The biggest factor that makes traditional pancakes a major no-no on the keto diet is the high carb content, which would prevent you from entering ketosis. Normal pancake batter is made with traditional wheat-based flour, which is chock-full of carbohydrates. One cup of all-purpose flour, for example, contains an average of 95 grams of carbohydrates. These keto pancakes, on the other hand, are made with blanched almond flour, which contains just 22 grams of carbs in 1 cup, in addition to a nice dose of vitamin E and magnesium.
Another very non-keto ingredient in traditional pancakes? Sugar. Instead of granulated sugar, these keto pancakes get a touch of sweetness from vanilla extract and a teaspoon of confectioners-style erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol that serves as a sugar alternative. Unlike calorie-free artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols do contain up to 3 calories per gram. The minuscule number of calories is worth it, though, as zero-calorie artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), and saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), often come with a slew of unhealthy effects that you definitely want to avoid: “These chemical sweeteners actually change the bacterial makeup of your microbiome. This can be a trigger for autoimmune problems, diabetes, and metabolic disorders,” according to William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member.
It’s important to note, however, that sugar alcohols aren’t a great option for everyone. They are known to have a laxative effect if consumed in high quantities and can cause major flare-ups of digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and SIBO. Since your body does not completely absorb sugar alcohols, they’re left to ferment in the large intestine, which can cause gas and bloating. The short version: If you suffer from one of these digestive conditions, simply leave out the small amount of erythritol that’s used in this recipe.
Adding to the rich, subtly sweet flavor of these keto pancakes is cream cheese, an ingredient used in quite a few keto and low-carb recipes due to its macronutrient breakdown. A 2-tablespoon serving of cream cheese contains just 1.6 grams of carbohydrates, along with a good dose of fat (10 grams) and a moderate amount of protein (1.8 grams), which is key to its keto-friendly status. Cream cheese also contains small amounts of beneficial nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. In addition to being naturally sweet (and a little tart—the best of both worlds), cream cheese helps turn these keto pancakes into thick, fluffy clouds of low-carb goodness.