Dig This, Grasshopper


In an article in the L.A. Times, a group of researchers at Yale University were reported to have uncovered some unique characteristics exhibited in stress responses in grasshoppers.  It turns out that when these little hoppers are stressed, they turn to their own form of junk food much like we humans.

In an experiment worthy of any bug-obsessed kid, the scientists glued the mouth of the predator spiders shut and placed them in the neighborhood of the grasshoppers.  Over time, the stressed hoppers turned away from eating grass (high protein) and toward goldenrods (carbs).  In the end, the grasshoppers' remains were ground up and allowed to break down in soil.  Normally, the chemical components of bugs and other microorganisms contribute significantly to the breakdown of grasses and other vegetable matter.  The stressed bugs' bodies were markedly ineffective in supporting this process.

For Us Humans

Sugar, sugar, sugar.  Salt, salt, salt.  Fat, fat, fat.  These are a few of my faaaavorite things.  We can see by this study that the craving for stimulating food is fairly typical behavior, even for bugs!  A simple directive to lean toward protein, and away from carbs, helps to stabilize the roller-coaster ride that is the stress cycle.

So, remember:  When you are stressed out, think of those poor grasshoppers and have a little protein instead of that cookie.