The Lose Weight Diet Blog

Special K Cereal: The Miracle Diet Food

November 28, 2006
Filed under: Diet & Fitness Junk,Weight Loss — TheLoseWeightDiet @ 6:03 pm

If you mention diet and cereal together, the first thought you’ll probably have is Special K. The reason why is obvious… Special K is one of the first cereals I’ve seen that practically markets itself as a weight loss and diet tool. Case in point:

I just saw a commercial for Special K. It took quite a while for me to realize they were behind the commercial because honestly, it could have been for a weight loss pill or ab machine by the way it sounded.

I don’t remember it word-for-word. If I did I’d recite the entire thing back to you so you too can experience it just as I did. I can however sum up the two messages this commercial was supposed to get across.

  1. You’re more likely to lose weight if you eat breakfast.
  2. You’re more likely to lose weight if that breakfast is Special K cereal.

First of all, you’re more likely to lose weight if you consume less calories, burn more calories, or do a combination of both. That’s it. End of discussion. (Full details are here: How To Lose Weight)

Second of all, Special K cereal in and of itself does not cause weight loss in any way whatsoever. It’s just calories. There are no weight loss vitamins, minerals, ingredients or magic fairy dust in it that makes it any different than any other calories. Sure, it’s low in “bad” fat, and that’s always nice. Sure, it’s low in calories too, but so are most of the other cereals that are similar to it. It’s most all calories just the same.

Do you know what that means? It means that if someone is going to claim Special K makes you lose weight, or even just slightly helps you lose weight, you can equally claim that it makes you gain weight. Why? BECAUSE IT’S CALORIES. They control what your weight does, not specific foods. Eat too much Special K and you’ll gain weight no different than if you ate too many potato chips.

They market it as this miracle diet food because, compared to eating a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, it makes a MUCH better choice. But, so does oatmeal, or fruit, or egg whites, or whole wheat bread, or another cereal like Cheerios. As long as you eat the same number of calories worth, they will all have an equal direct effect on your weight loss.

As a cereal, Special K is one of the good guys. It’s a much better choice than the other sugar-loaded junk cereals, and it actually tastes pretty good. But, as a diet or weight loss food, there’s really nothing magical about it when compared to any similar food with a similar (or better) nutritional makeup.

So sure, if you are currently eating 750 calories worth of junk for breakfast every day, and you replace it with 250 calories worth of Special K cereal, you’ll end up losing weight. But just know that the Special K itself isn’t the reason. It was the 500 calorie reduction to your diet that made this happen. You could have eaten 250 calories worth of any cereal you wanted (even the junky sugary ones) and it still would have caused weight loss with all else being equal.

So if you enjoy Special K and want to make it part of your healthy reduced calorie diet… go for it. But if you think it alone will make you lose weight… you’d be wrong.

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24 Responses to “Special K Cereal: The Miracle Diet Food”

  1. JJ Says:

    Man you are making me hungry with all this food talk. Haha, all i eat in the morning is a protein shake, a yogurt midway through the morning and some string cheese before lunch. I dont know if i should eat cereal for breakfast or not, or just have a banana in addition to what i already eat….

  2. TheLoseWeightDiet Says:

    JJ, the most important thing is that, at the end of the day, your total calories end up being what they needed to be. Whether some of those calories came from a protein shake or a bowl of cereal for breakfast really barely matters as far as weight loss goes.

    For me, my breakfast (or “Meal 1″ as I call it) is also the meal before my workout, so it’s extremely low in fat (none), high in carbs (usually whole wheat toast, sometimes oatmeal), and high in protein (egg whites and a protein shake).

  3. invah Says:

    I hate that commercial. Already skinny women who are starving themselves for no good reason.

  4. Nevieah Says:

    Yes, but they do have a reason, they’re skinny actresses who are PAID to promote the special K cereal. Itll be nicer if they actually showed their before and after of all the candidates of their clinical study so we get a more realistic picture.

  5. nadiah Says:

    i am starting the diet today but of course im going to exercise too…lets just see what happens

  6. Fran Says:

    I am starting the special k diet but I am doing it more for the tools and meal plan they have on their website. I already made some changes to their diet because the idea of having so much processed food in one day just does not sound naturally good for you and I dont need an independant study to tell me that. Instead of the protein “snacks” I have replaced those with a small bowl of vegetables. Will let you know how it goes in two weeks. :)

  7. jennifer Says:

    I would like to lose weight and start working out on a daily basis. There is so much information that it is overwhelming. Can you just tell me what foods to eat and what foods to avoid? Also, can you tell me how many calories a salad contains? I would really appreciate just knowing a daily menu possibley thank you!

  8. Bennyyyyy Says:

    It may not make you lose weight, but it takes longer to digest (or something like that) and so fills you up for longer….. although I’ve gone off the stuff ‘cos I’ve been having it for too long! It did help me out a bit, I’ve gone from 231 pounds to 182 pounds, (I’m 16). Pretty useful stuff on this website though. :)

  9. Milk: The Weight Loss Miracle Drink Says:

    […] this whole ad campaign, but I’d put my money on it being the same geniuses who brought us Special K Cereal: The Miracle Diet Food. Their whole thing was that eating Special K cereal, as part of a reduced calorie diet, helps your […]

  10. Gabby Says:

    I’m currently on the Special K Challenge and have lost one pound after four days of eating Special K. In regard to your article, I have to say that while you have your opinion, there are people out there who have used Special K and it works for them.

    While it is true that it’s just calories, people use it to jumpstart their weight loss . . . six pounds is not enough for some people . . . but it helps exercise portion control. That’s what I’m learning throughout this diet.

  11. Karita Says:

    I will never stop wondering: calories are calories, OK, we know that since forever and that you have to balance your caloric intake with your individual needs and so on, blah blah blah. BUT. I know for a fact that I need 1890 calories a day to keep my figure the way it is (less to lose weight/more to gain -no rocket science). Something tells me though that eating 1890 calories of say junk will not be appreciated by my body (healthwise mainly of course) as eating 1890 calories of better balanced food, not necessarily “wonder food” but less bad for that matter (and I dont even like Special K, that is not my point here whatsoever). Right? Bottomline: With my poor mind, I think that the quality of our caloric intake is even more important than its quantity. No? Not for weight loss maybe, but for a healthier life and a less lazy metabolism. I think. NO? Other than that, advertising will be advertising, we dont have to get that upset, its up to us what to choose in the end of the day (or for breakfast, ha ha). Karita.

  12. Ann Says:

    I have been on the special K diet for 3 months now, and I have lost 25 pounds. It works really well for me.

  13. build muscle burn fat Says:

    It does amaze me how the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) approved the ‘Special K’ campaign – just leaves me how malnourished people are getting by just consuming 1 meal a day and ‘cardboard cereal’ in between!

  14. Rachelle Says:

    I”ve just started the Special K diet and I’m very happy with my choice in trying it.
    We can’t beleive all we see on the television; take what they say with a grain of salt. No, Special K is not a weight loss mircle food and I don’t beleive there is such a food. Special K is merely low in fat and calories, thus it’s better than bacon and sausages for breakfast.
    I think that everyone’s body is unique and we need to find the things that work best on our body. I have trouble losing weight; cutting calories and excercising just doesn’t cut it for me. I need to either use fad diets (which aren’t always the best choice) or diet pills/meal supplements.
    What ever my choice is, I make sure it’s healthy to a degree and that it’s the right choice for me.

  15. Susan Says:

    i started the special k diet on jan. 1st and have lost 65lbs in 7 months. I eat it for breakfast and for dinner. I also walk 5-6 days a week for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs a day. I’m not saying it was the cereal but it has helped me. people at work keep asking if i’m sick of eating it and i can honestly say no.

  16. Wanda Says:

    WOW!! Conratuations Susan!! 65 pounds in 7 months…amazing!! I definitly want to try this. Just wondering though how much cereal do you eat, with skim milk I’m assuming? And for 2 meals a day? What do you eat for your other meal and snacks if any?? Do you get enough protien and veggies in? Keep up the good work! What are your plans for when you’re done losing? Will you start to incorporate other foods gradually? This part always scares me because I’ve lost and regained soooo many times…

  17. jacqueline Says:

    I am starting the special k today, and using these letters and this website for support. I know this is a good guide to starting a healthy eating routine.

  18. kelli Says:

    i think special K is a waste of my freakin time.

    it doesnt make u loose weight worh krap

    i agree with u homey.

  19. Debbie Says:

    I have been on a well-balanced, low calorie 1200 to 1300 calorie eating plan, losing 2 pounds a week. I fell in love with the Special K with Red Berries mixed with yogurt, because I don’t like milk. I thought I was doing something great for my health and weight loss efforts, until I read on the label that it contains high fructose corn syrup! What!!! This makes no sense whatsoever.

    My question/concern is how can they advertise/produce this product as a weight loss aide when it contains a compound which studies have suggested cause weight gain concentrated in the waist line area?

    I am extremely disappointed with the whole issue. Because obviously you will lose some weight, but not as quickly, or where you would want to lose it from, as you would with a cereal which doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. No wonder it tastes so good.

    Hiss Boo, I’m throwing my box out. Lesson learned: Read labels and don’t trust advertising.

  20. Joan H Says:

    Debbie as long as you reduce your daily calorie intake you will lose weight regardless of whether this syrup is included or not . I think you may have a little will power issue. Good luck Joan

  21. Sean Says:

    I’ve tried Special K and the only bad thing about it is the sour taste acquired from the berries. I didn’t eat Special K for long. After about a week I found this cereal Kashi and it tastes a lot better and it actually has less calories, fat, and sugar than Special K. The taste is a lot better too. I’m seeing better weight loss results with Kashi cereal and that is all I eat every day for breakfast now.

  22. Joan H Says:

    Good man Sean go for it !

  23. Ariez Says:

    Starting the diet today. I’m hoping to lose about 2lbs by the end of the week. My goal is to lose about 20 lbs by May. I have a piece of fruit for breakfast and cereal for lunch and dinner. I workout on treadmill about 3-4 times a week. Will keep this journal updated!

  24. Dave Says:

    The whole problem with diets is the the imply a temporary program, during which you lose weight. The root cause (a lifestyle of over-eating/under-excercising) will assert itself if and when you’ve reached your weight goal, and if you’ve haven’t increased your metabolism, you’ve lost lean body mass and fat and are now sluggish. Calorie deficit is insufficient, it must be accompanied by a fitness program incorporated into a lifestyle change. Otherwise, you’ll just get fatter once the diet’s over and you’re not paying attention anymore.

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