Find out what Special K is made of, what products they sell, and if they are safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
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If you love cereal or a quick breakfast option first thing in the morning, you may be familiar with the brand Special K. This box with the giant red K on it is a staple in many grocery store cereal aisles and has been popular in TV advertising for decades.
If you are looking for a gluten-free cereal and are curious about Special K’s products, this post is for you. Find out what Special K is, what flavors and varieties this brand makes, and if their products are safe for folks on a gluten-free diet.
Plus, I’ll share some other gluten-free cereal options so you have a list of options to look for next time you’re headed down the cereal aisle.
What is Special K?
Special K is a brand of cereal that’s made with rice and wheat flakes. The brand has a variety of flavors of cereal, as well as snack bars and breakfast shakes.
This brand of cereal was introduced in 1955 and was previously marketed as a healthy cereal that can help people lose weight. They even had a marketing campaign that was aimed to help people curb their cravings with the “Special K Challenge.”
This diet fell flat for many people because it wasn’t high enough in calories, fiber, or protein to keep anyone full for long and had folks turn to more snacking as a result. You can find out more about the Special K diet here.
What flavors does Special K come in?
Special K cereal comes in a variety of different flavors, all a different variety of their original cereal. Fruit, chocolate, honey, cinnamon, and added protein are all added ingredients to the original recipe of Special K to make different options you can pick up at the store.
Here’s the current product lineup of Special K products from the brand’s website:
- Kellogg’s Special K Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolatey Dipped Flakes with Almonds Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Blueberry Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Fruit & Yogurt Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Vanilla Almond Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolatey Delight Chocolatey Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Original Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Protein Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch Protein Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Cinnamon Pecan Cereal
- Kellogg’s Special K Touch of Honey Cereal
Special K also offers snack bars, which come in the following varieties:
- Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Pastry Crisps
- Kellogg’s Special K Cookies ‘n Creme Pastry Crisps
- Kellogg’s Special K Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry Crisps
- Kellogg’s Special K Blueberry Pastry Crisps
- Kellogg’s Special K Salted Pretzel Chocolate Chewy Snack Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries Chewy Snack Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Cranberry Almond Chewy Nut Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Almond Chewy Nut Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Blueberry Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Brownie Batter Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolatey Chip Cookie Dough Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Caramel Protein Meal Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Caramel Pretzel Cashew Protein Snack Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Peanut Pecan Protein Snack Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Almond Fudge Keto-Friendly Bars
- Kellogg’s Special K Peanut Butter Fudge Keto-Friendly Bars
Special K’s shake product lineup includes the following varieties and flavors:
- Kellogg’s Special K French Vanilla Protein Shakes
- Kellogg’s Special K Milk Chocolate Protein Shakes
- Kellogg’s Special K Chocolate Mocha Protein Shakes
- Kellogg’s Special K Vanilla Cappuccino Protein Shakes
- Kellogg’s Special K Rich Chocolate Protein Shakes
- Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Protein Shakes
What is Special K made of?
Special K has three different product lines. Let’s go through the main ingredients of each so that we can get a big picture of whether or not their products are gluten-free or not.
Ingredients in Kellogg’s Special K Original Cereal:
“Rice, wheat gluten, sugar, defatted wheat germ, contains 2% or less of salt, malt flavor, BHT for freshness.Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), niacinamide, vitamin E acetate, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D3, vitamin B12.”
Ingredients in Kellogg’s Special K Strawberry Pastry Crisps:
“Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), sugar, vegetable glycerin, vegetable oil (soybean, palm and/or palm kernel), fructose, dextrose, maltodextrin.Contains 2% or less of modified food starch, apple powder, strawberry puree concentrate, nonfat milk, cornstarch, invert sugar, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), soy lecithin, reduced minerals whey, salt, DATEM, vegetable juice for color, sodium citrate, natural flavors, cellulose gel, citric acid, malic acid, mono- and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium alginate, tricalcium phosphate, rosemary extract for freshness.”
Ingredients in Kellogg’s Special K French Vanilla Protein Shakes:
“Water, nonfat milk, soy protein isolate, sugar, contains 2% or less of canola oil, polydextrose, dipotassium phosphate, gellan gum, potassium citrate, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, acesulfame potassium.Vitamins and Minerals: Magnesium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), vitamin E acetate, vitamin A palmitate, niacinamide, iron (ferric pyrophosphate), calcium pantothenate, zinc sulfate, vitamin D3, manganese sulfate, vitamin K1, vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium iodide, chromium chloride, sodium selenite, folic acid, sodium molybdate, biotin, vitamin B12.”
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Is cereal gluten-free?
Some, but not all cereal is gluten-free. Many cereals made with rice or corn ingredients may be gluten-free, but that’s only if the brand is committed to manufacturing their products on gluten-free machinery.
Gluten can be found in some cereal products in the form of wheat, wheat flour, wheat starch, malt flavor, or malt barley. You can also find gluten hidden in flavorings in some cereal.
Since gluten can show up under so many different names, it’s important to read ingredients lists for each cereal you buy. Sometimes one flavor of a cereal is gluten-free, but another from the same brand isn’t.
Is Special K gluten-free?
Special K cereal is not gluten-free, as it contains wheat gluten, defatted wheat germ, and malt flavor. All the flavors and varieties of Special K contain gluten, so this cereal should be avoided if you’re trying to stick to a gluten-free diet for health reasons.
Special K snack bars also contain gluten in the form of enriched flour. You’ll want to choose a gluten-free snack bar instead of this brand.
Special K protein shakes don’t have any gluten containing ingredients, and their website actually calls them “gluten-free protein shakes.” This might be an okay choice for you if you’re looking for a gluten-free meal replacement shake for your morning routine.
What cereal is gluten-free?
If you’re disappointed to learn that Special K cereal isn’t gluten-free, don’t worry! There are plenty of other brands that are made with corn or rice that are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Check out the list of brands and flavors of cereal that will work for your gluten-free dietl in this post: Gluten-free cereal
If you’ve been wondering if Special K is gluten-free, I hope this post has given you the answers you’ve been looking for with their cereals, bars, and shakes. While their cereals and bars aren’t gluten-free, their shakes are.