Special K Chocolatey Delight Has More Calories Than Cocoa Puffs

Eating Special K to lose weight? Splurging on the chocolate version? You might want to read the label. Our sisters at ShopSmart (also published by Consumer Reports) took a look at a variety of “junk” health foods for the June issue and discovered that “Special K Chocolatey Delight” isn’t that different from Cocoa Puffs.

From ShopSmart:

If you reach for the Special K with those little chocolatey chunks thinking it’s more healthful than a kid’s cereal, you may as well fill your bowl with Cocoa Puffs. The nutritional contents of both cereals are pretty similar. Cocoa Puffs are actually slightly lower in calories, fat, and sodium, though Special K wins in the protein department by 1 gram.

A better bet: Get your chocolate fix from real chocolate. Go for the heart-healthy dark type. Just be sure to limit it to 1 ounce a day.

We suppose one could argue that, on the other hand, this could mean that Cocoa Puffs are slightly better for you that we thought. However, neither of them are as delicious as actual dark chocolate, the most amazingly wonderful substance in the universe.

ShopSmart also compared sweet potato fries to plain old non-sweet ones and found that regular fries have less sugar, fat, and calories. Ouch.

Jif “reduced fat” peanut butter also lost out to the regular old normal kind.

Says ShopSmart:

“Yes, it contains less fat (12 grams per serving compared with 16 grams in regular peanut butter), but that comes at a price. The reduced-fat version has about twice the carbs (that means added sugars) and a lot more sodium, plus the ingredients list is quite a bit longer. reduced-fat food usually needs more chemical doctoring to meet taste and texture expectations.”



Edit Your Comment

  1. Foot_Note says:

    and more salt too…

  2. Coffee says:

    This kind of thing is actually very common. When I was a kid, the raisins in Raisin Bran were sugar-coated, and evidently, it had more sugar per serving than almost any other cereal out there. I was raised in a house where sugary cereals weren’t allowed, but that didn’t stop my mother from purchasing Raisin Bran, Almond Delight, and all sorts of other “healthy” cereals. The same goes for a ton of things we eat every day. If you’re really going to eat healthy, have a plan (calories vs. carbs vs. fiber vs. whatever) and pay attention to the nutrition labels.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      For us it was Golden Grahams. They appeared to be just normal everyday pieces of cardboard, but they had a secret invisible sugary glaze.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        The first spoonful of Golden Grahams is awesome. The second and subsequent spoonfuls taste about as good as the box they came in, were it also to be soaked in milk. :-/

    • orion70 says:

      My mother used to buy those enormous bags of puffed wheat cereal. Hated those things.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      I bought store-brand raisin bran, and noticed that it contains high fructose corn syrup. Really? I mean, raisins are pretty sweet to begin with.

  3. flyingember says:

    I was picking out salad dressing for work years ago.

    I took a look at the Atkins reduced carbs, the regular and the low fat variants on the same thing.

    Each had the same amount of calories per serving.

    • The Cosmic Avenger says:

      But one has CARBS!!1!1!!eleventyseven!!!! Don’t you know carbs are teh EVOL?!!?!!?

  4. GMFish says:

    Couldn’t you mix it with melted butter and marshmallow and form it into ball, then batter and deep fry that ball?

  5. The Brad says:

    Special K also prides itself in the vitamins it has in each serving. Since those aren’t posted I’ll post them here.

    Cocoa Puffs: Vitamin A – 0%, Vitamin C – 9% Calcium – 9%, Iron 22%

    Special K: Vitamin A – 15%, Vitamin C – 35% , Calcium – 0%, Iron – 45%, Vitamin D – 10%, Bunch of B Vitamins – 35%

    Source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/breakfast-cereals/1702/2

    • wastedlife says:

      In addition to what you said, you need to compare weight with solid things like cereal, not a liquid measurement like “3/4 cup”. Using your same sources, a “3/4 cup” serving of “Special K Chocolatey Delight” is 31 grams, while a “3/4 cup” of Cocoa Puffs is 27 grams (and is actually 108 calories). Cocoa Puffs is therefore slightly higher in calories than the Special K.

      The sweet potato fries vs regular fries probably has the same discrepancy. Also, sweet potatoes have a lot of vitamin A, while most potatoes are nearly nutritionally void. Eating healthier is not just about reducing calories, it is about getting vitamins and minerals from your food.

    • OSAM says:

      Similarly, let’s look at Protein and fiber: yes the differences are small, but they’re differences.

  6. TerpBE says:

    That’s cuckoo!

  7. nbs2 says:

    Not to defend the Special K, but I thought that they were advertising it as a “special time snack food” type deal where you sprinkle a little on your yogurt or something. You don’t actually eat a full serving, but rather a small 1/4-1/2 cup size. Meh. Whatever. The chocolate is just chocolaty anyway. I enjoy my Quaker Oat squares with some added Boo Berry/Lucky Charms/Crunch Berries (depending on mood and what is already open).

    The sweet potato fries, I thought, were more a taste issue than nutritional.

  8. Sanspants says:

    Good thing I eat Nutella instead of this junk for breakfast!

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    Every time I see one of these lame ass commercials (always featuring women) I cringe and wonder why so many people fall for this crap. If you really want to lose weight or be healthy then eating Special K with fake chocolate in it is not what you need. Same goes for all those “granola bars” that are loaded with sugar and so overly processed the ingredients list takes up half the box. And lunching daily on frozen “Healthy Choice” meals actually seems like the unhealthy choice to make.

    I’m no dieter, I’m not ragging on people who diet, but if you can’t see this crap for what it truly is then you deserve to be had by these companies.

    • who? says:

      I’ll stick with Micheal Pollan’s saying, “If it has nutritional claims on the label, it isn’t really food.”

  10. Schildkrote says:

    Really, how are you going to eat anything involving chocolate and expect it to help you lose weight? You can’t cut corners like that.

    • nbs2 says:

      Fortunately, there is no chocolate in the Special K

    • RedOryx says:

      I’ve lost over 80 lbs and still eat a bit of chocolate a couple of times a week. It’s not “cutting corners” if you’re smart about it.

    • Karney says:

      Its all about calorie in, calorie out when it comes to actual fat loss. You could potentially eat nothing but twinkies and lose weight (it has been done to prove the point). As long as things are eaten in moderation you should be fine.

      I have lost 50 pounds so far by simply restricting my calories by a reasonable amount, and still eat the occasional treat. The point is to make an entire lifestyle change and eat the way you will eat for the rest of your life, not partake in some fad diet that is not maintainable long-term.

  11. StarKillerX says:

    Reminds me of years ago when my room mate and I worked out at a local gym. We used to grab a juice out of the machine after our workout as we were heading out but soon discovered that the juice had more calaries and carbs then the beer we drank, so instead of the juice we hit the bar for a couple drinks after the gym. lol!

    • The Cupcake Nazi says:

      And that was silly. As noted here by others, calories and carbs are only one part of the choices you need to make, you have to consider what else you get, too. You also get a lot of things your body needs, especially after being worked intensively, from juce. Beer gives you none of that.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Oh I realize that, it was simply our excuse to go hang out at the bar because we were “counting calories.”

  12. benson304 says:

    A lot of low-fat foods are supplemented with sugar – the calories may not be any different.

    It’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s excess calories.

  13. Sad Sam says:

    I used to love that Kashi Go Lean crunch cereal and then I discovered it has more sugar than frosted flakes. Just be cause a brand or a product is touted as healthy doesn’t make it so.

  14. dolemite says:

    “go for the heart-healthy dark type. Just be sure to limit it to 1 ounce a day.”

    No, and no. Milk chocolate, and I’ll have as much as I want, thank you very much!

  15. iesika says:

    In defense of the sweet potato, regular potatoes aren’t packed with vitamins A and C, and don’t have as much fiber.

    I make sweet potato oven fries all the time, and those are pretty low fat.

  16. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    the US version of this cereal is crap. the belgian version of Special K chocolate was awesome, containing flaked dark chocolate.

  17. Radiating says:

    As a registered dietician I have to say that this is an example of some of the worst journalism I have ever seen in my life period.

    Calories have nothing whatsoever to do with how healthful a food is. People never follow the suggested serving size and they are extremely inaccurate. What determines a food’s serving size is how much it supresses your appetite and indirectly it’s macro nutrient ratios. The special K has a supperior macro nutrient ratio compared to the other cereal, and is significantly healthier and better for weight loss.

    • djhspawn says:

      Is there a cereal that you can suggest? I was recently looking for a cereal that was low calorie but also had something to offer up. I settled on Peanut Butter Cheerios…..

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      “What determines a food’s serving size is how much it supresses your appetite”

      Either you’re crazy uninformed, or just using a poor choice in words. Serving sizes are determined by the manufacturer of the food. There is not set serving size for cereals or any other food. They are mostly arbitrary, except that companies pick sizes that they claim a reasonable person would eat. But you’ll also notice that some companies specifically lower their serving size to make their food seem healthier than it really is.

      It would be great if your statement was true.

  18. jefeloco says:

    I’m still shocked at the amount of sodium in diet Sunkist, it’s around 3-5 times the amount of most other sodas!

  19. Laura Northrup says:

    Sweet potato fries are, however, significantly more tasty.

  20. JusticeGustine says:

    When looking on the shelf and only seeing auntie’s Special K, cousins and I took to making it edible. 1 cup SK, 1/4 cup sugar, 2″ layer of Reddi Whip. Repeat layers until bowl is full. Consume while sitting in front of TV on Saturday morning.

  21. edrebber says:

    Fiber One® Cereal Original

  22. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    More calories =/= less healthy. Protein has calories. Fiber has calories. What KIND of fats are in each cereal?

  23. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Again, classic example of the changes made to the food available to North Americans since the declaration that fat is bad for us, fat replaced by sugar to keep food palatable.

    Get back to the foods (ingredients) our grandparents grew up with and the host of health problems currently approaching pandemic proportions (Type II diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, cancer, etc.) can be reversed.

  24. Nyxalinth says:

    Shop smart…Shop S Mart!

    I hate low fat peanut butter. It has a plasticky texture and tastes awful. I’m happy that the regular I’ve been eating all along is actually better for me.

  25. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Peanuts have good fat – I wouldn’t trade that for empty carbs.

  26. shelman23 says:

    I love Salt, but I bet I eat double the recommended dosage I should be. Look at all the Lean Gourmets & even Progresso Soup Lights. I used them to drop a lot of weight, but you have to stop once you hit your target. I’m not a health freak or anything either, but man Salt is in all the low calorie foods these days. Stick to vegetables & fruit if you can. I couldn’t.