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AICR HealthTalk

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND
American Institute for Cancer Research

Thanksgiving Pies By Slice SamplesQ:       Are some kinds of pie lower in calories than others?

A:       How a pie is made has a bigger influence on its calorie content than what kind it is. The one exception is that an equal sized portion of pecan pie almost always provides 100 or 200 calories beyond fruit and pumpkin pie. However, if pecan pie is your favorite and its super-sweet taste leaves you satisfied after a smaller slice, enjoy a thin slice of what you like best.

  • Apple pie may contain from 300 to just over 400 calories per slice, depending on how much fat and sugar are added.
  • A slice of pumpkin pie traditionally contains about 320 calories, but recipe adaptations like using evaporated skim milk can reduce fat from the usual 14 or 15 grams per slice, consequently reducing calories, too. 
  • If the pie filling is what you love, leave the crust behind and save 125 to 150 calories per slice.
  • If you’re the one cooking the pie, you can even bake the filling without a crust, more like a custard or fruit cobbler. If the crust is part of what you love about pie, you can reduce the crust’s calories somewhat and make it healthier by limiting added fat, using a mixture of canola oil and butter, and making half the flour whole wheat.

The biggest calorie savings comes from sticking to only one piece of pie, eating it slowly and savoring every bite.

For healthy recipes, visit the AICR Test Kitchen.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF).

Published on 11/24/2014

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