Would You Ever Drink Urine or Eat Insects?

By Howard J. Bennett

You may not realize this, but urine (pee) is sterile. That means it’s free of germs. So if you ever get stuck in the middle of nowhere without water, there are two situations where pee can save your life.

First, if you get a cut, flushing the area with urine is the best thing you can do to keep it from getting infected. (If you’re planning to get a cut on your back, make sure to get lost with a friend who can do the first aid for you.)

Second, drinking urine can prevent you from becoming dehydrated while you are waiting to be rescued or find your way back to civilization.

But given that you may never find yourself in either of these situations, it’s best to remember that urine belongs in the toilet, not your drinking cup. In other words, kids, don’t try this at home!

As for insects, whether you know if or not, you already do eat them. Companies that make processed foods like hot dogs, ketchup, and macaroni and cheese are required by the government to meet certain standards for food safety.

Despite these rules, a small amount of insect parts gets into our food supply every day. How? Well, it’s hard to keep flies from flying, and some land at the wrong time and place and accidentally get mixed in when food is being processed.

So even though you might laugh at someone who would eat an insect on purpose—and lots of people around the world do—you eat them too. Not enough to make you sick, however. (It’s estimated that the average person unknowingly eats one to two pounds of insects every year.)

There’s more. Your food has other gross stuff in it, too. There can be mold, rodent hair and mammalian excreta (which is the scientific name for animal pee and poop!).

Have a nice breakfast.

Bonus Fact: Some insects, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars, are high in protein and low in both cholesterol and fat!

© 2012 Howard J. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.
First published in the Washington Post 10/6/08

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