Lamb 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

Lamb 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

What are the nutritional values of lamb? What do they mean? How much does it cost? Are there any health benefits associated with eating lamb?

These questions have been asked many times before. However, the answers vary depending on which source you consult. Some sources say that lamb is not a very nutritious food. Others claim that it’s high in protein and fat content makes up for its low amount of nutrients. There are also claims that lamb contains carcinogens. If you’re concerned about your health, then it would be wise to avoid consuming lamb.

The truth is, there isn’t enough research done on the subject of lamb and its nutritional value. Most studies were conducted on cows or pigs and their nutritional values aren’t comparable to those of sheep or lambs.

On top of that, most meat products contain added ingredients such as salt, sugar, preservatives and other additives. So while some of these studies may be useful in determining the nutritional value of certain foods, they don’t necessarily tell us how much lamb is actually worth.

So what are the nutritional values of lamb?

Let’s take a look at them!

Nutritional Value Of Lamb And Its Consumption By Humans

According to USDA data, lamb has a nutrient density score (NDS) of 0.7.

Anything above 1.0 is considered to be good for you, so lamb is already in the clear. Nutritionally, there isn’t much difference between the meat of younger sheep (lamb) and older sheep (mutton). The main difference is that mutton tends to have a lot more fat content. Lamb also contains a little more cholesterol, but this isn’t something you should be concerned about when eating meat anyway.

One thing you should be concerned about, however is the sodium levels of lamb. This type of meat contains a lot of saltwater, which gives it its distinct taste.

The saltwater also has a lot of other chemicals which preserve the meat and give it a pink colour. Some of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), so over-consuming this type of meat can increase your chances of developing certain cancers. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat lamb. The risks of consuming this type of meat are very low and the benefits will be discussed in greater detail later on.

One last thing to note about the nutritional values of lamb is its cholesterol content. Lamb has been identified as a good source of certain types of “good” cholesterol.

This is the same type of cholesterol which has been linked to improved cardiovascular health. Consuming a diet that’s high in this type of cholesterol can decrease your chances of developing heart disease or a heart attack.

Lamb And Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, the idea of eating lamb might put you off your dinner. After all, red meat is usually avoided in diets which are aimed at losing weight.

While this train of thought isn’t completely wrong, it isn’t completely right either. Lamb is a high-protein food, which means it’s going to be digested slower and prevent spikes in blood sugar. This is a good thing because eating a lot of high-protein foods creates a longer feeling of fullness.

Lamb also has a high fat content and the fat it contains is mostly unsaturated. Unsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, which as we know can decrease your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Saturated fats on the other hand, while they won’t increase your cholesterol levels, have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed in high amounts. Lamb contains a moderate amount of saturated fat, so you don’t need to worry about lamb being bad for your heart.

So lamb is good for weight loss because it’s high in protein and fat (in a good way). The only reason people avoid red meat in diets is because they think it will make them gain weight.

As you’ve seen, this isn’t the case. In fact, diets which are low in protein tend to make people hungry quicker and result in people eating more calories than they normally would. If you’re on a diet, then lamb is a good food choice for you!

Lamb And Muscle Growth

Studies have shown that the amino acid profile of meat is good for muscle growth. In particular, amino acids like leucine , found in meat, have been linked to increased muscle protein synthesis.

Meat has also been shown to improve exercise performance and increase strength gain. While plant-based proteins like soy have been shown to be good for muscle growth as well, most people prefer the taste of meat and would rather gain muscle and lose fat at a quicker rate. Lamb is also rich in creatine, a nutrient which has been proven to improve muscle size, strength and performance.

If you want to put on some muscle, then you could do a lot worse than opting for lamb and other meats as your protein source. Of course, it’s important to remember that just eating meat isn’t going to magically transform your skinny body into a muscular one.

You’re still going to need to lift weights and perform resistance exercises on a regular basis if you want to see those muscles develop. However, without sufficient protein from meats like lamb, you probably won’t be able to see the changes you want.

Lamb And Amino Acids

Some research suggests that eating foods rich in the amino acid called tryptophan can help relieve depression and make you sleepy. Foods which are high in tryptophan are often referred to as ‘comfort foods’.

While this may be true for foods with a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, it doesn’t seem to apply to lamb which has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate by up to 10%. This means that the body is working to convert the lamb you’ve eaten into energy rather than storing it as fat.

The more lean meat you eat, the more your metabolism is going to increase because protein is very thermogenic. In fact, if you ate nothing but lamb, chicken and fish, you could maintain or even lose weight!

This is because in order to digest the meats you’ve eaten, the body has to work harder to burn off the calories it contains, hence promoting weight loss. If you’re on a fat loss program and want to speed up your metabolism, lamb is a good meat option for you.

Lamb For A Cleaner Colon

Meat is generally good for cleansing the colon because it promotes regular bowel movements and can help clear out leftover waste that clings on to the walls of your large intestine. Lamb, in particular, is good for this because it’s soft and easily broken down by your body.

The softness of lamb means that it doesn’t strain your digestive system, which can happen with harder meats like beef. Lamb is easily transformed into energy and doesn’t put much stress on your body when it comes to digestion.

There’s little scientific research to support this, but many people also believe that meat helps you to stay fuller for longer, making it great for weight loss because it curbs your appetite. Lamb, in particular, is said to be one of the most filling types of meat.

Whatever the reason, lamb is a great meat option for anyone who is trying to lose weight because it’s full of nutrients and is low in calories.

Lamb And Fitness

The benefits of lamb don’t end there. It’s also one of the best types of meat you can eat before exercising because it provides you with energy, improves your resistance to fatigue and helps to repair torn muscles after a workout.

Lamb has been shown to be particularly beneficial for strength training because it increases your body’s ability to produce ATP, which is the energy currency for cells.

As with most things, you don’t want to over do it. There is such a thing as too much exercise and excessive cardio can actually be extremely bad for your health.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that more exercise is always better, but this isn’t the case.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Effect of guarana (Paullinia cupana) seed and pitanga (Eugenia uniflora L.) leaf extracts on lamb burgers with fat replacement by chia oil emulsion during shelf life … by W Hofhuis, JC De Jongste, P Merkus – Archives of disease in …, 2003 – adc.bmj.com

An overview of the nutritional value of beef and lamb meat from South America by FAL de Carvalho, JM Lorenzo, M Pateiro… – Food Research …, 2019 – Elsevier

Meat production characteristics of Turkish native breeds: II. meat quality, fatty acid, and cholesterol profile of lambs by MC Cabrera, A Saadoun – Meat science, 2014 – Elsevier

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