Lamb, hogget, and mutton are the meat of domestic sheep (species Ovis aries) at different ages.
A sheep in its first year is called a lamb, and its meat is also called lamb. The meat of a juvenile sheep older than one year is hogget; outside the USA this is also a term for the living animal. The meat of an adult sheep is mutton, a term only used for the meat, not the living animals. In the Indian subcontinent the term mutton is also used to refer to goat meat.
Lamb is the most expensive of the three types, and in recent decades sheep meat is increasingly only retailed as “lamb”, sometimes stretching the accepted distinctions given above. The stronger-tasting mutton is now hard to find in many areas, despite the efforts of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign in the UK. In Australia, the term prime lamb is often used to refer to lambs raised for meat. Other languages, for example French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic, make similar, or even more detailed, distinctions between sheep meat by age and sometimes by gender and diet, though these languages do not always use different words to refer to the animal and its meat — for example, lechazo in Spanish refers to meat from milk-fed (unweaned) lambs.
The definitions for lamb, hogget and mutton vary considerably between countries. Younger lambs are smaller and more tender. Mutton is meat from a sheep over two years old, and has less tender flesh. In general, the darker the colour, the older the animal. Baby lamb meat will be pale pink, while regular lamb is pinkish-red.
In moderation, lamb is an excellent source of protein and vital nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12. lamb is a type of red meat and you probably know that red meat often gets a bad rep, but high-quality red meats like grass-fed beef and grass-fed lamb are excellent and truly healthy protein sources in moderation.
5 Amazing Benefits
1. Excellent Iron Source
As a red meat, lamb inherently has a lot more iron than other protein sources like chicken or fish. In addition, since lamb is an animal source of iron, it contains heme iron rather than the non-heme iron found in plants. Heme iron is the more absorbable form of iron so consuming red meat like lamb can help to improve and prevent iron deficiency and anemia symptoms.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the bioavailability of iron is approximately 14 percent to 18 percent when someone consumes a diet that includes significant quantities of meat, seafood as well as vitamin C, which boosts iron absorption. For vegetarian eaters, the bioavailability of iron from their meat-free diets is significantly lower at only 5 percent to 12 percent.
2. Nervous System Health Promoter
The National Institute of Health’s Dietary Office estimates that somewhere between 1.5 percent to 15 percent of people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin B12. Other studies, like one published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, indicate that this number might be even higher, with up to 39 percent of the population possibly suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Lamb is an awesome source of B12 with just three ounces of lamb meat providing just under half of most people’s daily B12 requirements.
But that’s not all — lamb is also loaded with other essential B vitamins, including vitamin B6, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Vitamin B12 as well as these other B vitamins help our nervous systems function as they should, and vitamin B12 ensures that the actual nerve cells are in a healthy state. In case you’re not entirely sure why the nervous system is so important, this system is essentially the body’s electrical wiring that’s responsible for helping the entire body properly communicate and function.
3. Immune Booster
As you can see from the nutrition info in this article, lamb is also loaded with immune-boosting zinc. This nutrient can be found in cells throughout our bodies, and it’s absolutely essential to optimal immune health, along with wound healing, DNA and protein synthesis, as well as growth and development in children.
When it comes to immune health, if you don’t get enough zinc on a regular basis, your immune system is not going to function as it should, which means you’re more likely to have all kinds of health problems ranging from the common cold to more serious infections like pneumonia. Consuming lamb meat and other zinc-rich foods can help keep your zinc levels in a healthy place and boost your overall immune function. In addition, zinc helps enable optimal senses of taste and smell (two very important things when you’re consuming some tasty lamb meat).
4. Rich Source of Healthy Fats like Omega-3 Fatty Acids and CLA
Lamb does contain fat, but a significant portion of that fat is anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, most pieces of lamb contain even more omega-3s than beef. Many people are aware of the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but not too many realize that lamb meat is a noteworthy source of these healthy fatty acids.
Grass-fed lamb meat also provides its consumers with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is the name given to group of chemicals found in the fatty acid called linoleic acid. Why is it so awesome that lamb contains this group of chemicals? For starters, CLA has been shown to help aid fat loss, improve lean muscle mass and animal studies have even shown it may be a potential cancer fighter (especially breast cancer) in humans.
5. Protein Powerhouse
As a type of meat and, more specifically, a type of red meat, lamb is loaded with vital protein. Just one three-ounce serving of lamb meat contains over 23 grams of protein. Protein intake is important to everyone, but the more active you are, the more important it is that you get enough protein in your diet. Protein does so much for the body, including providing it with slow-burning, sustainable fuel. It also helps your body build, repair and maintain muscle mass.
The protein found in lamb meat is made of essential amino acids, which can only be obtained through our diets. Animal protein sources like lamb meat are considered “complete proteins” because they contain all essential amino acids. Other non-meat protein sources, like vegetables, grains and nuts, typically do not contain at least one or more essential amino acids.