Are Pancakes Healthy? Should You Add or Eliminate This Breakfast Food

  • February 8th, 2018
  • The Pancake God

Maple syrup, whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, chocolate chips, blueberries, whole wheat, gluten free, buckwheat, coconut flour and organic This is only a taste, there are a mouthful of pancake variants out there.

The question remains…

Are Pancakes Healthy For You?

Short answer: Yes and no. – Its like baking a potato versus frying it and dipping it in ranch. It’s all in the preparation.

With endless diet information on the internet its tough to know what foods are okay to eat.

Most of us want to lead a healthy life void of health complications that will hold us back from what we truly want to do.
To do this we do research on healthy diets and find out what foods to include and which ones to avoid. Pancakes can fall into both for any diet.

First, lets define what a pancake is. According to Merriam Webster it defines a pancake as “a flat cake made of thin batter and cooked on both sides.”

This does not mean it needs to be a ‘buttermilk pancake’ or that it needs to be filled with chocolate chips to be considered a pancake. There are many different kinds of recipes for pancakes, some that give very little nutritional value and some that would add years to your life.

Pancakes Can Adapt To Almost Every Diet.

  • Ketogenic
  • Low carb
  • Low fat
  • High Protein
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Traditional
  • Many more

We’ll look at each one of these and see how we can pancakes for each individual diet.

Let’s start off with traditional pancakes and then work our way down the list.


Traditional Pancakes

Traditional pancakes are the ones most of us have eaten. You can get them at most restaurants and find the pancake mix at most grocery stores.
Macro-nutrients: Carbs-high Fats-low to medium Protein-low
Ketogenic Pancakes
A ketogenic diet is a diet that focuses on raising your body’s ketone levels to be used as a source of energy. This is achieved by your body breaking down fats as a main source of energy as a opposed to carbohydrates. This is a subject that goes into much more depth but wont be discussed here. If you are interested in the benefits of this diet click here
Macro-nutrients: Carbs-low Fats- High Protein-low to medium
Ketogenic pancakes differ from pancakes made with white/wheat flour. To make pancakes healthy for a keto diet you must use a flour high in fat. This includes coconut, almond and other nut flours. To add sweetness without adding carbs you must use a sugar substitute.

Low Carb Pancakes

Low carbohydrate pancakes are like ketogenic pancakes and are both generally healthy. Using these in your diet you can adjust your diet outside of the pancakes to fit them in.
Macro-nutrients- Carbs-low Fats-High Protein-low to high
Keto and low carb diets are different, very similar but different in the amount of macros you eat.
In keto you eat little to no carbs, a standard amount of protein and fats.
In a low carb diet you eat carbs but a lower amount of them. You eat more fat AND protein in this diet. This promotes gluconeogenesis which converts proteins to glucose. This makes it like having carbs when we want ketones.

Low Fat Pancakes

Most pancake mixes found in stores are medium to low fat but this isn’t the same for common homemade mixes. Pancakes that have fat in them can get them from a few sources such as eggs, oil, butter, milk and buttermilk.
The solution to a low fat pancake is to drop these things altogether.
  • Substitute milk for water.
  • Eliminate eggs and if you want, add egg whites.
  • You don’t need oil and butter to grease the pan. It can be eliminated in favor of a non stick pan.
  • If you want low fat pancakes then buttermilk pancakes won’t work for you.
Macro-nutrients: Carbs-high Fat-low Protein-low to high

High Protein Pancakes

Some diets need more protein than normal and what better way to get it than pancakes? Pancake mixes bought in stores will not be high in protein and some will have medium protein content. You can order some different pancake brands online that have higher protein content.
If you want to add protein to your own pancake mix you can:
  • Add eggs or egg whites to the batter.
  • Substitute milk for water
  • Add a scoop or half scoop of protein powder to the mix.
There are various protein-pancake recipes on the internet to make pancakes from scratch.. This ranges from using different flours to mixing protein powder with an egg.
Macro-nutrients: Carbs-low to high Fats-low to high Protein-high

Gluten Free and Organic

The last two types of pancake mixes I want to talk about is gluten free and organic pancakes. These are a great way to incorporate healthy pancakes.
The way to make these pancakes is to use special ingredients. There is nothing you can add to a non-organic or a gluten filled pancake to make it organic or gluten free.
To make these pancakes you can either buy the ingredients or buy the pancake mix pre-made. There are a few organic pancake mixes I have seen in stores that are organic but very few gluten free brands. The macro-nutrients aren’t important compared to the ingredients used in these cakes.
Now You’ve Made Your Pancakes…

Is Syrup Healthy?

After you make pancakes maple syrup is the first thing you go to grab.
Any diet would not allow for this much high fructose corn syrup because of all the sugar it contains.
The alternative topping would be…
  • Sugar free syrup
  • Fruit
  • Fruit puree/sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Other nut spreads
The same things you would put on top of a pancake can also go inside of the pancakes most times. Blueberries. peanuts and other things can add taste with the benefit of fiber and antioxidants.

Pancakes Are Only Healthy If You Make Them To Be.

I have made plenty of both, unhealthy and healthy alike and I loved them all.

Follow me on Instagram and like me on Facebook and see all the pancakes I’ve eaten and will eat in the future. @thepancakegod



The Pancake God

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