Special K Diet For Weight Loss: Benefits & Side Effects

Shed those extra pounds with a nutritionally balanced and healthy diet plan.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian) Merlin Annie Raj Merlin Annie RajRD (Registered Dietitian) facebook_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Sindhu Koganti BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Experience: 6 years

The special K diet is popularized in the weight loss industry for its visible results. It claims to make one shed approximately 6 pounds in just 2 weeks. But how can this be possible?

This diet was created by Kellog’s, a company known for its breakfast cereals. The central idea of this diet is to eat two bowls of special K cereal with low-fat milk. While one bowl is for breakfast, the other could either be for lunch or dinner. A well-balanced third meal should also be eaten.

Eating less and losing more fat is a major principle here, as the diet claims to help you feel full for longer hours. Also, it doesn’t have to be boring. Its meal plan is curated very strategically, and you can also include low-glycemic foods that are high in nutrition.

In a survey conducted on 8,704 US adults, it was found that 17.8% of participants were on a special diet to loose weight. Additionally it was also noted that more women were on special diets than men. More adults aged between 40-60 and over were on a diet compared to adults aged 20-39.

However, this diet plan should not be followed for more than two weeks as it only addresses short-term weight loss goals. Learn more about this diet from this article and get started with your weight loss journey.

Lose Weight With The Special K Diet

  1. The Science – How Does The Special K Diet Help You Lose Weight?
  2. The Special K Diet Plan
  3. Substitutes
  4. Foods To Eat
  5. Foods To Avoid
  6. The Best Part Of This Diet
  7. Special K Diet Recipes
  8. Role of Exercise
  9. Dos And Don’ts Of The Special K Diet
  10. Benefits Of The Special K Diet
  11. Side Effects Of The Special K Diet
  12. FAQ’s

 1. The Science – How Does The Special K Diet Help You Lose Weight?

Image: Shutterstock
  • Multigrain Special K is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It makes you feel full, making you less prone to feel hungry.
  • You will also eat other healthy foods such as fruits, yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, chicken, vegetables, and dairy that are low in carb and fat content.
  • Regular exercising will help you expend the stored fat as energy.
  • You will not be allowed to drink any alcoholic, artificially sweetened, and carbonated beverages. This will help you maintain your calorie intake per day, which will aid weight loss.

Now that you know the science behind the Special K diet, let’s unveil the specially designed 6-meals-per-day diet plan with the calorie count and time.

2. The Special K Diet Plan

Early Morning (6:00 am – 7:30 am)Options
  • Honey, lemon, and warm water
  • Green tea with lemon and honey
66 calories
Breakfast (8:00 am – 9:00 am)One bowl Special K with one cup low-fat milk. You can add half an apple.270 calories
Pre-Lunch (10:30 am)One apple or orange or grapes or berries.48–67 calories
Lunch (12:30 pm – 1:00 pm)Options
  • One bowl Special K multigrain and honey with one cup low-fat milk.
  • Vegetable soup
  • Tuna sandwich or salad
286 calories

290 calories

268 calories

Post-Lunch (2:30 pm)One small bowl of yogurt.220 calories
Evening Snacks (4:30 pm – 5: 00 pm)Options
  • Green tea with 1 multigrain biscuit
  • 4 baked veggie wafers
73 calories

156 calories

Dinner (7:30 pm – 8:00 pm)Options
  • One bowl Special K multigrain and honey with one cup low-fat milk.
  • Grilled fish or chicken with blanched asparagus and spinach salad.

Dessert– Fruit salad or low-sugar carrot cake.

286 calories

150-258 calories

70-180 calories

This diet plan is flexible and provides you with a daily intake of 1200-1500 calories. Make sure you include Special K in any two of your meals per day. Avoid fatty foods. Eat foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Follow the Special K diet plan for two weeks and see visible results.


Be careful about portion control. Consuming too much Special K will not produce the desired results. Try calorie counting or limit the portion to the size of your palm.

3. Substitutes

If you are allergic to any of the listed foods or simply do not want to eat the same veggies or fruits for 14 days, here is a list of food substitutes to help you break the monotony.

  • Honey – Organic maple syrup
  • Lemon – Apple cider vinegar
  • Green tea – Black tea or white tea
  • Apple – Pear
  • Orange – Grapefruit or kiwi
  • Banana – 2 dates
  • Low-fat milk – Soy milk
  • Grapes – Blueberries
  • Berries – Orange
  • Vegetable or Chicken soup – Mushroom soup or stir fried veggies
  • Tuna – Salmon or chicken breast
  • Yogurt – Buttermilk
  • Digestive biscuits – Multigrain biscuits
  • Baked veggie wafer – Steamed spring rolls
  • Grilled Fish or chicken – Ground beef or lentil soup
  • Asparagus – Leek or celery
  • Spinach – Bok choy or Chinese cabbage
  • Chocolate mousse – Sour cream
  • Carrot cake – Squash cake or beetroot cake
  • Fruit salad – Fresh fruit juice (strain the juice if you suffer from IBS)

If this list is not sufficient, the next section has a list of foods you can eat (in measured portions) while you are on the Special K diet.

4. Foods To Eat

  • Vegetables – Celery, carrot, beetroot, spinach, green beans, turnip, radish, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, leek, cabbage, bell peppers, drumsticks, squash, etc.
  • Fruits – Peach, apple, orange, grapefruit, watermelon, musk melon, plum, and pomegranate.
  • Proteins – Tuna, salmon, chicken breast, ground lean turkey, ground lean beef, mushrooms, soy chunks, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
  • Fats & Oils – Rice bran oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and ghee (clarified butter).
  • Dairy – Low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and eggs.
  • Spices – Cinnamon, ginger powder, garlic powder, cardamom, fennel seeds, fenugreek, onion powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder, coriander powder, cumin seeds, nutmeg, and black pepper.
  • Herbs – Coriander leaves, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and dill.
  • Beverages – Buttermilk, fresh fruit juice, and fresh coconut water.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may also prepare detox drinks with the fruits and vegetables mentioned above and consume them half an hour before exercising or having cereal in the morning.

While you attempt to eat the healthiest foods, make sure that you avoid eating high glycemic index or cardiovascular disease-causing foods.

Here is the list of foods you should avoid or eat in fewer quantities.

5. Foods To Avoid

  • Vegetables – Potato and sweet potato.
  • Fruits – Mango and jackfruit.
  • Fats & Oils – Lard and hydrogenated refined oil.
  • Dairy – Cheese, butter, and margarine.
  • Beverages – Alcohol, packaged fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and packaged coconut water.
Useful Tip

Avoid adding sugar to the Special K cereal. Add fresh strawberries or add 2 chopped dates for sweetness.

How Will You Feel While On This Diet?

By the end of Day 1, you will feel great about yourself, as you successfully completed the first day of this diet plan.

However, by Day 3, you may feel a little worn out as you will have to avoid all the carb and high sugar temptations. Do not give up so easily. Sticking to the plan will not only help you lose the water weight and fat but also help you become mentally strong to overcome the urge to eat any fattening food.

Day 6 will be challenging as you will be tired of healthy eating. The best way to deal with this is to include Special K in recipes in creative ways.

By the end of Day 8, you will notice a huge difference in your body. You will weigh at least 4 pounds lesser now. Once you see the results of your hard work, you will be able to deal with the last 6 days with elan.

Day 12 will tough as most successful dieters feel the desire to eat a lot of junk food since they have lost a good amount of weight. Wait for the reward. You have not achieved your target weight. Be patient and stay hydrated.

Day 14 will bring a big smile on your face. About 6 pounds lesser in weight, you will feel much lighter, and you will rock any dress you wear!

protip_icon Quick Tip
The Special K diet has been proven to be effective in reducing weight in two weeks. According to a study, people who followed this diet lost up to 13 pounds and 10% percent of their body fat (1).

Beyond 2nd Week

It is not advisable to carry on with this diet beyond the second week. Your body’s immunity and strength levels will be low, and continuing it indefinitely will lead to serious health issues. If you do want to follow this diet plan again, take a break of two weeks and then start the Special K diet again.

6. The Best Part Of This Diet

The best part of this diet – you lose weight quickly without depriving your body of any nutrients, or without killing your taste buds.

Following this diet plan is very simple and easy. All the ingredients are easily available in supermarkets, and they don’t need much cooking time. For example, if you are tired and don’t feel like cooking, you can bank on a bowl of Special K and milk. However, if you are in a mood to eat exciting food without disrupting your diet, the next section will give you two Special K recipes that you will love to eat.

If you want some variation, you can also try a special K shakes diet. Learn more in the section below.

7. Special K Shakes Diet

The special K shakes diet is a popular choice for individuals seeking a quick, convenient, and structured way to shed extra pounds. These shakes are low in calories and fat, rich in essential nutrients, and a convenient meal replacement option. There are many choices one can pick from.

  • Special K Protein Shake (Strawberry): This shake contains around 180 calories per serving and provides 15 grams of protein. It’s a delicious low-calorie option to try.
  • Special K Protein Shake (Vanilla): The vanilla-flavored shake has approximately 180 calories per serving and offers 15 grams of protein, making it a satisfying choice.

However, if you are in a mood to eat exciting food without disrupting your diet, the next section provides two Special K recipes that you will love to eat.

8. Special K Recipes

Here are a few simple, easy to cook, and exciting Special K recipes. Who knew multigrain flakes could taste so yummy!

 a. Baked Special K & Vegetable Cutlet

Baked special K and vegetable cutlet
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • 2 cups of Special K
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beetroot
  • 4-5 French beans
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 potatoes
  • A handful of peas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 50 g bread crumbs
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
How To Prepare
  1. Cut all the veggies into very small cubes.
  2. Boil the potato.
  3. Grind the Special K.
  4. Beat the egg in a bowl.
  5. Add the all-purpose flour and a little water and mix them to a thin consistency.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan.
  7. Throw in the chopped onion and saute for about two to three minutes.
  8. Add the other veggies and the boiled potato.
  9. Now, add three tablespoons of the ground Special K and the peas.
  10. Add salt and pepper and sauté for about 1-2 minutes.
  11. Add garam masala and dried mango powder.
  12. Mash the potato and fold the veggies into the mashed potato.
  13. Take the pan off from the heat. Let the veggies cool for about 15-20 minutes.
  14. When cooled, use either a spoon or your hands to make flattened oval-shaped cutlets.
  15. Dip the cutlets in the lightly beaten egg or the flour and water mix.
  16. Coat the cutlets with the bread crumbs.
  17. Put them on the baking tray.
  18. Drizzle a little vegetable oil on them.
  19. Bake them in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 15-20 minutes on each side.
  20. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  21. Serve hot with tomato ketchup and fresh cucumber and yogurt dip.
Why This Recipe Is Recommended

This recipe is super delicious, healthy, easy to make. This recipe can also rock your house party as a finger food. Also, you can use any vegetable or meat to prepare this cutlet.

b. Special K Nachos And Yummy Yogurt Dip

Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
      • 2-3 cups of Special K flakes
      • 100 g yogurt
      • 1 cucumber
      • 1 carrot
      • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
      • 15 g cedar cheese
      • 2 teaspoon chili flakes
      • 1 tablespoon lemon
      • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
      • 3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • A pinch of salt
      • A pinch of pepper
      • 100 ml water
      • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
How To Prepare
  1. Pour 100ml of water in a bowl and gradually add the Special K flakes. Do not pour too much water.
  2. Let the Special K flakes absorb the water and become moist, soft, and fluffy.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and one teaspoon chili flakes, and start mixing with the back of a spoon.
  4. Add all-purpose flour to get a consistency of bread dough.
  5. Put the dough on a butter paper and start rolling like pizza dough with a rolling pin.
  6. Make a thin sheet of the dough with the rolling pin.
  7. Start cutting the dough into the desired shape using shape cutters.
  8.  Carefully place these on a baking tray.
  9. Gently coat the top with the egg wash.
  10. Sprinkle a little pepper.
  11. Put it in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 15-20 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, take the yogurt in a bowl.
  13. Add thinly sliced cucumber and carrot.
  14. Grate a little cedar cheese.
  15. Add one teaspoon chili flakes.
  16. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  17. Finally, add a little lemon juice.
  18. Mix well.
  19. Take out the Special K nachos out of the oven and let them cool.
  20. Eat the Special K nachos with the awesome dip.
Why This Recipe Is Recommended

While it is not easy not to resist your craving for food, meal replacement with Special K nachos instead of regular crisps or fritters is definitely a healthier way to fulfill those cravings – they are easy to prepare and are perfectly healthy and crunchy snacks.

Hope these recipes will satisfy your cravings. Remember, merely following the Special K diet will not aid in slimming you. You also need to exercise to expend energy and mobilize stored fat to look great. Check out the recommended exercise regimen that should be followed every day for at least 30 minutes.

9. Exercise Regimen While On The Special K Diet

Image: Shutterstock

Exercising is very important to keep you active and healthy. Since the Special K diet is only a 1200-1500 calorie diet, do not opt for rigorous workouts. Rather, stick to yoga and stretching exercises. Practice yoga for at least 20 minutes a day. Here is the list of exercises that will keep your muscles toned and your cells active.

  • Arm Circles – 1 set, 5 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Wrist Circles – 1 set, 5 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Shoulder Circles – 1 set, 5 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Ankle Circles – 1 set, 5 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Pawanmuktasana – 15-30 seconds
  • Trikonasana – Hold till comfortable
  • Supta Matsyendrasana – Hold till comfortable
  • Anulom Vilom – 2 sets, 10 reps

Eating the right foods in the right quantities and exercising will help you lose weight. But, you have to eliminate other errors in your practice. The Dos and Don’ts will tell you precisely where you may err and how to make the most out of the Special K diet plan.

10. Dos And Don’ts Of The Special K Diet

Things To DoThings Not To Do
Start your day with yoga, stretching exercises, or power walks.Do not wake up late and miss your early morning detox drink or breakfast.
Stick to the diet plan. You can alternate and make some small changes, but the basic calorie intake should be same.Do not skip breakfast.
Eat two servings of Special K each day.Do not add sugar in the Special K and milk.
Eat fruits, veggies, and healthy proteins.Do not overeat.
Use low-fat milk and yogurt.Do not snack on unhealthy foods.
Drink enough water and fruit juice.Avoid alcohol and sweetened and carbonated beverages.
Consult your doctor before starting on this diet.Do not work till late at night.

Lauren Demko, a blogger and recovering from an eating disorder, shared her experience about following the special K diet. She said, “I did the ‘special K diet,’ which is when you eat cereal for breakfast and lunch, then whatever you want for dinner. I also did 100 sit-ups a day, and ran a few miles every day.” She went on to add, “At one point I was eating 500 calories a day and burning double if not triple that. Obviously this wasn’t healthy and my doctor even warned me that I was developing an eating disorder (i).”

So, now you know the practical mistakes that you could have made and hindered your weight loss. But do you know why we strongly support the Special K diet? Take a look at the benefits of Special K diet to unlock the mystery.

11. Benefits Of The Special K Diet

Image: Shutterstock
  • Easy to follow.
  • All the foods recommended in the diet chart are easily available.
  • Keeps your weight in check.
  • This medium to low-calorie diet ensures that you will lose weight faster.
  • You can prepare healthy snacking alternatives easily at home.
  • You can add fruits, honey, or nuts to a bowl of Special K and milk to make it more delicious.
  • Special K is made up of whole grains, i.e. it is rich in fiber content.
  • The Special K diet will keep your hunger pangs at bay.

Well, there sure is another side to the coin. Let’s flip it!

12. Possible Side Effects Of The Special K Diet

  • Since this is a medium to low-calorie diet, you may feel fatigued or weak.
  • The sugar in the diet can raise the blood sugar levels, and the salt can be harmful to people with diabetes.
  • You may feel irritated and experience mood swings.

Infographic: Healthier Alternatives To The Special K Diet For Weight Loss

Even if the Special K diet may show quick short-term results, it may not prove good for your health and fitness in the long run. Managing your weight in a healthy manner needs consistent efforts. Staying fit and active and following a healthy, nutritious diet are better ways to reach your ideal weight. Check out the infographic below to learn more about ways to lose weight more sustainably and healthily.

special k diet for weight loss (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Special K diet is an effective short-term weight loss strategy that should not be followed for more than two weeks. Consuming fiber-rich Special K cereals with low fat milk twice a day helps regulate hunger by increasing satiety. This diet allows for 1200-1500 calories a day, so you can also consume healthy vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy products for lunch or dinner. However, you will be barred from eating processed foods and drinking alcoholic and carbonated drinks. Strictly follow the diet plan mentioned above and complement it with exercise or yoga for effective results. You may also consult a doctor before embarking on this diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can I lose with the Special K Diet?

You can lose up to six pounds if you follow the Special K Diet and exercise regularly.

How much cereal should I take during this diet?

You can take 8-10 tablespoons or about half a medium-sized bowl of Special K per serving every day.

Can I follow this plan for more than 2 weeks?

The Special K diet is meant for short-term weight loss. Doing this diet for more than two weeks can lead to boredom and the potential of binge eating. It can also make your body weaker as this is a low calorie diet.

What will happen if I stop the diet before completing 2 weeks?

If you stop the diet in between, firstly, you will not lose fat, and secondly, you will put on more weight than before. Stop immediately if this diet plan is affecting your health and your physician has asked you to do so. Do not stop because you are unable to resist your temptations.

What would be the best time to follow this diet?

A special occasion in a fortnight will the best time to follow this diet plan. Start on any day you want to according to your convenience.

Does it matter which Special K I choose?

There are many varieties of Special K. Always see the contents before choosing a variety. If it contains too much of added sugar and salt, avoid it. Eating Special K that is high in sugar content will not serve the purpose. Also, too much salt content is not good for your health.

Is there any age limit for the Special K diet?

The company recommends you to be at least 18 years old to follow the special K diet.

Why does Special K hurt my stomach?

The high fiber content in Special K may occasionally cause bloating and gas and lead to stomach ache.

Is Special K low-carb?

Yes, Special K is low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Can Special K cause constipation?

Some variations of Special K are high in sugar and low in fiber, and may lead to constipation. Therefore, careful selection of the right cereal is essential.

Key Takeaways

  • The special K diet consists of eating a bowl of this cereal with low-fat milk for breakfast and another meal and a healthy, balanced third meal.
  • The special K cereal is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that makes you feel satiated.
  • Pair this diet with daily exercise and healthy foods like fish, fruits, yogurt, chicken, and veggies.
  • You may feel weak and experience mood swings on this diet. Those with diabetes should avoid this diet as it may increase blood sugar levels.

Special K Diet For Weight Loss: Benefits & Side Effects

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn more about the secrets of the Special K diet in this video. Explore its unique approach to weight loss and its other potential benefits for your health.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The Effects of the Special K Challenge on Body Composition and Biomarkers of Metabolic Health in Healthy Adults
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