Why You Should Never Eat Mince Pies
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are in full swing, and you’re bound to encounter the classic mince pie at a party or family gathering sooner or later. Mince pies seem innocuous enough with their sweet, fruity filling nestled inside a tender, buttery pastry crust.
But don’t let that deceptive exterior fool you – mince pies are actually quite nefarious, and can be pretty bad for you.
What are mince pies anyway?
A traditional British dessert, mince pies are small pies filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called “mincemeat.” Common ingredients in mincemeat include raisins, currants, apples, orange and lemon peel, brown sugar, brandy, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
While mincemeat recipes have evolved over the years – some modern versions contain orange juice and omit the meat entirely – the name has stuck.
The pies are associated with Christmas, often left out for Santa along with milk or brandy on Christmas Eve in the UK. Mince pies first appeared in the 16th century, when meat was still used in the filling. Over time, recipes became sweeter and relied more on dried fruits and sugars for flavor. Today, people enjoy mince pies from late October through New Year’s.
Now that you know more about these delicious seasonal treats, let’s explore why you might want to avoid eating them this holiday season.
13 reasons why you shouldn’t eat mince pies
1. High sugar content
Mince pies are basically sugar bombs. The crust and the fruity filling both contain sugar. What’s the big deal? Well, too much sugar can lead to weight gain and higher chances of developing diseases like diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommends men have no more than 36 grams of added sugar a day and women no more than 25 grams. Just one mince pie can use up a big chunk of that daily limit.
2. Caloric load
Calories can sneak up on you with mince pies. Depending on the recipe or brand, a single pie can have around 200-400 calories. If you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, this can set you back quite a bit, especially if you eat more than one (and we all know they’re irresistible, so you’re bound to eat more than one).
3. Allergen alert
Mince pies usually contain common allergens like nuts, dairy, and wheat. For people with food allergies, eating a mince pie could trigger anything from mild discomfort to severe reactions like anaphylaxis. Always check the ingredients!
4. Unhealthy fats
The buttery crust may taste amazing, but it’s often high in saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fats can raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease.
5. Artificial add-ons
Store-bought mince pies may have artificial preservatives and flavorings to extend their shelf life. These chemicals aren’t the healthiest choice and could have long-term effects that we don’t fully understand yet.
6. Carbohydrate overload
If you’re following a low-carb diet, mince pies are not gonna be your friend. These pies can pack in a lot of carbohydrates, which could mess up your diet plan.
These types of simple carbs are usually associated with bloating and quick spikes in blood sugar. A rapid increase in blood sugar can lead to a crash later on, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
7. Price tag
Specialty or gourmet mince pies often come with a high price. If you’re watching your budget, purchasing a box might strain your finances. Over the holidays, such expenses accumulate rapidly.
8. Risk of overeating
Mince pies are small, which can trick you into eating more than you planned. Before you know it, you’ve gone way over your daily sugar and calorie limits.
9. They’re seasonal
Mince pies are generally a seasonal item, available mostly during the holidays. If you get a craving in July, you’re probably out of luck. Plus, their limited availability can make you want to binge eat them while they’re available (oh boy, do I know the feeling!).
10. Not filling but fattening
Despite their high calorie count, mince pies don’t offer much in terms of nutrition or fullness. You’ll likely find yourself hungry soon after, leading you to eat even more of them or something similarly high in calories.
11. Not always vegan-friendly
If you’re vegan, finding a mince pie that fits your lifestyle could be a challenge. Traditional recipes usually include butter in the crust and sometimes even animal-based suet in the filling.
While there are vegan options out there, you’ll have to spend extra time reading labels or searching for a specialty store that carries them. And let’s be honest, vegan options aren’t always the cheapest (or tastiest).
12. All mince pies aren’t created equal
Quality varies a lot when it comes to mince pies. Some are homemade with quality ingredients, while others are mass-produced with cheaper stuff. The cheaper ones may skimp on filling, use lower-quality fats, or add fillers and preservatives.
This means not only could you be getting a pie that’s not as tasty, but you might also end up with one that’s even less healthy than you thought.
You’ll probably have to shop around and try out many different brands, which will be costly, time-consuming, and just plain exhausting.
13. They’re messy
Let’s face it, mince pies are a bit of a mess to eat. The crumbly crust can fall apart, and the filling might ooze out. This makes them not the best choice if you’re looking for a quick, clean snack on-the-go.
If you’re in your car or trying to keep your workspace clean, eating a mince pie might leave you reaching for the napkins or even needing to bust out the vacuum cleaner.
Look, I’m gonna be real with you. When it comes to food weaknesses, for me, mince pies are way up there. I can’t get enough of them (so thank the heavens they’re only available for part of the year!).
But after laying out all these reasons, it’s clear that they’re not the best snack. Whether it’s the high sugar content, the risk of overeating, or just trying to find a good-quality pie, there’s a lot to consider.
So if you’re like me and love these seasonal treats, maybe it’s worth thinking twice before grabbing that next box. Or at the very least, consider making your own. That way you can use low-calorie ingredients and make them healthier overall.