Fancy a Bushtucker Diet? Here's what creepy-crawlies do to the body

Would YOU try The Bushtucker Diet? As ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ kicks off, experts reveal what eating camel toes, mouse tails and kangaroo testicles would really to do the human body

  • Here’s what bushtucker grub tastes like – and if it’s any good for the human body
  • READ MORE: I’m a Celeb’s Nigel Farage gags as he tucks into udders and teats 

Whether you love or hate the show, no series of ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ would be complete without a shocking bushtucker food trial. 

In the new series on ITV, Nigel Farage and TikTok star Nella Rose grimaced and gagged last week as they ate pizza with mealworms, camel toe and duck tongues. 

Other unfortunate celebs Down Under are prone to similarly hysterical reactions as they’ve chowed down on witchetty grubs, kangaroo testicles and much more. 

But why do celebs act like this even before the morsels have reached their mouths, and are these unusual delicacies even good for the human body? 

MailOnline spoke to the experts to find out more. 

No series of ‘ I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!’ would be complete without the infamous bushtucker food trials – in which celebs have to eat gruesome creepy crawlies. But are they good for us and could we survive on them?

READ MORE Nigel Farage gags as he tucks into a sheep’s udder

Animal parts were artfully topped upon a slice of pizza for the former UKIP leader


Vic Cherikoff is an author, chef, food scientist and global authority on native Australian cuisine, which forms the majority of the bushtucker trial menu. 

He said the dramatic reactions of contestants to food during the task – typically involving gagging, shouting and screaming – ‘is purely cultural’. 

‘Even the term bushtucker is a cultural concept and Brits would have negative connotations in the same way as their predecessors saw Indigenous Australians,’ he told MailOnline 

‘There was no appreciation of the world’s longest living culture nor of their exceptional food resources, longevity, their exceptional mental acuity, physical abilities nor the fact that they were polyglots from a young age.’ 

According to the expert, the bushtucker dishes are all fine to eat – as long as they aren’t alive when bitten into – but not all of them have much nutritional value. 

One the most nutritious served up to contestants is the witchetty (witjuti) grub, which historically has been a staple in the diets of Aboriginal Australians. 

Witchetty grubs are the plump, white larvae of several moths – and Cherikoff describes them as ‘really tasty’ with lots of different flavour profiles. 

Historically a staple in the diets of Aboriginal Australians, witchetty grubs are the plump, white larvae of several moths 

READ MORE I’m a Celeb banned from feeding stars live bugs 

ITV had been accused of cruelty. Pictured, Ferne McCann eating a live water spider in 2015

‘Flavours of the grub vary from scrambled egg made with cream through to eggs and crisp bacon and some like a subtly spiced Polish salami – all delicious,’ he said. 

They’ve been described as an ideal survival food, as they have a good balance of protein, fat and energy, plus essential minerals including potassium, which helps maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells.  

Another frequent item on the I’m a Celeb menu is the mopane worm – the caterpillar of the emperor moth, frequently eaten in Africa. 

Mopane worms contain high amounts of iron – good for making the hemoglobin in red blood cells – as well as calcium for strong bones and teeth and phosphorus for filtering out waste in the kidneys. 

Rayleen Brown, a chef and chair of the First Nations Bushfood and Botanicals Alliance Australia, said mopane worms are less tasty than witchetty grubs but ‘an important food source’.  

However, mouse tails – eaten by Freddie Starr during the 2011 series – are ‘scantly edible’, according to Cherikoff. 

‘They’re all crunch and little nutrition,’ he said.

Similarly, water spiders – controversially served up alive to Ferne McCann in the 2015 series – are not commonly eaten, as they are not considered to be very tasty, although spiders generally are a good source of protein. 

Football manager Harry Redknapp had to hold witchetty grubs in his mouth on the way to winning the show in 2018

Mopane worms may not look much but they contain high amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorus

READ MORE Eating insects could help save the planet, experts say 

Edible insects, like black soldier fly larvae (pictured), offer a sustainable alternative to meat

For any celeb about to enter the jungle, one of their biggest fears must surely be having to eat any kind of genitals – whether it’s vagina, anus or testicles. 

Just like other parts of the kangaroo, the testicles of Australia’s iconic animal are rich in protein to support the building and repairing of muscles. 

Kangaroo meat is lean and found in Australian supermarkets along with beef and lamb, although the mammal’s gonads are harder to find. 

Some describe kangaroo testicles as ‘delicious’, although celebrities who had them in the jungle, including Kim Woodburn and Katie Price back in 2009, may not agree. 

‘I served a soup with boiled testicles to a Japanese show host years ago and he loved it – he even had seconds,’ Cherikoff said. 

Meanwhile, duck tongue – as also sampled by Roman Kemp back in 2019 – is rich in fatty acids, zinc and iron, as well as vitamin B12, which helps make DNA. 

Another memorable dish – which TOWIE star Joey Essex and TV presenter Matthew Wright had trouble biting through in 2013 – is camel toe. 

Despite a reputation for being being tough and chewy, Cherikoff said baby camel toes are tender but gelatinous and low in fibre. 

Paul Burrell eating raw kangaroo testicles during the ‘Bushtucker Bonanza’ on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here’ in 2004

In terms of texture, they could be made like osso bucco – the luxurious stew of veal shanks braised with vegetables and wine – if prepared well, he said. 

According to the food specialist, the typical bushtucker grub can only form part of a healthy, balanced diet – so if we were stranded in the jungle we might struggle to survive long-term.  

‘Like any animal products, even odd parts of animals should be less important than high quality fruits and vegetables,’ he told MailOnline.

Brown, who is passionate about promoting the use of bush foods in modern Australian cuisine, said might be able to survive on witchetty grubs but ‘finding them could be harder than you think’. 

‘You might expend all your energy just trying to find the particular tree that has the grubs,’ she told MailOnline.

‘That’s why indigenous people had a great knowledge of a variety of insects, birds, fruits and meats and importantly where to find water.’ 

Did you enjoying watching Matt Hancock squirm on ‘I’m a Celebrity’? Studies reveal why we love to watch stars suffer through Bushtucker Trials 

The first series of ‘I’m a Celeb’ came out in 2002, where the likes of Tony Blackburn and Uri Geller were subjected to the now infamous Bushtucker Trials.

It has been hugely popular ever since, regardless of who enters the jungle, and experts believe our taste for celebrity blood is down to how our brains work.

Some studies suggest that taking pleasure in others’ misfortune could make you a psychopath, while others indicate that humans are biologically programmed to enjoy watching those we envy suffer.

MailOnline takes a look at some of the reasons why the brutal ‘I’m a Celeb’ format has stood the test of time with the British public.

Read more 

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