Is Ground Beef More Nutritious Than Ground Pork?

Nowadays it seems like ground beef is sharing the spotlight with many other ground meats. You may even notice that some recipes swap out ground beef for ground turkey (or vice versa) since, according to Healthline, ground turkey has less saturated fat and fewer calories than beef. While these nutritional profiles have long been debated to understand which is healthiest, there seems to be a new player at the table – ground pork. But how does ground pork stack up against ground beef?

Similar to beef, pork is actually red meat and it's not "the other white meat" many people may think it is, explains WebMD. One 100-gram serving of ground pork sits at 263 calories, explains the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It has 16.9 grams of protein, 21.2 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrates (per USDA). On the other hand, ground beef can be broken down by its lean and fat content. For instance, one 100-gram serving of ground beef with 85% lean meat and 15% fat clocks in at 256 calories (via USDA). It contains 27.7 grams of protein, 15.3 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrates. Alternatively a 100-gram serving of ground beef with 95% lean meat and 5% fat drops the caloric content down to 193. It contains 29.2 grams of protein and 7.58 grams of fat. When it comes to higher protein and lower fat levels, ground beef seems to be a clear winner this round.

Ground beef wins by a small margin

Beyond containing high amounts of protein, ground beef is also loaded with many nutrients. Two of its most abundant minerals are zinc and iron, explains Healthline. In fact, consuming 100 grams of ground beef with 85% lean meat and 15% fat gets you 6.62 milligrams of zinc and 2.93 milligrams of iron according to USDA. It's also brimming with selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and niacin (per Healthline).

On the other hand, if you're chowing down on 100 grams of ground pork you'd be getting 2.2 milligrams of zinc and 0.88 milligrams of iron (via USDA). While pork offers less zinc and iron than beef, pork is still a great source of nutrients. WebMD explains that pork still contains high amounts of zinc and iron, as well as niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus. While both types of meat offer rich amounts of vitamins and minerals, if you compare them side by side, ground beef wins almost every category, except one – sodium levels.

According to USDA, ground beef consisting of 85% lean meat and 15% fat has 89 milligrams of sodium per 100-gram serving. This sodium level drops to 56 milligrams if you're eating 100 grams of pork (per USDA). The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommends consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. So while ground beef is more nutritious than ground pork, if you're concerned about your sodium levels, consider eating this meat in moderation and ditching the salt.