Plain Canned Pumpkin Vs. Canned Pumpkin Pie Filling

by Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

The holidays are right around the corner and you're stocking your pantry with all your baking needs. On your visit to the grocery store you found plain canned pumpkin and canned pumpkin pie filling. While the canned pumpkin pie filling may be tempting because of its convenience, you might find the canned pumpkin a better choice not only because of its nutritional content, but also for its versatility.

What's In the Can

When comparing plain canned pumpkin to canned pumpkin pie filling, it's important to know what's in the can. In the canned pumpkin all you'll find is pumpkin, nothing else. The canned pumpkin pie filling, however, contains a number of ingredients in addition to the pumpkin, including sugar syrup, water, natural flavors, salt and spices.

What You Can Make With Canned Pumpkin

If all you want to do with your canned pumpkin is make pumpkin pie, and you're short on time, then maybe the canned pumpkin pie filling is the way to go. To complete your pie all you need to add are eggs and evaporated milk. However, if you like pumpkin bread or pumpkin soup in addition to pumpkin pie, you might be better off with the plain canned pumpkin.

Comparing the Calories

There is a significant difference in calories between the plain canned pumpkin and the canned pie filling. A 1-cup serving of the plain pumpkin contains 83 calories, while the same serving of pie filling contains 281 calories. The added ingredients in the canned pumpkin pie filling, primarily the sugar syrup, are the reason for the dramatic difference in calories between the two pumpkin products.

What About Fat, Carbs and Protein?

Both products contain very little to no fat and are low in protein, with most of the calories coming from the carbohydrate content. A 1-cup serving of the plain canned pumpkin contains 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat, while the same serving of canned pumpkin pie filling contains 71 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein and almost no fat. The added sugar in the pie filling makes it a more concentrated source of carbohydrates, which is why it has more than three times the amount as the plain pumpkin.

Which Is the Better Source of Fiber?

You might find it surprising, but the canned pumpkin pie filling is the better source of fiber. One cup of the pie filling contains 22 grams of fiber, while the plain canned pumpkin contains only 7 grams. Fiber is an important nutrient that promotes health. It increases meal satiety, which helps manage weight, and also reduces risk of heart disease. Women need 25 grams of fiber a day, and men need 38 grams.

Good for Your Eyes

Both the plain canned pumpkin and the canned pumpkin pie filling meet more than 100 percent of your recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A. Vitamin A supports eye health, and you also need it for your immune system and the normal functioning of your heart, lungs and liver.

Photo Credits

  • StephanieFrey/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and Working Mother.