Is Pecan Pie Healthy?

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, certainly one of the most important elements of the meal is the dessert – and of course, the go-to option for most families is a lovely, fresh pecan pie.

Is Pecan Pie Healthy

Although many other times of the year you can enjoy a nice pecan pie though!

The real question is not when is best to eat it though, it’s if the pie is healthy or not.

Well in short, pecan pie isn’t bad for you as such but it’s not exactly healthy either.

This is because while pecan pie packs a whole host of nutritional benefits, it is also usually high in calories. 

But obviously, there’s plenty of other things we need to consider when we’re looking at this topic.

So, we’ve written this handy guide to try to explain everything you need to know about pecan pie and your health.

Read on to learn more. 

What Is A Pecan Pie?

A pecan pie is a very popular dessert dish in the southern areas of the United States and in areas of South America – especially its namesake region of Pecan. 

It’s traditionally a pie with a caramel filling, made with corn syrup and pecan nuts added to it.

It’s normally made with a pie crust, which can be made at home or store bought.

On top of all these ingredients, there are eggs, butter, salt and vanilla extract. 

Some people may even decide to substitute the corn syrup for maple syrup for a little extra sweetness kick. 

This pie is usually enjoyed at dessert time for Thanksgiving dinner, but many people enjoy this pie, or a variation of this pie, at any time of the year. 

Now that we’re aware of what exactly goes into the pecan pie, it’s now a good idea to look at the nutritional information with a pecan pie which will help us to understand if it is healthy or not. 

Nutritional Information For Pecan Pie 

Typically there are eight servings in a pecan pie, so let’s take a look at the nutritional value for each slice of pecan pie (one serving). 

Each slice has 380 calories (Kcal) with the macronutrient values of 58 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein and then 17 grams of fat. 

Despite the negative points here, there are some positive nutritional points around pecan pie.

There’s plenty of essential nutrients that are in a slice of pecan pie including protein, good fats and fiber. 

There is also plenty of potassium, calcium and magnesium included in a slice of this delicious pie.

These are fantastic for alleviating problems associated with high blood pressure. 

Additionally, vitamins are high in pecan pie including vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese and zinc.

These are also hugely beneficial in the reduction of inflammation and are vital in normal bodily functions.

However, what we need to pay attention to is the inclusion of sugar with a pecan pie.

As with many other desserts, pecan pie is high in sugar – normally brown sugar which is used to make this pie.

While brown sugar is not always as bad for you as refined white sugar, it is still not good for you to consume too much sugar.

Natural sugar is the best form and indeed, required form of sugar that we need.

However, too much sugar in any form can lead to health problems like diabetes, obesity, heart conditions, high blood pressure and of course, oral decay.

So Is It Bad Or Good For You?

This is as we mentioned earlier in this guide. Pecan pie is not necessarily bad but is not necessarily good for you either.

The best way to understand it is that it is fine when eaten with a balanced and healthy diet.

While the inclusion of helpful vitamins and minerals are involved, along with essential macronutrients like protein, it is still high in calories and high in sugar. 

These when consumed in moderation are totally okay. However, when a person consumes too much of these things, negative health conditions can be caused and this is not something you would want.

How Much Pecan Pie Is Okay?

If you only enjoy pecan pie at Thanksgiving dinner, then that’s completely fine.

It’s also fine to eat in moderation once a month or so. 

What you need to pay attention to primarily is the calories, along with the sugar content.

Is Pecan Pie Healthy

Generally speaking, the more sugar included in a product, the more calorie dense it will be. 

The reason you must pay attention to calories is because of what is known as a calorie deficit.

If you are in a caloric deficit, you will not gain weight. If anything, you will lose weight. 

However, if your calorie ratio is too much (in other words, you’re consuming more calories than you are burning off), you will likely put on weight, which leads to obesity. 

The way in which you can solve this problem is by eating a healthy and balanced diet on a daily basis, but also enjoying things like pecan pie in moderation. 

Healthier foods which we need to consume more often tend to have fewer calories.

Calories in short, are a measurement of energy. These are shown on products in Kcal or KJ.

Kcal is the most widely used and understood measurement. 

To burn off more calories and be able to enjoy pecan pie without worries is by exercising more. 

Can I Make A Healthier Pecan Pie?

You can – but it’s important to note that sometimes, substitute ingredients aren’t always lower in calories and sometimes aren’t always better for you. 

For example, if you replace sugar for artificial sweeteners like Splenda, you may feel hunger more often due to an influx in your insulin levels.

This might actually cause you to consume more calories by overeating. 

If you want to make a healthier pecan pie, choose corn syrup and do not opt for maple syrup.

Always only consume one serving rather than deciding on seconds. 

If you have the option for toppings like whipped cream, ice cream or custard – choose not to have it. 

How Do I Remain Healthy And Eat Pecan Pie?

As mentioned, the best thing you can do is to try to exercise more.

The amount you must exercise will depend on a lot of subjective factors, including your age, your sex, your weight and your height. 

These factors play a role in your metabolism which will largely determine how well and how quickly you can burn off calories. 

Consider walking more and monitoring your steps. Maybe you could join a gym or take part in activities like sports or community based activities like charity hikes. 

And indeed, you can always walk your dog on a daily basis rather than hiring a dog walker or asking someone else to do it. 

Can Children Eat Pecan Pie?

There’s no age restrictions when it comes to enjoying pecan pie, but the one thing you should pay attention to is the serving size.

Depending on the age of your child, it might be a good idea to reduce the serving size.

Generally, a serving size for an adult is one slice. For a child, you may wish to slice this again in half.

Essentially, you should think of one serving as two servings for a child.

Is Pecan Pie Healthy For Seniors?

As we said, there’s no age restrictions for a tasty slice of pecan pie.

However, seniors should pay attention to the ingredients and the macronutrients. 

If they, or indeed non-seniors, have a health condition which requires them to consume less sugar and fewer calories, then they should consider either reducing the serving size or avoiding the pie altogether. 

Is Pumpkin Pie Healthier Than Pecan Pie?

Perhaps out of all the dessert pies, pumpkin pie is probably the healthiest option.

However, it’s also important to note that all dessert choices will likely have their benefits and negative aspects to them. 

Pumpkin pie contains much less sugar and is usually much less calorie dense.

Not only this, it contains a whole host of vitamin A which is beneficial for your skin, eyes and hair health. 

Can I Eat Pecan Pie On A Diet?

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the very rare slice of pecan pie if you are on a diet.

However, if you have dietary restrictions or requirements, then you should probably be wary of it. 

If you are unsure exactly what you can and cannot eat on a diet or with dietary restrictions, it’s best that you speak with your doctor or a nutritionist. 

The Bottom Line 

While pecan pie is fine to consume in moderation, it’s always best that you treat pecan pie like any other dessert.

In other words, there are some health benefits to pecan pie, but there are also lots of calories and sugar.

Mark Williams