Kellogg's® Special K® Protein Plus cereal

Given a previous conversation about this cereal, I wrote to Kellogs through their web page, and received this reply, regarding the listing on the box of “other carbs” and what them mean. Thought it would be good to share it. Knowledge is a good thing.

FWIW, I still go up quite a bit more than I think I should when I eat this cereal, but I don’t get close to 140, and do come back down fairly fast. I am not good with carbs early in the day, but the truth is, some days, its just easier to pour the cereal and eat it, and let the numbers rise if they are so inclined :slight_smile:

I told the customer service rep in my email that I would be sharing this answer with folks on line, so it should not be a problem to post her comments here. I read it, and I only partially get it, because they write on the box “only 9 carbs” but the fact is, there are 16 when you add in the “other carbs” Toss in the milk, which I use sparingly, and I guess its just enough to get my BG to rise in the AM. Haven’t yet tried it later in the day.


Thank you for contacting us about the carbohydrates in Kellogg’s® Special K® Protein Plus cereal. What a good question! I am happy to explain what “other carbohydrates” refers to.

The total grams of carbohydrates found on the Nutrition Facts panel includes dietary fiber, sugars and other carbohydrates. In this cereal, there are 14 grams of total carbs, 5 from fiber, 2 from sugars and 7 from other carbohydrates, also known as starch.

Other carbohydrates indicate the grams of complex carbohydrates in a serving, not including fiber. Other carbohydrates are long, branched chains of single sugar molecules known as polysaccharides and sometimes referred to as starch or complex carbohydrates. Other carbohydrates are not added to the product but rather they are naturally found in grains. They are included in the total carbohydrate amount.

Speaking to a diabetic audience, starches break down into simple sugars and do increase blood glucose levels. The body metabolizes the simple sugars first and then breaks down the starches into sugars as well. I would not expect a
blood sugar spike from this cereal, however, due to the buffering effect the fiber has on the blood sugar levels. Everyone is different however and it is difficult to say why your sugar levels increased.

Remember when counting carbs that the serving size on most products, and therefore carb amount, is based on the weight of the cereal and not the volume. When the cereal is manufactured, 29 grams equals 3/4 of a cup. However, during transportation, the cereal has a tendency to settle and 29 grams may now take up less space. 3/4 of a cup may now weigh 35 grams which is more than one serving. One could inadvertently consume more than one serving of cereal even when using a measuring cup. The most exact way to ensure you are getting the stated amount of carbs is to use a small kitchen scale to weigh out foods.

Again, thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your patronage of our products and hope that this provides you with the information you need to make food choices appropriate for you.


Rebecca A Jimenez
Consumer Affairs Department

Yeah, I’m not really sure I get this ‘net carb’ thing when they advertise that on the cover. I always just account for the total carbs, in my diet, to avoid issues… And honestly, to me, glycemic load gives me a more definite picture of what things are going to do in my blood… than just how many carbs I measured, cus the same amount of carbs for a different food doesn’t always make me spike in the same way. (It’s just a different way of measuring carbs.) There’s more info on

Wow, I’m actually impressed by the accuracy of their response!!! Sounds like someone knows what they are talking about. Thanks for sharing this John!

The NET carbs in this case is actually accurate for some of us (though in MANY, MANY cases it is not). It is only a question of whether you subtract out fiber (I do, but I know others do not). Fiber supposedly does not raise your blood sugar. Some say it actually does raise their blood sugar. Fiber is not broken down into glucose until it reaches the colon and in some cases not even there. Fiber should be “indigestible” carbs that help in digestion but are not broken down (i.e. they are passed out of your system). This is why many people subtract out the fiber. Just for reference, in Europe, fiber is not even written as a carb. It is written separately on the packaging.

If you see packages that subtract out sugar alcohols or fructose, don’t believe it, but as for me, I do subtract out fiber.

So I guess it’s always a good idea to check how they calculate “net” carbs from total carbs. Best yet, do the calculation yourself and ONLY subtract out fiber, not other forms of carbs. They are required to write the fiber separately.

P.S. I’m low while typing this — so I hope that it makes sense!

I do know there is such a thing as ‘resistant starch’ that is in some breads (like sourdough), and happens sometimes in some foods like red potatoes, when boiled and left to cool down overnight in the refrigerator, lowering how much they raise blood sugar…

Hi John Brush:
First, thanks for taking the time to contact Kellogg’s about their Special K® Protein Plus cereal and then share the response with us. I just came across that discussion. I think it may explain my shocking experience this morning after eating the cereal. Therefore, I’ll be measuring my cereal with a digital scale instead of a measuring cup in the future…in addition to washing my hands prior to checking my bs.

As directed by my endo, I’ve been checking my fasting bs and before dinner bs only, plus one other time of day, usually one hour after lunch or dinner. I like to be below 140 one hour post meal and 120 two hours post meal. Last night I went to bed at 12:35AM with a bs reading of 107. This morning I slept in, not eating breakfast until 10:50AM after a bs reading of 94. I ate 3/4 cup Special K Protein Plus cereal with a splash of milk in addition to a handful of assorted nuts. At 12:15PM, I was stunned to learn my bs = 181. At 12:21PM, after washing my hands, bs = 151 and at 12:22PM, bs = 155.

Again, thanks.

One question… How much milk are you adding to this cereal? Milk can have quite a bit of carbs, too… and add to the glycemic load in your blood.

I really just avoid anything corn made, or corn flakes… and just stick to the bran, if I have any cereal.

I just want something to eat for breakfast that doesn’t take forever to make, and forever to clean up. When I was “brand new” at this :slight_smile: I was okay with eggs, and either bacon or sausage in the old George Foreman grill. After a while, cleaning up gets really old, especially when you live alone, and don’t like to be reminded of that.

I have actually eaten salads for breakfast, since carbs in the AM are not good for me. There is no other cereal that I can come close to eating, and if someone asked me what is the worst part of diabetes, for me in this particular time, its that breakfast is way too much of a hassle. Gotta eat, as I take several pills that require food with them, but I can’t find much that I can tolerate.

I do eat the cereal in question. about 3/4 cup of cereal is a joke for a grown man, and the milk is 12 carbs per cup, and I don’t even use 1/4 cup, so if my wakeup numbers are low enough, I can get by, but it still puts me higher than I want to be, although not threatening 140.

I’m working on it, but since I have been single, I have lived close to a rule that says if it takes longer to make and clean up, than it does to eat, forget it


I mostly have hard boiled eggs, and a slice of low carb toast (like 5 net carbs, or something)… I dont like cooking too much in the am, cus I’m tired lol

I do quite well on regular Special K with 1% milk and splenda. One thing to keep in mind: My Nutritionist said that you can deduct fiber grams from your carb grams and that’s what you end up with. The higher the fiber content, the lower the carbs. I never knew this before she told me this little bit of info. For example: A slice of wheat bread that has 8 carb grams, but has 3 grams of Fiber is really 8-3= 5 carb grams. Has anyone else been told this by their nutritionist?

What brand of wheat bread do you eat that only lists 8 carbs?

I tend to use the subtraction method for ballparking, but the meter will tell me if I am correct or not. Lots of stuff has sugars listed as well, and that always messes with my numbers.

The Kellogs protein is 9 carbs, and the milk only adds 3 carbs, and it still gives me too much. On top of that, a cup or less of cereal is almost not worth having to wash the bowl afterwards :slight_smile:

I am not sure its the total carbs all alone, but other things in the food that gives me the higher numbers in the AM

I was a toast addict myself :slight_smile: The loss of bread has been the among the harder parts of dealing with this. That, and a glass of juice are things I miss the most in the AM. I found some lite minute maid tangerine juice that is okay, if I only have about half a cup, but again, its the portion size that frustrates.

Thanks for the info.


Browberry Carb Counting Multi Grain bread has like 6 net carbs, and it has the Atkins Diet seal of approval. (

Another one of theirs has even less, at 3 net carbs.

I eat some of their sandwich thins so I can enjoy burgers again. To see their complete listing, you can go here:

Plus, they have NO sugar. :slight_smile:

Have you ever observed that being slightly low (60-70 mg/dl) actually has a beneficial effect on your cognitive ability? Or maybe it just seems that way?

Your logic seems solid to me.

Do you know what you blood sugar was during your sleep? If you were low (<70 mg/dl) then it was certain that your blood sugar would rebound. When BGs drop during the night then the liver gets involved, pumping out emergency glycogen. The body can also release, in response to low BGs, counter-regulatory hormones to work against insulin. This effect can last for hours once it is elicited. Good post-prandial (breakfast) BGs often depend on not dropping below 70 mg/dl for any significant duration ( > 15 minutes) during sleep. This is my experience and your mileage may vary.


Way off topic here. What do you like to play on that guitar in your picture?


Yes, Alisha. I have been told by a deitician that you can subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of CHO in order to calculate the insulin dose required for a meal.

Thanks Lizmari,

I checked out their site, and would like to try it. I am betting its not available in Utah where I live. I emailed them about it, and if I can buy it online somewhere.

Walmart carries tortillas that are 8 net carbs, and so that is how I have survived this long. Sandwiches, wraps for Bratwurst or, gag, hot dogs, and melted cheese in the microwave or else I would be in big trouble.

I can tolerate Sarah Lee whole grain breads, but I get pretty close to 140 when I indulge. Would really like to have toast on a cold morning, and an actual sandwich now and again.

thanks for the info.