Lamb meat – Protein that deserves more attention


Protein is an important component of our nutrition for our body’s performance and functioning as well as muscle growth. Lamb is a protein source not mentioned as often as chicken, beef, and/or pork. Domestic sheep are where the lamb we eat comes from. It is in the red meat family, so it is loaded with iron. Young sheep are called lamb (these are 1 year old and younger) whereas older sheep are called mutton. Lamb is not one of the more common items you see at the grocery store since most people typically select from beef, chicken, and fish. Lamb can be part of a healthy diet.

Lamb mainly contains protein and fat. In 100 grams (3.5oz of lamb) there are about 258 calories, 26 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat. There are zero carbohydrates. It has all the essential amino acids which means it is great for muscular growth and repair. Bodybuilders can especially utilize lamb in their diet. Most cuts of lamb contain about 20% fat, but it depends on what has been trimmed and the actual lamb itself. Lamb fat is called tallow, and it is higher in saturated fat than both beef and pork. Tallow in lamb does contain a type of ruminant trans-fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). There has been growing attention with taking CLA as a supplement and obtaining it through diet because it has been linked to reducing body fat.

There are other nutritional benefits to eating lamb. It contains zinc which is important for hormones including testosterone and insulin. Lamb has phosphorus which is good for growth. It also has B12 which our brains need. Lamb also contains selenium and niacin which are also needed for bodily functions.

From a fitness nutrition perspective, lamb can preserve muscle mass and help with performance. Lamb is considered a high quality, complete protein. It contains beta-alanine which helps with muscle function and decreasing fatigue. Meats such as lamb are a great source of iron. We want healthy red blood cells that iron contributes to.

Lamb is great to consume for its protein, iron, and B12. However, as with other red meats, we want to be sure to not have a high intake to prevent possible heart disease and cancer. Nutrition is key for our health, and being knowledgeable about what we are putting in our bodies as well as how it can help is worth understanding. Food is fuel and lamb can be a good meat for our bodies.

Full article: Growth performance, meat quality and lipid metabolism in finishing lambs fed diets containing rumen-unprotected and rumen-protected betaine (

Evaluation of growth, meat quality, and sensory characteristics of wool, hair, and composite lambs | Journal of Animal Science | Oxford Academic (

Microbiology of Fresh and Restructured Lamb Meat: A Review: Critical Reviews in Microbiology: Vol 21, No 1 (

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Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has a Doctorate in Health and Human Performance, M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor. She has 6 books on Amazon too,.