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Special K Diet Side Effects

By Dale Bird-Cortes, MSRD ; Updated July 18, 2017

The Special K diet or Special K challenge is a 14 day program designed to jump start weight loss. It was designed by registered dietitians employed by the Kellogg Company. The diet's purpose is to offer a healthy and inexpensive way to reduce daily calorie intake. It replaces high fat foods with lower fat/high fiber foods and promotes a variety of products manufactured by Kellogg.

Allergic Reactions

Several items in the Special K diet contain peanut, chocolate, wheat, egg and dairy ingredients. Effects of the diet on those with such allergies can include rash, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, seizure, shock and--in severe cases--death. If you have food allergies, make sure you thoroughly read the ingredients contained in the products you select for your meals on this diet. Depending on your allergies, you may be able to continue the Special K diet by limiting your use of certain foods on the diet.

Celiac Sprue Complications

Weight loss, diarrhea, skin or intestinal lesions, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and cancer can occur in individuals who suffer from celiac sprue. Celiac sprue is an autoimmune disorder that allows gluten and other components of wheat to severely damage the intestinal lining. Gluten is present in most grains--including those featured in the Special K diet--and is used as a preservative and food stabilizer. Unlike an allergic response, you may not notice some of these symptoms until well into the disease process. If you have been diagnosed with celiac sprue, consult your doctor before beginning the Special K diet.

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Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders such as gas, bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea may occur if you are lactose intolerant. This diet contains a variety of dairy products, so if you have lactose intolerance, take a dietary enzyme to help with predigesting the lactose products contained in the diet. When possible, use nondairy substitutes when the diet calls for milk. Digestive reactions usually will occur within the first few minutes after a meal.

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