National Pancake Day: How menu labeling laws could ruin it for you

Happy National Pancake Day!

Perhaps you’re planning to celebrate by swinging by an IHOP Tuesday (if you haven’t done so already) -- the restaurant chain is offering free short stacks to all comers until 10 pm.

This IS a health blog, so we can’t help relaying the following information, courtesy of the IHOP Nutritional Information website. A short stack of 3 Original Buttermilk pancakes contains:

490 calories


18 grams of fat (including 8 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of trans fat)

80 milligrams of cholesterol

13 grams of sugar, and

1,610 mg of sodium.

That’s 70% of the total amount of sodium most Americans should be consuming each day, according to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in January by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. For many people – including those over the age of 50, those with diabetes or high blood pressure, and those who are African American – these pancakes exceed the 1,500 mg of sodium the government says they should limit themselves to daily. (The American Heart Assn. says everyone should observe this 1,500-mg-per-day limit.) And you haven’t even ordered a side of bacon yet!

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The fat, cholesterol and sugar content aren’t great either. For instance, someone following a 2,200-calorie diet should consume no more than 44 grams of sugar per day, according to the government’s Food Pyramid. (These pancakes would account for 30% of that before you pour on the syrup).

But let’s not be too hard on IHOP. It’s using the free pancakes to entice people into donating money to the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization that raises money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, CHOC Children’s in Orange County, Children’s Hospital Boston, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and 165 other children’s hospitals across North America. The charity ”meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability” set forth by the Better Business Bureau, and Charity Navigator gives the organization a four-star rating (its highest).


RELATED: Finally! Scientific proof that greasy breakfasts are good for us!