Are you one of those people who go back and forth in front of the freezers at a store, confused about which meat you would need for dinner?
Well, you are not alone in this. Many get confused about this matter.
Many people, especially the new generation, have difficulty choosing their protein options when there is so much variety in the frozen area of the store.
One of these confused minds’ most prevalent questions is: “Is Lamb Beef or Pork?” It may be shocking to some people, but all these three protein types are distinct.
They even come from different animals. The only commonality in all three is that they are considered red meat.
In this post, we will unravel the mystery of another red meat type called lamb and learn how to use it in cooking.
What Is Lamb?
Lamb is a red meat that is sourced from a sheep that is almost a year old.
There is a small difference between lamb meat and mutton. If the domesticated sheep becomes more than a year old, then its meat is known as mutton; however, if the sheep’s age is six to eight months, the sheep will be called a lamb; it is the younger version of mutton and more tender as well.
Due to its tenderness and moist meat, it has been a part of human cuisine from the age when humans came out of the caves and started hunting.
The middle east particularly has a history with lamb that dates back to at least 9000 years ago. Even today, it is preferred over beef, mutton, or pork.
Not all of the lamb’s meat is equally tasty or holds importance for humans; some major parts of the lamb are expensive compared to others.
The meat of the shoulder, loins, shank, legs, and rack are the highest in demand and are most likely to be found at any store.
There are infinite benefits for teenagers and youngsters who consume lamb meat in their growing years.
- Firstly, it is rich in protein, and you need at least 4 grams per pound according to your body weight to keep up a healthy balanced diet daily (1). Protein serves as a potent matter for muscle building and is also the main element in our DNA, so the more high-quality meat you consume, the healthier you will get. People who are recovering after surgery or an injury are prescribed lamb meat to accelerate the process of tissue building and hence quick recovery. Athletes, especially bodybuilders, gain muscles only with the help of red meat protein.
- The vitamins and minerals in meat are essential for a functioning body. Humans need iron for their hemoglobin (2); vitamin B12 is yet another vitamin needed for red blood cell growth (3). Zinc, Selenium, Niacin, and Phosphorus are also present in meat and are vital for the human body and its development. These elements keep the human body in check for cholesterol levels and build immunity (4).
- Another important component in abundance in the lamb is the amount of good monosaturated fat containing Vitamin E, which increases the body’s antioxidant levels and enables it to attract more nutrients (5). Fat also creates a balanced amount of good cholesterol in the human body.
- Another important and recently discovered fact related to lamb’s health advantages is the high levels of CLA in the body (6). CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, is a substance found to work against obesity by reducing body fat (7). So, people who follow a fat-reducing diet can choose to have lamb in small amounts, just like chicken or any seafood.
However, not everything is good about eating lamb; there may be also harmful consequences of having too much lamb. Here’s the list of cons for consuming lamb.
Health Risks of Consuming Lamb
It is common knowledge that whether it is mutton, beef, pork, or any kind of red meat, having it in a high quantity is harmful to a human.
These red meats can make anyone prone to chronic diseases, for which lifetime diets and medicines become a person’s best friend.
Cardiovascular diseases and hypertension is the most common side effect of eating too much lamb (8). Not only does the person get fat, but it also takes a toll on the heart.
The cholesterol, whether good or bad, must not exceed a specific limit. The chances of clogged arteries and strokes are higher for people who consume red meat, even lamb (9).
Heart patients are especially at a greater risk of another stroke because meat increases the body’s uric acid (10). This means the kidneys are not effectively removing it from the body, which ultimately makes crystals that travel to the joints and cause arthritis (11).
Another serious and deadly side effect of consuming red meat is the numerous types of cancer risks which become higher if people do not control their daily intake of lamb meat (12,13).
Prostate cancer and breast cancer are prevalent due to this (14). Also, one of the deadliest cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, becomes a risk for a person.
Just like kidneys, red meat also affects the insulin of the body. The body develops insulin resistance which causes type 2 diabetes; the chances of getting diabetes increase by 48% for people whose intake of red meat is higher (15).
What Are Beef and Pork?
Beef is another form of red meat which comes from ox and cow. At the same time, the pork is sourced from domesticated pigs. Both the animals are not much older, just like a lamb.
Innovative Recipe You Can Try With Lamb
The best recipe to try is a lamb stew, one of the easiest and most popular dishes associated with lamb worldwide (16).
- Three pounds of lamb meat
- Four tbsps of olive oil, distributed
- Six large onions, quartered
- Six medium-sized carrots, cut them into 1-inch cubes
- Eight medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- Two cans of beef broth
- Two tsp salt
- Half tsp pepper
- Two tbsp butter
- Two tbsps of all-purpose flour
- Three tsp fresh parsley
- Three tsp crushed chives
- Two tsp crushed fresh thyme
- In a pot, start to brown the meat with two tablespoons of oil at medium flame. Do it till the pink color doesn’t turn brown.
- Now chop the onions and add them to the pot along with the diced carrots. Until the vegetables become tender, cook them in the oil and occasionally stir so the onions do not stick to the base of the pan.
- Once they are tender, add potatoes, salt, pepper, and the beef bouillon into it.
- After the potatoes are cooked, remove the pot from the stove and cover it to bake the dish in a preheated oven for an hour at 350 degrees. Check the oven in between for the tenderness of the meat.
- After that, separate the meat and vegetable in one bowl and the pan juice into another.
- Now use the pot and add the butter, whisk it on the base and add flour, then bring in the pan juice that was set aside.
- Now boil it and stir till it becomes thick; add parsley, other herbs, meat, and veggies into the pot.
Lamb is red meat; however, it is different from beef and pork.
It comes from another animal that is domesticated sheep. The sheep is no older than a year. After it turns 1, the same meat is called mutton.
This meat is not cheap and has many benefits such as good cholesterol and several vitamins like E, B12, etc.
Other than that, nutrients like zinc, phosphorous, and iron are also present in lamb meat which are good for human health and body development.
The new research has shown promising data, which concludes that a small amount of lamb integrated into the diet can reduce body fat (17,18).
However, there are adverse effects of eating too much lamb. These issues include diabetes, heart stroke, other cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancers such as breast and pancreatic cancer.
There are many dishes popular with lamb and mostly are common in the middle east, where its consumption has been the strongest since the dawn of time.
How to protect lamb meat from getting foodborne diseases or going bad?
The first task one must always do is wash the meat when you get home after grocery shopping. Then, put it into the freezer until further use. When you have to use it, defrost it by bringing it out of the freezer an hour before you want to cook it.
What temperature is the best to cook the lamb so it doesn’t remain tight or uncooked?
The optimum temperature for cooking is 160 Fahrenheit. The meat will remain tender and also be thoroughly cooked.