Special K

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This article is about the food. For other uses, see Special K (disambiguation).
Special K Red Berries

Special K is a lightly toasted breakfast cereal manufactured by the Kellogg Company. The cereal was introduced to the United States in 1955.[1] It is made primarily from rice and wheat. Special K is marketed primarily as a low-fat cereal that can be eaten to help one lose weight. The cereal frequently has give-away offers for various health and fitness products or contains dieting information on the back of the box. It is also generally targeted at adults, rather than children.

Special K Challenge[edit]

The Special K brand advocates the "Special K Challenge." The goal of this challenge is to help an individual lose six pounds in two weeks; this loss is achieved by eating specific Special K products throughout the day. The diet begins with a single serving of any Special K cereal, accompanied with 2/3 cup of skim milk and a side of fruit. The second meal of the diet may include either a Special K Protein Meal Bar, Special K Protein Shake, or another serving of Special K cereal with 2/3 cup of skim milk and a side of fruit. The third meal of the day may be consumed normally, without any Special K restrictions. Throughout the day an individual is allotted two Special K snacking times, eating any of the following specified snacks: Special K Protein Snack Bars, Special K Cereal Bars, Special K Crackers, or Special K Fruit Crisps. For any additional snack servings, an individual may consume fruits and vegetables. During the challenge, drinks may be consumed normally.


In the United States of America (USA), Special K Original has 120 Cal per 31g cup serving. One serving contains 0.5g fat, 23g carbohydrates, 4g sugar, and 6g protein.[2] In the United Kingdom (UK), Special K Original is 17% sugar, meaning a 30g serving contains 5g of sugar.[3]

In the UK, an advertising campaign has focused on the results of a study run in collaboration with the Department of Human Sciences at Loughborough University, requiring overweight volunteer subjects to replace two meals a day with a bowl of the cereal.[4] [5] The study found that "after 2 weeks, up to 75% of subjects had slimmer waists and hips." The university's scientists concluded that the majority of this was due to fat loss.


Arla Foods youghurt with vanilla taste and Kellogg's Special K flakes in Sweden

In the US, Special K currently comes in fifteen different varieties of cereal:[6]

  • Special K Original
  • Special K Chocolatey Delight
  • Special K Chocolatey Strawberry
  • Special K Cinnamon Pecan
  • Special K Protein
  • Special K Red Berries
  • Special K Vanilla Almond
  • Special K Fruit & Yogurt
  • Special K Brown Sugar Gluten Free
  • Special K Oats & Honey
  • Special K Low Fat Granola
  • Special K Chocolate Almond
  • Special K Cranberry Granola
  • Special K Cinnamon Crunch

In the UK & Ireland, Special K comes in ten different varieties of cereal:[7]

  • Special K Original
  • Special K Red Berries
  • Special K Hazelnut & Almond
  • Special K Peach & Apricot
  • Special K Creamy Berry Crunch
  • Special K Bliss Chocolate & Strawberry
  • Special K Milk Chocolate
  • Special K Yoghurty
  • Special K Chocolate
  • Special K Fruit & Nut

Meal replacement[edit]

In the US, Special K provides meal replacements in multiple different forms.

There are eight varieties of Special K Protein Meal Bars:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Strawberry
  • Double Chocolate
  • Chocolatey Chip
  • Chocolate Caramel
  • Honey Almond
  • Mocha Crunch Protein
  • Cranberry Walnut
  • Chocolatey Brownie
  • Chocolatey Dipped Mint

There are seven varieties of Special K Protein Shakes:

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • French Vanilla
  • Rich Chocolate
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Chocolate Mocha
  • Vanilla Cappuccino


Kellogg's Special K snacks are marketed as low-fat alternatives to regular snacks. There are several varieties of Special K snacks, including Special K Protein Granola Bars, Special K Cereal Bars, Special K Crackers, Special K Chips, and Special K Fruit Crisps.

There are four varieties of Special K Protein Granola Bars:

  • Chocolatey Peanut Butter
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Greek Yogurt & Fruit
  • Almond Honey Oat

There are five varieties of Special Breakfast Shakes:

  • Chocolate Mocha Coffee House
  • Vanilla Cappuccino Coffee House
  • Chocolate Delight
  • Red Berries
  • French Vanilla

There are two varieties of Special K Cereal Bars:

  • Red Berries
  • Chocolatey Pretzel

There are five varieties of Special K Cracker Chips:

  • Sea Salt
  • Cheddar
  • Sour Cream & Onion
  • Barbecue
  • Salt & Vinegar

There are two varieties of Special K Popcorn:

  • Kettle Corn
  • White Cheddar

There is one variety of Special K Crackers:

  • Multi-grain


United States of America[edit]

Ingredients in Kellogg's Special K packages include: wheat bran, soy grits, rice, wheat gluten, soybean oil, soy protein isolate, whole grain wheat, contains 2% or less of sugar, salt, malt flavoring, sucralose, natural and artificial flavor, BHT for freshness.

Vitamins and minerals include: vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (alpha tocopherol acetate), niacinamide, reduced iron, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin A palmitate, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, vitamin B12.


United States of America[edit]

The company announced on its website in late February 2013 that it was recalling three sizes of the Special K Red Berries in the US for containing pieces of glass.[8]


Until the summer of 2014, Special K's formula was different in Canada from that used in the US. With the June, 2014 closure of Kellogg's London, Ontario plant, Canadians will eat Special K that is made in the U.S.[9]

The discontinued Canadian formula had a different taste which reflected the "Canadian taste preference" (according to the Consumer Relations department of Kellogg's in Canada). The Canadian formula included rice, wheat gluten, sugar/glucose-fructose, defatted wheat germ, salt, malt (corn flour, malted barley), vitamins (thiamin hydrochloride, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, d-calcium pantothenate), iron, and BHT added to the package material to maintain product freshness.


Denmark has outlawed the addition of vitamins in Kellogg's products since 2004. Danish health officials banned cereals containing added vitamins because, they claimed, Kellogg's wanted to add extremely high levels of vitamin B6, calcium, folic acid and iron, which would reach toxic levels when eaten on a daily basis. Young children risk liver and kidney damage, while the fetuses of pregnant women can suffer complications from the toxins.[10]

The Dutch television show Keuringsdienst van Waarde (nl),[11] in an episode aired on October 15, 2009, followed up one of Kellogg's Special K nutritional claims, namely the addition of iron. The show provided evidence that the iron was not nutritional ionic iron—as it occurs in natural foods like spinach—but was in fact metallic iron. A Kellogg's telephone helpdesk employee was not willing to discuss the ingredients of their products in general, claiming it was a company secret, although in the show, the company was not confronted with the findings. The nutritional experts in the show (a university professor and a general practitioner) agreed that actual metallic iron should not be part of a diet, speculating that it might damage organs.[12] After the airing, the Dutch food authority nuanced the claims made in the TV program, claiming there are no health risks as long as Kellogg's stays within the legal limits. They also challenged the claim that the cereal could contain 'shredded bikes', and responded that iron powder is suitable for human consumption.[13]

The evidence provided during the show followed David Catz's description of an experiment by Dr. Babu George, Sacred Heart University, in which iron is extracted from cereals.[14] The description dates from 1984. As a result of this experiment being published and inquiries being made to the manufacturers, some companies have replaced the metallic iron in their products with an iron compound such as iron (III) phosphate, also called ferric phosphate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kellogg Company News Room - Frequently Asked Questions". kelloggcompany.com. 
  2. ^ "Kellogg's Special K Original Cereal: Nutrition facts". Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  3. ^ "Special K Cereals: Original". Kellogg Company. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Kellogg's Special K Challenge - The science / research". Archived from the original on 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Still not convinced?". Kellogg Company. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  6. ^ "Breakfast Cereal For A Healthy You – Special K® Cereals". Kellogg Company. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  7. ^ "My Special K: Cereals". Kellogg Company. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  8. ^ Jaslow, Ryan (Feb 20, 2013). "Kellogg's Special K Red Berries recalled for glass fragments". CBS News. 
  9. ^ "Special K production ending ahead of Kellogg's closure". London. 
  10. ^ Meikle, James; Harding, Luke (2004-08-12). "Denmark bans Kellogg's vitamins". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  11. ^ "Uitzending bekijken, Keuringsdienst van Waarde: IJzer extra". teleblik.nl. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  12. ^ "Keuringsdienst van Waarde: IJzer". uitzendinggemist.nl. 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ Katz, David A. (2006-07-04). "Extracting Iron From Cereal" (PDF). chymist.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 

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