Lamb and Your Health

Foods bringing both flavor and nutrition to the table are the perfect fit for today's lifestyles.  As a delicious and nutrient-rich food, lamb is a natural choice.  Its convenience and versatility are perfect when quick-cooking is in order.  Our white paper, Lamb: Its Place in the U.S. Diet, is an excellent resource.


On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb is lean, has only 175 calories and meets the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) definition for lean. According to FDA guidelines, lean meat has less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. The leanest cuts of lamb include those from the leg, loin and shank.

Nutrient Rich

Lamb is also nutrient rich, making it a natural fit for healthy diets. On average, it's an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin. In addition, lamb is available to meet a range of preferences—from natural or organic lamb to lamb that has been exclusively grass-fed or grain finished.

Feel Good About Mealtime

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a healthy eating pattern focused on nutrient-dense foods, which includes lean meats such as lamb. As the chart below indicates, lamb easily fits within the total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol recommendations set forth by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Average Value for 3-ounce
Cooked Portion of Lamb
Total Fat 20% to 35% of calories
(44g to 77g per day for a 2,000 calorie diet)
Saturated Fat < 10% of calories
(20g or less per day for a 2,000 calorie diet)
Cholesterol < 300 mg per day 80mg

Health & Nutrition Professionals

As a health or nutrition professional, you're on the front lines of helping Americans make nutrient rich food choices.  Lamb is the perfect fit for today's lifestyles—it offers an ideal balance of flavor, nutrition, versatility, and simplicity.

The Low Down on Lamb

Here are some resources to help you better understand the important nutritional value of lamb.

  • Lamb White Paper: Our white paper, Lamb: It's Place in the U.S. Diet, is an excellent resource to help you understand the nutritional contribution of lamb.
  • Nutrition Content of Lamb: This fact sheet explains the nutrient content of lamb, as well as the function each nutrient serves in a person's health.
  • American Dietetic Association Fact Sheet on Lamb: This fact sheet was developed in conjunction with the American Dietetic Association and is written for consumers—perfect for clients and patients who want to know more about lamb.
  • Lamb 101 Consumer Brochure: A colorful and inspiring brochure full of tips and recipes for getting the most out of lean lamb.
  • Lamb 101 PowerPoint: Share your knowledge of lamb! Use this PowerPoint for presentations to co-workers, colleagues and clients.

Essential Nutrients in Lamb

This short table explains what nutrients are in lamb and their health function.

Iron Iron from animal sources, such as lamb, is more easily absorbed by the body than iron from plant sources.  Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to all of the body's tissues, is necessary for immune function, and helps the body synthesize proteins.
Zinc Zinc is necessary for wound healing and contributes to growth and development.  It is a component of many enzymes and, like iron, is more readily absorbed from animal sources.
Selenium Selenium is an antioxidant which works closely with vitamin E and supports immune function.
Vitamin B12 Found only in foods of animal origin, vitamin B12 plays an essential role in many metabolic reactions.  Low levels of vitamin B12 can manifest as anemia, neurological problems, and high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
Niacin Niacin is a B vitamin necessary for the metabolism of nutrients and the proper function of enzymes.
Riboflavin Riboflavin is a B vitamin involved in energy production and enzyme function.
Protein As a major structural component of all human cells, protein is essential for adequate growth, wound healing, immune function, and muscle maintenance.  It is also essential for the synthesis of enzymes and hormones.