nutrients to the human diet but may also provide health benefits through various insect-derived peptides and bioactive compounds. Most studies of potential anti-obesity effects of edible insects have been conducted in vitro. The available in vivo evidence stems mainly from rodent models. Anti-obesity effects of various edible insect species, such as Tenebrio molitor, Hermetia illucens, and Acheta domesticus, have been suggested, and the findings of studies in mice models suggest the presence of bioactive compounds in edible insects with a potential efficacy in weight control. The mechanisms suggested to underlie the lipid-lowering and anti-obesity effects of edible insect extracts include the inhibition of pathways related to lipid metabolism, downregulation of genes involved in the metabolism of adipose tissue, effects on gut microbiota and increased satiety following consumption of insect-derived food products. However, any claims of health benefits of insect-derived compounds need to be sufficiently established, and trials in humans are a prerequisite. With respect to anti-obesity (and other health) effects, no such compound identified in insects has thus far been tested in humans. Further studies of the effects of bioactive compounds contained in edible insects on human health are therefore needed in order to validate the potential of edible insects as a novel measure in combatting obesity and promoting health in general.
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