Thursday, 27 January 2011

Kellogs Special K Challenge

Special K - they brand of cereal that advises us to eat a bowl of cereal twice a day, to lose a jeans size in two weeks. Their advert suggests that it is so easy, so effortless.

I admit that I have always eaten Special K since I started trying to lose weight. For many years, I would feel virtuous and "good" (how I hate that, but that is a topic for another blog post, good and bad food) when I ate Special K for breakfast instead of my preferred bread with ham, or bread with jam.

On the Special K website, you can chose which program you wish to follow and are given a list of meals suggestions. These plans are from the US website requires no registration. It was not really clear when searching for the Special K diet that I was on the US website, it was the "cup" portion sizes that finally alerted me to this mistake.

These are two different plans, one Classic and one Mix it Up - for foodies and those who want variety.

Variety is not something that there is a lot of on either of these plans. Special K features heavily, of course, but the suggestion of replacing meals with a French Vanilla Protein shake, or a cereal bar - all from Kellogs of course does not seem like a healthy diet to me. Even just for two weeks. Some days there is the option of eating a salad or a light meal but other days are complete cereal / cereal products days. I don't know about you, but I think after a couple of days I would be heartily fed up of that.

 In the interest of research, I registered for the UK website, which bizarrely offers menu plans with very little Special K - just occasionally for breakfast. The "diet plans" on the UK website are similar to those on offer from Weightwatchers or from any other diet, so lots of fruit and veg, healthy options.

Recently, when I restarted my Weightwatchers program, I decided to be careful and weigh my portions to ensure that I am not mistakenly eating too much.

The serving size that we should be eating, according to the packaging of Special K is 30g. This is a normal sized cereal bowl, with 30g of Special K. Not a lot, is it?

I will give Kellogs the benefit of the doubt. Elsewhere I have read that the portion size for the Special K Challenge is "up to 45g".

Still, if I am being completely honest, that would not see me through a whole morning. This is more like my normal portion, 90g.

These photos were taken using average sized bowls - from Denby.

So, the next thing I did was to work out how many Weightwatcher points each bowl would have. Bearing in mind that my daily points allowance is 29 points:

30 g - 3 points

45 g - 4 points

90 g - 9 points

Add to that the points of the milk, then you are easily up to 10 or 11 points, depending on the size of the bowl and how much milk you use. A third of the allowed points in one bowl of cereal.

My husband was horrified, as he often peps up his Special K with a handful of CocoPops and some oat flakes.

When you realise that instead of a bowl of Special K, you could have a sandwich with ham and salad, or a bowl of chili con carne, then the "healthy option" becomes less effective.

So the result of my research:

  • If you don't want to spend the money on Weightwatchers Online, check out My Special K UK for a free diet plan.
  • Special K is not a weight loss product. I would rather have a bowl of spaghetti bolognese for dinner than a bowl of cereal, and I would still be within my daily points allowance.
  • Check the labels and your portion sizes. Don't guess it, weigh it!
  • If you think that you are likely to lose a dress size easily in a month, think again. 


  1. Eye opener of the Day. I have to damit I don't really like the stuff that much.
    I prefer Nestle Fitness - but i guess it's just as bad. Best stick to good old Scottish Porridge. X

  2. Agree with the weighing of portions - otherwise I always underestimate pasta and rice.
    Porridge has def helped, it keeps you going for ages, esp with a bit of fruit and a scattering of nuts e.g. flaked almonds.
    It's shocking how much cereal you need to keep you full for as long

  3. Something must work - Special K is Kellogg's biggest selling product. Ha. I learnt that at Kelloggs.

    Never eaten special K in my life btw.