If you like liver, you will get a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals from either beef or pork liver. Pork liver is slightly more nutritious than beef liver, but both of these organ meats should only be consumed in moderation due to their high levels of cholesterol and certain micronutrients.
Each 3.5-ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains 191 calories, 29 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat, including 2 grams of saturated fat. The same-sized serving of cooked pork liver contains 165 calories, 65 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat. Pork liver contains fewer calories and less fat and saturated fat, making it a more diet-friendly option.
While each serving of pork liver provides more vitamin C, with 41 percent of the daily value compared to 3 percent in beef liver, and more thiamine, with 17 percent compared to 13 percent, beef liver is a better source of vitamins overall. Beef liver provides 1,176 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12, 634 percent of the DV for vitamin A, 201 percent of the daily value for riboflavin, 88 percent of the DV for niacin, 63 percent of the DV for folate, 51 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6 and 12 percent of the DV for vitamin D, while pork liver provides 129 percent of the DV for riboflavin, 42 percent of the DV for niacin, 29 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6, 41 percent of the DV for folate, 311 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12, 360 percent of the DV for vitamin A and no vitamin D.
Pork liver is a better source of minerals, with each serving providing more iron, with 100 percent of the DV compared to 36 percent, and more zinc, with 45 percent of the DV compared to 35 percent in beef liver. Beef liver does contain more phosphorus, with 50 percent of the DV compared to 24 percent, and more potassium, with 10 percent of the DV compared to 4 percent in pork liver.
Both types of liver are high in cholesterol, with beef liver containing 396 milligrams per serving and pork liver containing 355 milligrams. Healthy people should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day, so it is best to eat smaller portions of liver and to limit other high-cholesterol foods on the days when you consume liver. You also need to limit your consumption of liver to avoid consuming too much of certain vitamins, including vitamin A. While this vitamin is essential for healthy vision, consuming more than 10,000 international units per day isn't recommended due to potential toxicity risk, and both types of liver contain more than this per 3.5-ounce serving.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.