Special K diet

Started in 2004, the special K diet promised rapid weight loss. Is this diet really effective? Are there any safety concerns on it?

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The special K diet

There are innumerable diets available on the internet and market for rapid weight loss. These are highly restricted in calories. And the special K diet is one such diet.

The diet was created in the year 2004. It is an extreme weight loss diet that promised women that they could lose a jean size in just 2 weeks’ time.

Special K diet
Kellogg’s cereals (Source: Freedieting)

This diet consists of replacing your regular diet for a bowl of cereals with milk. But most dietitians and health experts warn against this diet. Clinical nutritionist Marina Abdalla opines:

Special K is relatively low in fat and complex sugars, making it a go-to healthy cereal(opens in new tab) for a low-calorie breakfast,”

“Although fortified in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, E, B vitamins and potassium it doesn’t provide all the nutrients an individual would need to make the Special K diet a sustainable, long-term meal replacement.”

The diet plan details

This diet is a 14 day program. And in these 14 days, the dieter has to replace two of the three meals of the day with cereal of Special K and milk. According to the creator of this diet, this greatly causes the dieter to shed weight fast and more.

The dieter takes portion of the Special K and mixes it with low fat milk to make a meal. The slimmer has to have this at breakfast and lunch. And in the evening, he or she can have a regular dinner. But it should have fat burning foods such as fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, and a lean protein.

Special K diet
The Special K diet (Source: Huffpost UK)

The diet plan is easy, simple and convenient to follow. Moreover, it is inexpensive. And there was no need to starve as the cereal meal is quite filling. It satisfies more than milk shakes and the like. Marina explains:

“The Special K diet helps you lose weight by restricting your calorie consumption,”

“By swapping two meals with a bowl of Special K slashes your calorie intake significantly, causing the body to be in calorie deficit.”

In this, energy consumed is lesser than energy expended. Hence the deficit leads to fat burning and weight loss. Two bowls of the special cereal are less than 400 calories. Additionally, it has less fat of just 1.3 g in 100 grams.

More on this diet plan and its safety

In 2002, the Purdue University did a study that was funded by Kellogg’s. It revealed that replacing regular meals with portion controlled Kellogg’s cereals caused weight loss in the participants. The study author Rick Mattes said:

“Substituting cereal for higher-calorie meals can help people trim calories and fat,”

In the study, we found those reductions were doable and resulted in about a 4.4 pound weight loss over a two week period.”

In 14 days, one can lose as much as 6 pounds. The brand’s slogan was ‘drop a jeans size in 2 weeks’. Another 2015 study also supported this claim. But the weight loss varied from person to person.

Special K diet
The Special K diet (Source: Very well fit)

The diet specifies to have 140 g of cereal with 100 ml milk. But it gives no details of your third meal of the day, quantity and quality wise. The diet is high in fiber and one can eat what they love.

Read here: Dandelion greens: health benefits and other uses of the plant!

But it has its limitations. The weight lost might return after the 14 days period. Its nutritional quality is poor. It might be boring to have same type of foods twice a day for 14 days. Moreover, one cannot eat outside with this diet. Marina adds:

“Reduced calorie consumption may affect mood and concentration,”