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Pancakes: Know the Calories & Nutrients Before You Indulge

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For individuals wanting to eat pancakes regularly, are there ways to increase pancake nutrition and lower the calorie and carb counts so they can be included in a balanced diet?

Pancakes: Know the Calories & Nutrients Before You Indulge

Pancake Nutrition

This high-carbohydrate meal can provide enough energy to fuel a day’s physical activity.

Nutrition

The following nutrition information is provided for:

  1. Calories – 430.8
  2. Fat – 18.77g
  3. Sodium – 693.9mg
  4. Carbohydrates – 55.9g
  5. Fiber – .75g
  6. Sugars – 8.6g
  7. Protein – 8.64g

Pancakes made with whole-wheat flour offer more fiber and protein. The following is nutrition info for two or three whole-wheat pancakes (150g) made from a mix. (Child Nutrition Recipe Box. 2023)

  1. Calories – 348
  2. Fat – 15g
  3. Sodium – 594mg
  4. Carbohydrates – 45g
  5. Fiber – 6g
  6. Sugars – 6g
  7. Protein – 12g

Carbohydrates

Pancakes will increase carbohydrate intake. The body uses carbohydrates as a primary fuel source, making them an important nutrient. However, most nutritionists suggest that individuals get their daily carbohydrates from nutrient-dense sources. Pancakes typically don’t fall into this category. White flour pancakes do not provide much fiber, and around 60 grams of carbohydrates are consumed in this meal. Substituting whole-wheat flour changes the amount to around 6g of fiber or 20% of the daily recommended value.

Fat

Pancakes can include dairy and eggs and are topped with butter that contributes a significant amount of fat. Pancake mix may contain trans fat. Some brands include partially hydrogenated oils. Health experts recommend that individuals limit or completely avoid foods containing trans fat. If the label ingredient list contains partially hydrogenated ingredients, it is recommended to avoid it. (MedlinePlus. 2022)

Protein

Pancakes may provide some protein, which varies based on the type of flour used. Some brands add protein powder to increase intake.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pancakes and ready mixes are generally made from enriched flour. Enriched foods are those that have had nutrients added during the manufacturing process. In most cases, the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are stripped away, and then some are added back in during processing. Constantly eating enriched bread products limits diet-friendly fiber and nutrients. The enriched flour in pancakes and added sugar and syrup raise blood sugar levels rapidly and then generate hunger shortly afterward.​

Calories

Total nutrition numbers also depend on serving size. The numbers on the label only apply to a single serving which is just two medium pancakes. Many individuals consume 3-4 medium pancakes and double the amount of butter and syrup as well. This can add up to more than 1,000 calories.

Benefits

Whole-wheat pancakes made with whole-grain flour are more nutritious than pancakes made with white flour and can be a delicious way to eat more whole grains. They can be topped with berries or other fruits for added fiber and nutrients.

Digestion

Whole-wheat pancakes made with whole-grain flour provide significant fiber for healthy digestion. Fiber helps with waste evacuation and has prebiotic compounds that fuel beneficial gut bacteria. (Joanne Slavin. 2013)

Improves Hunger Satisfaction

Whole-grain pancakes taste heartier and include fiber that keeps the body fuller longer than pancakes made with faster-digesting refined flour.

Decreases Risk of Heart Disease

A review of studies examining whole grain consumption and heart disease found that eating whole grains was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. (Dagfinn Aune, et al., 2016)

Reduces Risk of Obesity

Research suggests that whole grain intake reduces the risk of obesity and could help individuals maintain a stable weight. (Katrina R. Kissock et al., 2021) The fiber will also help keep the fuller longer after the meal.

Helps Prevent Birth Defects

Whole-wheat flour is fortified with folic acid, an important B vitamin during pregnancy. Folic acid decreases the risk of neural tube defects, which can affect the development of the brain or spine. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022)

Variations

Nutrients for regular pancakes will vary based on the size.

One made-from-scratch small pancake – 3″ across provides:

  • 30 calories
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 5 grams of carbohydrate
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of sugar

One made-from-scratch medium pancake – 5″ across provides:

  • 93 calories
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of carbohydrate
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 2 grams of sugar

One made-from-scratch large pancake – 7″ across provides:

  • 186 calories
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 5 grams of sugar

Making Pancakes

If pancakes are part of a weekly meal plan, try to keep them lower in sugar, fat, and calories.

  1. Make pancakes from scratch without the mix to avoid any trans fats.
  2. Use whole wheat flour to get fiber to increase hunger satisfaction.
  3. Instead of frying the pancakes in oil or butter, use a quality non-stick pan to reduce fat intake.
  4. Use syrup with no sugar.
  5. Top the pancakes with blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.

Eating Right to Feel Better


References

USDA Food Data Central. (2019). Pancakes, plain, prepared from recipe.

USDA FoodData Central. (2019). Butter, without salt.

USDA FoodData Central. (2019). Syrups, table blends, pancake.

Child Nutrition Recipe Box. (2023). Pancakes – USDA recipe for schools.

MedlinePlus. (2022). Facts about trans fat.

Slavin J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417–1435. doi.org/10.3390/nu5041417

Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L. T., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D. C., Tonstad, S., Vatten, L. J., Riboli, E., & Norat, T. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 353, i2716. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2716

Kissock, K. R., Neale, E. P., & Beck, E. J. (2021). Whole Grain Food Definition Effects on Determining Associations of Whole Grain Intake and Body Weight Changes: A Systematic Review. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 12(3), 693–707. doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa122

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Folic acid.

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The information herein on "Pancakes: Know the Calories & Nutrients Before You Indulge" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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