Pancakes and Diabetes

Pancakes and Diabetes

Pancakes are a popular breakfast option loved by many. This high-carbohydrate meal can provide you with enough energy to get through a whole day of exercise.

But do pancakes have nutritional values that benefit people with diabetes? Let’s look at the benefits and potential risks of eating pancakes for diabetes.

Nutritional Value of Pancakes

All pancakes are not made equally, so the nutritional values differ depending on the type of pancake. Nonetheless, they’re similar. So whether you go for wheat, buttermilk, or even a whole pancake mix, you’re likely to consume more calories and nutrients.

According to the USDA, a 6” plain pancake offers a whopping 175 cal, 4.93 g of protein, and 21.8 g of carbs. Its high-calorie content means you’re prone to gaining weight if you overeat it. When preparing pancakes, it’s important to note that traditional toppings like syrup and butter add more calories, fat, and carbohydrates to pancakes.

Benefits of Pancakes for diabetes 

Here are the positives of pancake consumption for a person with diabetes.

An Excellent Energy Source

Pancakes will help you meet your daily carbohydrate goals — an essential nutrient and the body's primary fuel source. The total carbs in a serving of whole-wheat pancakes are 30 g, while the equivalent quantity of buttermilk pancakes yields 38 g. However, experts typically recommend getting your carbs from nutrient-dense sources, and pancakes aren’t usually on the list. Still, pancakes help keep blood sugar in check, making you feel more invigorated after eating.

Rich in Iron

Certain diabetes-related complications like kidney damage are due to iron deficiency and can also alter sugar levels. Iron is essential for oxygenating tissue, forming the necessary fuel and immunological function that fights illness.

A 3.5 oz serving of plain pancake yields 1.8 mg of iron — a 10% DV. Surprisingly, research indicates that an excessive iron intake can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. This means that while you’re trying to meet up with your iron RDA, it’s important not to overdo it.

A Decent Fiber Source

It’s recommended that men eat about 38 g of fiber daily, while women should aim for 25 g. One means of achieving this is via the intake of pancakes, with a two-pancake serving size yielding 1.3 g of fiber — 3.4–5.2% DV.

Fiber helps to balance your blood sugar and leaves you feeling energized. Notably, it helps you stay full for more extended periods prompting you to eat less. Available researches also suggest that high-fiber diets may offer specific improvements in carbohydrate metabolism and reduce total cholesterol.

Relatively High in Calcium

A 3.5-oz pancake serving contains about a fourth of your daily calcium requirement — 219 mg. Calcium, according to research, can play a beneficial role in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes when supplemented alongside vitamin D. Calcium also assists in the normal functioning of your muscles and nerves and presents immense benefits in the management of gestational hypertension.

A Decent Riboflavin Source

Riboflavin has been proven to benefit diabetes management via its effects on oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress is linked to various diabetes complications, adequate riboflavin supplementation may be able to prevent these. You get as much as 0.281 mg of riboflavin from a 6”-pancake serving — 21.6–25.5% DV.

Should a Diabetic Eat Pancakes?

Pancakes are quickly converted to blood sugar in the body, and if your blood sugar is already high, why should you add to it?

The reason why pancakes are unhealthy is due to the use of white flour. Since the grain is broken up, it is digested more quickly, causing a surge in blood pressure followed by a rapid decline. Over time, the cycle of high and low blood pressure can cause inflammation, pH imbalance, and slowed metabolism.

Another major dietary concern with pancakes is that most people love them drowned with syrup, which adds many calories and little nutritious value.

Healthy Ways to Make Pancakes 

If a hearty pancake breakfast is on your weekly menu, the following tips can help you keep the sugar, calorie, and fat content low.

  1. In place of a mix, make pancakes from scratch. That way, you can bypass any trans fat lurking in the ingredients.
  2. Rather than frying your pancakes in oil or butter, use a non-stick pan to reduce fat intake.
  3. To increase satiety, use whole wheat flour.
  4. Leave out the butter and syrup. Instead, add raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries to your pancakes for added nutrition.



Although pancakes offer a few health benefits, they’re still not recommended for people with diabetes due to their high carbohydrate content. If you must have pancakes for breakfast, then it should be occasionally and in a moderate portion.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 12.5 g
  • Carbohydrate 70 g
  • Fat 3.8 g
  • Fiber 7.5 g
  • Sugar 2.5 g
  • Cholesterol 7.5 g

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