Is Lamb Good For Weight Loss? Nutritional Value & Other Tips 2024

is lamb good for weight loss
Discover if lamb is suitable for a weight-loss diet. Photo: Natalia Lisovskaya/Shutterstock

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It can be confusing knowing which meats to consume and which ones to avoid if you’re trying to lose weight. Different meats have varying amounts of protein and fat. Certain cuts of red meat are fattier than others — processed meats like bacon and sausage[1] are particularly high in saturated fat.

Where does lamb meat stand? Is lamb good for weight loss?

Yes — lamb is high in protein yet lower in fat than other meats. This makes lamb an ideal choice of animal protein for anyone looking to shed extra pounds. However, as with other red meats, it’s best to consume lamb in moderation due to potential health risks.

Is Lamb Good For Losing Weight?

Yes. Lamb is low in fat and carbohydrates, making it good for weight loss. Lamb is also a good source of animal protein,[2] which can help build muscle and increase satiety.

Lamb is considered a preferable food to include in many weight-loss diets. However, red meat[3] like lamb should not be overly consumed due to its link with colorectal cancer.

Is Lamb Good For Weight Loss?

is lamb good for weight loss
Lamb can be included in most weight-loss diets. Photo: hlphoto/Shutterstock

Yes. Lamb is healthy for weight loss because it is lower in saturated fat compared to other red meats. Lamb is high in protein and has no carbohydrates.

Nutrition experts dismiss the idea that there is only one type of weight loss diet. Instead, many eating approaches can support weight loss:[4] high-protein diets; low-glycemic diets that are low in sugar; low-fat diets; low-carbohydrate diets; the ketogenic diet, which emphasizes fat and protein; the Paleolithic diet, which minimizes grains; the Mediterranean diet and the Nordic diet, both of which emphasize plant foods and low-fat meats.

Lamb fits easily into any of these eating approaches because it provides high-quality protein. Enough dietary protein is necessary for building muscle[5] as well as increasing satiety;[6] consuming adequate protein can help maintain a healthy weight.

However, because fish and chicken tend to be leaner than red meat, some may be unsure if red meat is allowed on weight loss diets. Yes, leaner red meats such as lamb are allowed.

Lamb is lower in saturated fat[7] and higher in heart-healthy unsaturated fats compared to other meats such as beef. This may come as a surprise to some, as lamb and mutton are often presumed to be fatty. However, due to variations in breeding over time, lamb and mutton fat content has decreased.

For example, although the Nordic diet[8] — a diet that has been shown to reduce body weight — tends to favor chicken and fish over red meat, lean meats like lamb are allowed on the diet. Similarly, the Mediterranean diet[9] encourages fish, white meat, and legumes for protein but allows small amounts of lean red meat.

Furthermore, a 16-week study showed that during the 16 weeks of weight loss, red meat consumption had no negative impact[10] on cardiovascular health. Other multi-national studies also did not link unprocessed red meat[11] with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Nutritional Value Of Lamb

Lamb meat can be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy weight loss diet to burn fat. Fresh lamb[12] is nutrient-rich, providing health-supporting amounts of essential micronutrients like zinc, potassium, and B vitamins, without sugar or carbohydrates.

Lamb provides essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, which can only be obtained through diet.[13] It also provides the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6,[13] healthy unsaturated fats.

Additionally, one ounce of lamb,[2] or about 28 grams, contains 4.54 milligrams of calcium, 5.95 milligrams of magnesium, 80 calories, and 5.33 micrograms of selenium. The daily recommended amount of lamb and other red meat is 70 grams.[14]

Although lamb is a good source of protein, it is still red meat. Red meat has a higher correlation with colorectal cancer[3] than white meat. Consuming lamb in moderation is best when you factor in calories and optimal health.

If you want to reduce your red meat intake, many other good meats for weight loss are available.

How To Make & Eat Lamb For Weight Loss 

Keeping calories on the lower side[15] can help support weight loss. Cooking styles and food preparation matter. Cook and prepare lamb with herbs and spices rather than fats from oils or butter. Also, be mindful of marinades that may contain added sugar.

Healthy ways to cook lamb include:

  • Broiling.
  • Baking.
  • Roasting.
  • Grilling (avoid charring the meat as this can have carcinogenic[16] effects).
  • Stewing.

Enjoy lamb by:

  • Serving lamb steaks over a small portion of wild rice with a side of steamed vegetables.
  • Swapping out your grilled chicken for grilled lamb in your salad.
  • Making lamb stew with potatoes and vegetables.  
  • Baking a lamb and butternut squash pie.
  • Roasting lamb and topping it with peppers and mushrooms.
  • Making a lamb burrito with black beans, avocado, and low-fat cheese.
  • Grilling lamb kebabs, alternating lamb and vegetable cubes on the skewers.
  • Cooking ground lamb meat to make lamb burgers.

However you prepare your lamb, consider your meal as a whole. It’s important to consume a variety of healthy foods for weight loss. This may involve making food swaps and exchanging fattening foods for more weight-loss-friendly foods. For example, rather than eating your lamb burger on a sugary bun, eat it on a bed of vegetables.

Lifestyle Factors

Consider your overall lifestyle in your weight-loss plan. A balanced, whole-food diet is a major component of maintaining a healthy weight but should not be the sole driver. Other weight loss tactics include getting regular exercise,[17] sleeping well,[18] managing stress,[19] and reducing alcohol.[20]

Another important element of weight loss success is seeking out necessary support. Weight loss can be physically, financially, and emotionally challenging. Lean on supportive friends and family and enlist the help of professional coaches, doctors, and nutritionists as needed.

If you need support beyond diet and lifestyle changes, reach out to a nutritionist or doctor. Speak with them about prescribing weight loss supplements or meal replacement shakes for weight loss that may elevate your progress.


Lamb is a red meat that is low in calories, saturated fat, and carbohydrates yet high in protein and healthy unsaturated fat. This distribution of nutrients makes lamb suitable for any weight loss diet, whether low-carb, high-protein, Mediterranean, or Nordic.

Although lamb is considered a red meat, it is a lean meat and can be consumed in moderation when trying to lose weight. However, because red meat has a higher association with colon cancer than white meat, it should not be overly consumed. Experts recommend a maximum of 70 grams of red and processed meats[3] daily.

When attempting weight loss, factor in the whole picture. Look at your diet beyond lamb and attend to lifestyle habits such as exercise routine, sleep habits, and alcohol consumption. Reach out to supportive friends and qualified professionals for guidance and support on your weight loss journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lamb healthy or fattening?

Lamb is not fattening. Lamb can be healthy, depending on your health goals. Lamb is high in protein and contains many essential vitamins and minerals. However, lamb is considered red meat, which has stronger links to cancer than white meat.

Is lamb or beef healthier?

Lamb is slightly healthier. Lamb has less saturated fat and more heart-healthy unsaturated fats compared to beef.

Is lamb high in fat?

No. Lamb is a lean meat and is relatively low in fat.

Is lamb high in calories?

No. Lamb is low in calories.

Is it okay to have lamb every day?

This is not advisable. While lamb is leaner than other red meats, it may still pose similar health risks, such as an increased risk of colon cancer.

What’s the best way to cook lamb?

Lamb can be broiled, baked, grilled, or cooked in a stew. Most cooking methods are safe and healthy. You should avoid fattening oils, marinades with sugar, and cooking methods that cause charring on the meat.

What if I don’t like lamb?

Many other meats are good for weight loss including chicken, turkey, and fish. If eating lamb does not appeal to you, experiment with other animal protein sources.

Will lamb make me gain weight?

This is unlikely unless the lamb is cooked in fattening oils or marinated in sugary sauce. Lamb is low in saturated fat and has no carbohydrates. However, lamb does have calories; if you overeat it, you could gain weight.

+ 20 Sources

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  5. Carbone, J.W. and Pasiakos, S.M. (2019). Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients, [online] 11(5), pp.1136–1136. doi:
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A health coach specializing in Integrative Nutrition, I approach wellness with a holistic and functional medicine perspective. As a writer, I simplify intricate topics such as nutrition, gut and hormone health, mental well-being, and spiritual health,… See More