The Special K diet is a diet plan created by Kellogg, the manufacturer of Special K cereal. Officially known as the Special K Challenge, the diet promises that you can lose nearly 5 pounds (2.3 kg) in two weeks.
The diet encourages you to replace two meals, such as breakfast and lunch, with a low-fat, low-calorie Special K product, such as Special K cereal, protein meal bar or shake. You can eat your third meal as you normally would. You may also snack on fruits and vegetables or additional Special K products.
Replacing one or two meals a day with portion-controlled products may result in eating fewer calories than you normally would. It can also take the guesswork out of what to eat, thereby making it easier to diet. And this appears to be the case with the Special K diet, at least in the short term.
On the other hand, the Special K diet may leave you feeling hungry and deprived because of the diet's limited food options. It also may be difficult to stick to the diet long enough to reach your weight-loss goal.
And once you stop the Special K diet, you may regain any weight you lost because you haven't learned how to change unhealthy behaviors that led to your weight gain to begin with, such as overeating and lack of exercise. Remember, the key to permanent weight loss is developing healthy eating and exercise habits.
Aug. 17, 2013
- Special K Challenge. http://www.specialk.com. Accessed May 1, 2013.
- Mattes RD. Ready-to-eat cereal used as a meal replacement promotes weight loss in humans. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2002;21:570.
- Maki KC, et al. Whole-grain ready-to-eat oat cereal, as part of a dietary program for weight loss, reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in adults with overweight and obesity more than a dietary program including low-fiber control foods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:205.
- Vander Wal JS, et al. Ready-to-eat cereal products as meal replacements for weight loss. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2007;58:331.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 1, 2013.