Is grass fed lamb the “land salmon” of the domestic animal world? I recently saw some
Intrigued I looked up the values of lamb on this websitehttp://nutritiondata.self.com/ a nifty website that gives very thorough nutritional information about just about any food you can think of.
I found that a shoulder blade steak from US ‘domestic lamb’ (70% of which are raised on pasture until the last 6 to 12 weeks, and then finished on grain) has an omega 6 content of 5124 mg and an omega 3 content of 1451mg per 100 grams or a ratio of 3.53:1 found here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/…/lamb-veal-and-game-p…/4719/2. A sample of grass fed ground beef on the nutrition data site was 123 g Omega 6 and 25 mg Omega 3 per 100 grams, or a ratio of 4.92: 1. Generic (presumably conventional beef (80% lean…comparable total fat to our lamb) is stated to have 122 mg omega 6 to 13.4 omega 3 or a ratio of 9.1:1. According to some Paleo diet authors, an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 2:1 is what is desired in the entire diet, however, generally Omega 6 fatty acids are much easier to come by in our food than omega 3s, Hence why salmon is recommended to help correct the fa ratio in the diet because it is very high in omega 3s and very low in omega 6s. The same site shows wild Atlantic salmon as having 341 mg omega 6 to 3996 mg omega 3 or a ratio of .08/1. Farmed atlantic salmon had 1944 mg omega 6 to 4961 omega 3 or a ratio of .39:1.
Curious how our lambs compared, especially since they were finished on a super food crop of kale, turnips, rye grass, daikon radishes, clover, and vetch, all very high in omega 3 content, I decided to bite the bullet and send twenty shoulder steak and sirloin steak samples from ten lambs to Iowa State University’s meat lab for analysis.
The analysis on our lamb revealed that the ten samples of Tamarack Lamb, averaged 973 mg of omega 6 and 1,263 mg of Omega 3 per 100 gram sample. This is a ratio of .77:1 (that is less than 1:1) making it similar to farmed salmon, but still a long reach before it can be compared to wild salmon. The ten samples averaged 18 – 20% fat so therefore are comparable to the lamb and one ground beef samples quoted from the nutrition data website above. My guess is that the NZ lamb samples were higher in total omega 6 and omega 3 because the lamb would be higher in total fat content. likewise the grass fed ground beef sample was likely very lean, lowering the total omega fa content.
This does put Tamarack lamb in a unique category among domestic land animals with a very desirable omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio of less than 1:1 which is comparable to farmed salmon.
Comparison of lamb, and lamb fed brassica’s to other meats published in Selfnutrition.com
click to enlarge table