When I ask people what comes to mind when they think about Special K cereal they often respond with words like “weight loss” and “health”. This doesn’t surprise me. When I researched some of the marketing messages used to promote Special K I found things like “love your jeans again in just 2 weeks,” “weigh less with a Special K breakfast,” “be your most beautiful you for your wedding,” “love your summer shape,” “the look that makes him look again,” and “what will you gain when you lose?”
Even on the Special K cereal box they claim “As part of healthy eating, this food may assist in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight because it is low in fat.”
Personally, I think that Kellogg’s and the Special K marketing team have done a fantastic job of associating these weight loss and health beliefs with this cereal brand. However, I was curious, is it all marketing hype? Or is this product really a healthy solution for weight loss?
I figured it was time to undress Kellogg’s Special K Original cereal to see if it looks as good naked as the marketing messages claim.
Ingredients of Special K Original Cereal
Ingredients: Rice, wheat gluten, sugar, wheat germ, salt, modified milk ingredients, malt flavor, iron, thiamine hydrochloride, d-calcium pantothenate, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid.
2 BIG Reasons These Ingredients Don’t Help With Weight Loss
Reason 1: It contains white grains and no fiber – which leads to weight gain
When I looked over the ingredients I noticed that the main ingredient in this product is white rice and the third ingredient is sugar. Even though it just says “rice” and doesn’t specify whether it’s white or brown rice, I am convinced it is white because when I looked at the nutrition panel I noticed that there are ZERO grams of fiber in Special K Original. Since brown rice contains fiber and white rice does not I believe it’s fairly safe to assume they have used white refined rice as the main ingredient in this product.
Research has showed that when it comes to carbohydrates it’s not the amount of carbohydrates that’s the big problem, it’s the type. For example, broccoli, kale, blueberries, beans, etc, all provide healthy carbohydrates and fiber. When we consume these foods the fiber helps us feel full faster so we don’t overeat and it also helps to ensure the carbohydrates are absorbed slowly so we don’t spike our blood sugar and insulin.
Refined carbohydrates on the other hand (like white rice and sugar) have been shown to cause obesity because they spike our blood sugar and insulin, and this leads to the sugar being stored in our muscles, which if not used will turn into fat.
Therefore, it’s the type of carbohydrate we consume that can have a significant impact on our weight.
Since Special K Original cereal is loaded with refined grains, no fiber, and contains refined sugar, this product does not appear to be a healthy food and it certainly doesn’t contain ingredients that support weight loss. In addition, according to Dr. Mercola, “consuming these refined grains leads to insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease known to man, including heart disease.”
Reason 2: Low fat doesn’t actually lead to weight loss
It seems that the entire marketing strategy rests on this idea that because Special K Original is low in fat, it will help with weight loss. Let’s take a closer look at this.
Back in the 1980’s the government (and the media) started telling everyone that we should be avoiding fat in our diet. The general thought was that fat is bad and is making us fat. Unfortunately, this was not the whole story. We were grossly mislead and as a result got fatter than ever!
The general statement or opinion that “eating fat makes us fat” is completely wrong. It’s not like the fat in the avocado goes straight to our butts and bellies. There are only 3 macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. All of them are essential for our survival. If we cut any of them out of our diet our health will suffer. People tend to gain weight because they are eating more calories (from fat, proteins, and carbohydrates combined) than they are burning in a day. In addition, the foods they are eating that make up their daily caloric total often lead to increased fat gain. For example, processed high-glycemic foods like white rice, sugar, white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, pasta, bread, etc spike our blood sugar and promote fat creation in the body.
YIKES!!! High-glycemic foods (e.g. the white rice and sugar in Special K Original) are actually more of a culprit for packing on the pounds than fat is.
Quick Facts About Fat:
Did you know: fat is essential for brain function; it helps our cells stay moveable and flexible; 60% of our heart’s energy comes from burning fat; it helps insulate and protect our nerves; it helps slow digestion so we can better absorb nutrients; it slows down the insulin spike from consuming carbohydrates; it is essential for us to be able to absorb all fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K); it cushions and protects our internal organs; and it can help our immune system stay healthy! Does this sounds like something we should be avoiding?
What Is The Bottom Line?
It appears that Special K Original cereal has built their entire brand on the false notion that fat makes us fat. So the question we set out to answer was “Does Special K Original actually help with weight loss or is it all marketing hype?” In my opinion, it’s all marketing hype.
We know that the biggest cause of weight gain and obesity is refined grains (like white rice) and sugar. These foods are void of fiber and spike our insulin levels which leads to excess fat storage in the body.
In addition to the many health benefits consuming healthy fats provides, it can actually help us lose weight by keeping us full for longer so we don’t overeat and helping to keep our metabolism healthy.
So… The refined grains and sugar increase our chances of gaining weight, the lack of healthy fat increases our chances even further, and the absence of fiber is the weight gaining cherry on top! This is not something I will be eating for breakfast, that’s for sure.
What do you think about the marketing efforts of Special K? Let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you. Also, I’m committed to letting everyone know about what’s really in Special K Original cereal. If you could help me out by sharing this article with your friends and family I would greatly appreciate the help. Thanks for reading and being part of the journey!