I started the cereal experiment many, many months ago after realizing the cereal I was consuming every day, Special K Fruit & Yogurt, was a sugary (albeit delicious) concoction of low fiber and low protein flakes. While recently standing in the cereal aisle admiring my old love, I spotted a new addition to the Special K family, Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus. Once I realized it fit all of my criteria for a healthy cereal, I decided it would be the next test case in my experiment.
Results. A cereal story:
Sunday morning I opened my box of Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus and popped a flake in my mouth expecting flavor reminiscent of cardboard. To my surprise, a burst of flavor and sweetness struck my senses. "Oh wow!" I exclaimed to my boyfriend who was patiently watching my experimentation. I continued chewing the flake and my smile quickly turned into a grimace as I realized that flavor was coming from artificial sweetener. "What the..." I started while reaching for the cereal box. I quickly searched the ingredient list and made an unfortunate discovery. "Damn artificial sweeter," I muttered in a huff only a healthy living blogger would make. "You have to eat that cereal for the sake of the experiment," retorted my boyfriend in a statement only a healthy living blogger's boyfriend would make. Knowing he was right, I sat down and continued eating...
Sure enough, this cereal is flavored with sucralose. And, while a year ago I wouldn't have noticed - my re-vamped taste buds, now used to fairly 'clean' food, are heightened to this unnatural flavor. My taste buds were not pleased.
Despite its questionable use of artificial sweeter, I enjoyed the hearty, whole grain flavor and crunchy texture of these flakes. As do all flakes, these went soggy a bit earlier than I would have preferred, but maintained the crispness better than other flakes I have tried (I'm looking at you Golden Goodness). There are only 100 calories in the 3/4 cup serving size, which means I poured a double serving and mixed in granola. A girl cannot survive on a measly 100 calorie breakfast.
Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus has some surprisingly impressive nutritional stats. Per serving, there are 5 grams of fiber and a whopping 10 grams of protein. There is also a notable 8% of calories from sugar, which is almost half of what the other cereals contain. But, as noted above this is because although there is little sugar, there is sucralose.
I feel like its final standing as a 5th place winner is biased because my formula does not account for the artificial sweetener content. But, to be fair, based on the current formula results this cereal comes out with a good ranking.
All in all, Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus is a protein-packed sucralose-laced cereal choice that will likely not make a second appearance in my cereal bowl.