Special K Shake: Does it work?

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Expert rating: 2.8/5

Customer rating: stars-icon voted

Intro: What is it?

Special K Shake is a meal replacement shake that’s available as a breakfast, or simply any time depending on which kind you get.   It uses a mixture of both soy and milk protein.

There are currently 2 different varietals in several flavors. There are 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber for each, which according to the official website is enough to satisfy hunger. How truthful is this and will it help you lose weight? To figure this out you can read this review for a thorough analysis.


Special K Shake Ingredients

Featured below are the ingredients to their French Vanilla:

Water Nonfat Milk Soy Protein Isolate Sugar Maltodextrin
Polydextrose Canola Oil Natural Flavor Artificial Flavor Gellan Gum
Potassium Citrate Cellulose Gum Mono and Diglycerides Soy Lecithin Dipotassium Phosphate
Salt Carrageenan Sucralose Acesulfame Potassium Magnesium Phosphate
Tricalcium Phosphate Sodium Ascorbate Alpha Tocopherol Acetate Niacinamide Ferric Pyrophosphate
Calcium Pantothenate Zinc Sulfate Manganese Sulfate Thiamin Hydrochloride Pyrodoxine Hydrochloride
Riboflavin Potassium Iodide Folic Acid Biotin Chromium Chloride
Sodium Molybdate Sodium Selenite Vitamin B12

 

Protein doesn’t play the biggest role in this shake; most of it is a water base. When you read nutritional labels, usually the first listed ingredients are the ones which are highest. If you read the above list of ingredients from the top left to right, you’ll see that it’s mostly water. The 2nd ingredient is cheap Nonfat Milk that you would get at any store.

Other ingredients added which may because trouble includes:

Potassium Iodide: This ingredient provides iodine, and in large amounts it’s been linked to syndromes, and severe side effects.  It can potentially lead to overactive thyroids which have been linked to an increased risk for obesity.

Sodium Selenite: High amounts of this salt are known to be toxic to humans.

Other ingredients to watch out for are Artificial Flavors. These lab created additives are extracted from unknown different sources, and there’s a possibility for allergic effects. They’re also claimed to be regulated, but some studies show they are sometimes manipulated and stripped of valuable nutrients.

There’s also a bad source of sweetener added in plain table sugar. This can increase the risk for obesity. It’s not common for a proper meal replacement to have regular table sugar added; this is because it’s known to be counterintuitive to proper weight loss.

Macronutrients and Calories:

Calories 180 Calories From Fat 45 Total Fat 5g, 8% Saturated Fat 0.5G, 3% Cholesterol less than 5mg, 1%
Sodium 230mg, 10% Potassium 420mg, 12% Total Carbohydrate 29g, 10% Dietary Fiber 5g, 21% Sugars 18g
Protein 10g, 20% Vitamin A 35% Vitamin C 100% Calcium 35% Iron 10%
Vitamin D 35% Vitamin E 100% Vitamin K 25% Thiamin 35% Riboflavin 35%
Niacin 35% Vitamin B6 35% Folic Acid 30% Vitamin b12 35% Biotin 35%
Pantothenic Acid 35% Phosphorus 35% Iodine 35% Magnesium 30% Zinc 15%
Selenium 25% Manganese 35% Chromium 35% Molybdenum 30%

 One noticeably high ingredient is sugar; at 18 grams you’re getting large doses of this nonnutritive additive. 18 grams is a high amount when you consider the fact that Authority Nutrion.com recommends to only get 37.5 grams as a man, or 25 grams as an average woman.

If you get two shakes a day you’re getting exactly 36 grams worth of sugar a day. This is just one gram below the advised standard recommended as an average male. For women you’d be getting 11 grams extra, which can lead to complications that include:

  • Increased risk for obesity.
  • Rise of triglycerides.
  • High levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Dental cavaties.
  • Reregulated bood sugar levels which leads to hunger and bad moods.

The amount of calories is fairly high when you consider that a high quality meal replacemenrt has about half the calories. A full 180 calories is often only seen in shakes which bodybuilders who need extra energy to help support them during tough workouts.  For the average person looking to lose weight, it might not be the best amount.

Though there’s a high amount of vitamins such as Vitamin E, C, and others, it’s likely you won’t be able to process these ingredients. This is because they’re water soluble and get mostly flushed out through urine.

Quality of Special K Shakes Protein

Both Nonfat Dry Milk and Soy Protein Isolate is added. The isolate means that the soy has a higher amount of protein than regular concentrate.

Unfortunetly soy protein is often GMO unless stated otherwise by the manufacturers. Since Kellogg’s actually fought legislation to list GMO foods, it’s likely their soy is GMO. Nonfat Dry Milk is also much cheaper to get if you were to buy it from any store.

Soy has the following potential problems:

  • Hormone changing compounds: It contains phytoestrogens which can mimic estrogen production. Too much estrogen even in women can cause issues such as increased weight gain, mood swings, and acne.
  • There are Goitrogenic effects: Soy affects the thyroid which can lead to sensations of coldness, fatigue, and even difficulty processing other foods. A healthy thyroid is also needed if you’re looking to lose weight. Often people who have thyroids which aren’t functioning properly become extremely obese. It’s also not good for long term health as your hormones are malfunctioning.
  • Increased production of Phytates: These enzymes work inside the digestive tract to halt the absorption of minerals. Soy has Phytates in high amounts and it’s possible for there to be reduced intake of nutrients. In fact, soy has one of the highest amounts of Phytates out of any of the possible protein sources you can get.
  • Trypsin is found in soy: Oddly enough this component of soy actually prevents the proper intake of protein. So you essentially have to eat more protein in order to make up for this loss. Trypsin is not recommended when taking a meal replacement, since getting the right amount of protein is necessary for a properly functioning body.

So the milk provided in Special K shake can be bought at the supermarket for much cheaper, and the soy protein is GMO and full of a host of potential problems.  Paying for these ingredients with its unknown potential for limiting fat loss is not advised.

The Price and Quality of Special K Shake

The price on this shake varies depending wildly depending on where you purchase it form. Amazon.com currently sells it for $13.94 for 4 bottles.

$13.48 divided by 4=$3.49 a day.

This is a high price and doesn’t reflect the overall quality. Considering the high amount of artificial ingredients, cheap sugar, GMO protein, and the high amount of sugar, it’s really overpriced.

No Testimonials or Proof

The marketing for these shakes just claim it to be a delicious meal replacement. They never offer any testimonials, before and after photos, or any kind of evidence to suggest it’s truly useful.  Really the only claim on their official website is that it tastes good.

They never provide any proof, nor do they mention it will help you lose weight, this is only mentioned on an Amazon.com advertising page, not their own website. Still, this page has no available proof offered.

Lack of Quality Fiber

Polydextrose is the main fiber source for this shake, though there are also added stabilizers which add a bit of fiber properties.

A study by the Alimont Pharmacol Ther showed that there was an increase in intestinal gas and stomach issues in people who took this fiber source. Polydextrose is also a cheap additive often found in many processed foods. No study I found showed that it had the same fiber effects as more wholesome sources.

The Mayo Clinic’s own noted dietician mentions that lab created fibers and natural fibers may not be equal:

“We just don’t know if they all act the same”

So although there are 5 grams of dietary fiber added to Special K Shake, its unknown if it will have the same benefits are more wholesome alternatives.

The Business

Owned by the multinational corporation Kellogg’s that started its business in Michigan. There are multiple customer service representative centers:

Phone Number: 1-800-962-1413

Mailing Address: P.O. Box CAMB, Battle Creek, MI 49016

They’ve had a few controversies for the way they operate their business:

  • The company spent $2 million dollars in campaigns to prevent the labeling of GMO foods. It’s likely their soy in Special K Shake is GMO.
  • The Federal Trade Commission cited the company for making untruthful health claims.
  • An ingredient found in crude oil was somehow added to packages of Kellogg products. This lead to a nationwide recall after fears of toxic effects.

 

  • Britain banned advertising campaigns for Special K for its claim that it could lead to weight loss.

Customer Opinions of Special K Shake

Due to the wide availability of these shakes, many customers have reported their own real opinions. The following are summaries of what people have to say on Amazon.com where there are over 300 reviews:

“Tasty but not very filling”

“High in sugar and carbs, low on protein”

“Has a nasty medicine taste”

“It is not great for dieting”

“Nothing memorable about this drink”

There’s a mix of people who either found it to be too sweet, or some who liked it because it reminded them of desert. This is likely due to the 18 grams of sugar which isn’t very useful if you’re trying to lose weight.

Although the product is marketed as a meal replacement, customers who did research on the ingredients realized there was a high amount of unnecessary additives.

Conclusion

Though it’s available in many different markets, it’s not the most wholesome options for weight loss due to these reasons:

  • There’s elevated levels of sugar which can prevent weight loss: Considering the 18 grams of sugar which adds up to 36 grams if you commit to the recommended 2 a day, this won’t be beneficial for weight loss. Proper meal replacements offer a low amount of calories to ensure you’re able to properly lose weight. Sugar has many different problems associated with it such as elevated blood sugar, weight gain, and addiction.
  • The added protein is either GMO or cheaper elsewhere: Nonfat milk is inexpensive to get in markets and Special K Shakes 2nd ingredient is this. The 3rd ingredient is Soy Protein Isolate which is a GMO strain. There have also been many problems with the use of soy. Not only can it be potentially harmful since it can produce estrogen, but it’s also know to detract from weight loss.
  • The UK government has called out this shake for its untruthful weight loss benefits: A warning was sent out that mentioned that the weight loss benefits promoted by Special K were unproven. This lead to the company pulling their marketing. The company also claimed it would be a good addition to a low calorie diet.
  • A lot of artificial ingredients are added: Some of these ingredients are known to potentially cause harmful health effects. It’s also been reported that some of these additives are not as useful as their alternative counterparts. For example, the lab created fiber added to Special K Shake has not been tested well enough to prove it’s just as effective as natural fiber.
  • Customers often report it doesn’t taste very good: The most common complaint that you’ll read often from people who didn’t like the sugary drinks. Some have labeled it as being medicine like, or cloyingly sweet. These shakes are notoriously high in sugar, and its source of sweetener is regular table sugar. Some of the reviews available are from people who didn’t understand how it could be a weight loss shake when it has this much sugar.

Even at this price point it would still be cheaper to find other alternatives. The quality of the protein is very low, customers have reviewed it negatively, and there are many unnecessary additives.

You’re much better off seeking other alternatives which can give you your value in what you pay.

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