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Is Up&Go Bad For You?

Also Known As: Liquid breakfast, breakfast drink



Short answer

Up&Go liquid breakfast offers essential nutrients and can be a convenient on-the-go option, containing protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, its high added sugar content and processed ingredients may make it less optimal than whole food breakfasts, especially given potential health impacts of excess sugar and additives. Up&Go can be part of a balanced diet if consumed in moderation, alongside a variety of whole foods.



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Long answer

Nutritional Content Analysis of Up&Go Liquid Breakfast

When evaluating whether or not a liquid breakfast such as Up&Go is beneficial or detrimental to your health, a close examination of its nutritional content is imperative. Up&Go products are often marketed as a convenient and healthy breakfast alternative, but understanding the underlying nutritional values can help you make a more informed decision.

Calories and Macronutrients:

Typically, a single serving of Up&Go provides around 200 to 250 calories, which can be a suitable caloric intake for a breakfast meal for some individuals. However, the distribution of macronutrients is where we must pay close attention:

  • Protein: One serve boasts about 7-10 grams of protein, mainly from skim milk powder or soy protein, which is a moderate amount that can contribute to satiety and muscle maintenance.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates usually range from 30-40 grams per serve, with sugars making up a significant proportion of this—often around 16-20 grams. It's crucial to note that while some of this sugar comes from naturally occurring lactose in milk, there are also added sugars to be mindful of.
  • Fats: The fat content is relatively low, at around 3-4 grams per serve, with minimal saturated fat.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Up&Go beverages are fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals, mimicking the nutritional profile you might find in a well-rounded breakfast. This includes:

  • Vitamin A for visual health
  • B vitamins for energy metabolism
  • Vitamin C for immune support
  • Calcium for bone health.

These added nutrients can be particularly advantageous for individuals who may struggle to meet their daily requirements through whole foods alone.

Fiber Content:

Fiber is a critical component of a healthy diet, assisting with digestion and prolonged satiety. Some Up&Go varieties contain fiber in the form of inulin or other added fibers, contributing to daily intake needs. The fiber content can range from 3-5 grams per serve, contributing to the recommended intake of 25-30 grams per day.

Added Ingredients:

While Up&Go does contain real food ingredients such as milk, soy, cereals, and fruit juice (in certain variations), it also includes a variety of added ingredients like:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Flavorings
  • Preservatives
  • Emulsifiers
  • Sweeteners (such as sugar and, in some cases, artificial sweeteners)

These additives can impact the nutritional quality of the beverage and should be considered, especially when assessing individual dietary sensitivities and overall health goals.

Ultimately, while Up&Go liquid breakfast provides a spectrum of essential nutrients, the proportion of added sugars and the presence of processed ingredients may not make it the optimal choice for everyone. It's essential to assess not only the convenience and taste but also the long-term nutritional impact on your dietary plan.

Comparison with a Traditional Breakfast's Nutritional Value

When considering the nutritional value of Up&Go against a traditional breakfast, it is crucial to weigh in various factors such as macronutrient balance, micronutrient content, fiber, additives, sugars, and long-term health impacts. Up&Go is a popular breakfast drink renowned for its convenience and claim of containing the fiber, protein, and energy of a bowl of cereal and milk. But how does it really stack up against a sit-down meal?

Macronutrient Balance: A traditional breakfast might consist of whole grains, a source of protein such as eggs or yogurt, and possibly fruits. This combination typically provides a balanced supply of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Up&Go drinks contain protein and a moderate amount of fiber, but they may have a higher sugar content than a homemade breakfast, which can lead to quicker spikes in blood sugar levels.

Micronutrient Content: Many traditional breakfasts are rich in vitamins and minerals naturally present in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Up&Go beverages are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which can make them appear nutritionally comparable. However, the bioavailability and absorption rates of nutrients from whole foods versus fortified products can differ significantly.

Fiber Content: Breakfasts made with whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits often have high levels of natural dietary fiber, essential for digestive health and satiety. While Up&Go touts a particular fiber content, it may not match the varietal benefits provided by a diverse, whole food-based meal.

Additives and Preservatives: Processed food items like Up&Go often contain additives and preservatives to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. These can sometimes pose health concerns if consumed regularly over time. For instance, emulsifiers and certain thickeners have been scrutinized for their potential negative effects on gut health.

Sugar Content: Sugar content is another critical factor when comparing Up&Go to traditional breakfasts. While Up&Go can be high in added sugars, a breakfast comprised of natural foods is likely to contain less added sugar, benefiting overall glycemic control and weight management.

To provide a more analytical perspective, let's consider a typical comparison:

Nutritional Element Up&Go (Typical Serving) Traditional Breakfast (e.g., Oats, Milk, Banana & Almonds)
Calories Approx. 200-250 kcal Approx. 300-400 kcal
Protein 7-12 g 10-15 g
Fiber 3-4 g 5-7 g
Added Sugars 10-20 g 0-5 g (excluding natural sugars from fruit)
Vitamins & Minerals Fortified amounts vary Naturally occurring, amounts vary
Fats 3-5 g 10-15 g (primarily healthful fats)

It's worth noting that individual dietary requirements can significantly affect which option might be better for a person. Nevertheless, whole foods typically provide a wider range of nutrients and promote longer satiety, which could lead to better health outcomes in the long term. Despite this, Up&Go may still serve as an acceptable on-the-go alternative for those without the time for a traditional breakfast—provided it is not the sole dietary staple and is included within a balanced diet.

Sugar Content in Up&Go and Its Health Implications

Up&Go breakfast drinks have gained popularity for their convenience and claims of providing a nutritious start to the day. However, the sugar content in these beverages is a point of concern for many health-conscious consumers. It's essential to peel back the label and understand what kind of sugars are present, how much is in a serving, and what potential health effects this could have.

First, it's important to distinguish between the types of sugars found in Up&Go drinks. There are generally two kinds: naturally occurring sugars, like those found in milk, and added sugars, which are added during processing. Up&Go products typically contain both, and the amount of added sugars can significantly impact nutritional quality.

The nutritional information on Up&Go packaging indicates that a single 250ml serving contains approximately 19 grams of sugar. To put this in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends that men limit their intake of added sugars to 36 grams per day and women 25 grams per day. Consuming a single Up&Go drink thus represents a substantial portion of this suggested daily limit.

Several health implications arise from consuming high-sugar products like Up&Go:

  • Weight Gain: Frequent consumption of high-sugar beverages can lead to an increased calorie intake and may contribute to unwanted weight gain and obesity.
  • Blood Sugar Spikes: A high intake of sugars may cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to energy crashes and potentially increased hunger soon after consumption.
  • Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Long-term consumption of sugary drinks has been linked with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Dental Health: Regular exposure to sugars can increase the risk of dental caries and tooth decay, as they are fermentable carbohydrates that bacteria in the mouth thrive on.

However, it's also critical to acknowledge that not all sugars have the same effect on the body. For instance, the natural sugars in milk come with other nutrients like protein and calcium, which may mediate some negative effects. In contrast, a high intake of added sugars, particularly those used to sweeten beverages like Up&Go, often offers no additional nutritional benefits and thus are more likely to contribute to the health issues mentioned above.

When examining scientific research, a 2016 study in The Lancet reported that for every 5% increase in a person's total energy intake provided by sweet drinks, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased by 18%. Further to this, the World Health Organization recommends reducing the intake of added sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake, based on evidence linking sugar consumption with obesity and tooth decay.

For those who enjoy Up&Go products, the key to consumption is moderation. Keeping track of how much sugar you're consuming throughout the day and understanding how this fits into a healthy dietary pattern is essential.

Additives and Preservatives in Up&Go: Are They Safe?

Up&Go drinks are popular for being a convenient breakfast option and claim to offer a nutritional profile similar to that of a bowl of cereal with milk. However, it's important to scrutinize the types of additives and preservatives found in these products to fully understand their impact on health.

Common additives in Up&Go products include various vitamins and minerals intended to fortify the drink and enhance its nutritional value. While these are generally safe and can help meet daily nutritional requirements, other additives warrant a closer look:

  • Thickeners: Such as guar gum or xanthan gum, are frequently used to improve the texture of Up&Go drinks. These are typically recognized as safe by food standards agencies, but excessive consumption may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort for some individuals.
  • Flavor enhancers: Artificial and natural flavors are added to mimic the taste of different cereal types. While the short-term consumption of artificial flavors is generally regarded as safe, long-term effects are not well-studied, and some may cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.
  • Preservatives: Ingredients like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate might be used to extend the shelf life of the drink. These preservatives are deemed safe by regulatory bodies at certain levels, but ongoing debate exists about potential health risks, especially when consumed in large quantities over time.
  • Emulsifiers: Compounds like soy lecithin are used to ensure the uniform mixture of oil and water-based ingredients. Generally recognized as safe, but some studies suggest a potential link between certain emulsifiers and gut inflammation.
  • Sweeteners: Up&Go might contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners like sucralose. While providing the desired sweetness, high sugar intake is associated with multiple health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, and artificial sweeteners might negatively impact the gut microbiome.
  • Color additives: Some varieties of Up&Go could include color additives to make the product more visually appealing. Whether these are artificial or derived from natural sources, they are usually safe for most people, yet some may experience allergic reactions or other sensitivities.

Here are some considerations regarding these additives:

Additive Type Commonly Used Potential Side Effects Recommendations
Thickeners Guar gum, Xanthan gum Gastrointestinal discomfort Moderate consumption
Flavor Enhancers Artificial and natural flavors Adverse reactions in sensitive individuals Prefer natural flavors where possible
Preservatives Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate Potential risks with high consumption Limited intake advised
Emulsifiers Soy lecithin Link to gut inflammation Monitor for digestive issues
Sweeteners Added sugars, Sucralose Obesity, diabetes, gut microbiome impact Limit sugars, be cautious with artificial sweeteners
Color Additives Artificial colors, Natural colors Allergic reactions Choose products with natural coloring

While many of these additives are approved for use and have been deemed safe in the amounts typically found in food products, individual sensitivities and the presence of multiple additives in a single product could compound potential adverse effects. It is always advisable to consume such products in moderation as part of a balanced diet and stay informed on the latest research concerning food additives and their long-term health implications. Remember, check the label, understand what you are consuming, and consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about food sensitivities or allergies.

Analyzing Protein Sources in Up&Go

Up&Go beverages are often marketed as a convenient breakfast alternative, targeting consumers who are seeking a quick, nutritious start to their day. Many of its health claims pivot on its protein content, which is a crucial nutrient for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function. But what is often overlooked is the source and quality of this protein.

Up&Go predominantly derives its protein content from dairy sources – typically skim milk powder and milk protein concentrate. Both are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs. The bioavailability of protein from these sources is generally high, which is beneficial for the body's uptake and use of the protein.

  • Skim Milk Powder: A by-product of removing water from non-fat milk, this powder is low in fat yet high in protein and calcium. However, it can be a concern for individuals with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.
  • Milk Protein Concentrate: Made by filtering milk to remove lactose, minerals, and water, concentrates can have protein contents ranging from 40% to 85%. They contain casein and whey, both of which are high-quality proteins but can also trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.

Protein from dairy can be advantageous, especially for an on-the-go product, providing a satiating effect and contributing to the maintenance of muscle mass. The quality of protein in Up&Go is generally considered high due to its complete amino acid profile and high digestibility. However, this primarily benefits those who can tolerate dairy.

For those who follow a vegan diet or have allergic reactions to dairy products, the protein sources in Up&Go products may not be suitable. This illustrates the importance of understanding food labels and recognizing that even products with beneficial health elements may not be universally compatible with all dietary needs.

To ensure the protein quality meets consumer needs, third-party analysis can be referenced, and dietary guidelines can provide additional insight. For example, the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score), which is a method of evaluating protein quality based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it, can be a useful tool when evaluating such products.

To conclude the analysis of protein sources in Up&Go, here's a snapshot:

Protein Source Complete Protein Considerations for Consumers
Skim Milk Powder Yes Lactose content, potential allergen
Milk Protein Concentrate Yes Varied protein content, casein and whey allergy concerns

While Up&Go might be a protein-rich option for many, it is crucial to analyze the specific sources of protein and consider individual dietary restrictions. Nutritional adequacy and the potential for allergic reactions should be weighed when choosing such convenience products for daily consumption.

The Role of Up&Go in a Balanced Diet

When considering breakfast alternatives that support a balanced diet, Up&Go appears as a popular choice for many seeking convenience and nutrition in a rush. This liquid breakfast claims to provide the protein, energy, and fiber of a cereal bowl in an on-the-go format. Let's unpack how Up&Go fits within the framework of a balanced diet.

Firstly, a balanced diet consists of a variety of foods necessary for providing all the nutrients our bodies need. These include carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming a range of foods helps maintain energy, improve mood, and decrease the risk of various health conditions.

  • Protein: An essential macro nutrient, protein is vital for muscle repair and growth. Up&Go is enriched with protein, making it a decent post-morning workout beverage.
  • Carbohydrates: As the body's primary energy source, it is essential to include healthy carbohydrates in our diet. Up&Go contains energy-boosting carbs that are designed to help you start the day.
  • Fiber: Fiber is crucial for digestive health. Up&Go contains prebiotic fiber, aiding in digestive wellness.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Up&Go comes fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, indicating an attempt to align with the nutrient content of a complete breakfast.

However, it's important to scrutinize the quality of these nutrients:

  • While Up&Go boasts protein content, it's essential to consider the source. Some Up&Go variants may use soy or dairy protein, which may not align with everyone's dietary preferences or restrictions.
  • Concerning carbohydrates, the type is as important as the amount. Up&Go contains sugars, which, when consumed excessively, can lead to health issues like weight gain and dental decay.
  • The fiber in Up&Go is beneficial, but the question remains if it is sufficient to meet daily fiber requirements when compared to whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • The bioavailability of fortified vitamins and minerals can vary and may not be as effectively absorbed by the body as those from natural food sources.

It is also critical to consider the potential presence of additives and preservatives, which can negatively impact some individuals, especially those with sensitivities or allergies.

Research into the health benefits of liquid breakfast options is ongoing. One study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that liquid meal replacements can support weight loss as part of a structured diet plan (Heymsfield, et al., 2018). However, relying solely on these products may not support long-term weight management or overall health.

In conclusion, while Up&Go can contribute to a balanced diet — particularly for those needing a quick meal that ticks off several nutritional boxes — it is essential to consider it as part of a larger dietary pattern, which should include a range of whole foods. Moderation, as with any processed product, is key. Additionally, checking with a healthcare provider or a dietitian is advisable to ensure that any meal replacement fits individual health goals and dietary needs.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, there are plant-based Up&Go alternatives that use soy protein and other dairy-free ingredients, catering to individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance. However, one should still review the nutritional content for added sugars, additives, and overall ingredient quality. It's advisable to compare with other vegan protein drink options or consult a healthcare provider for recommendations that align better with specific dietary needs and restrictions.

Up&Go liquid breakfast drinks can serve as an occasional quick meal substitute when solid food is not an option, providing a balance of macronutrients, fiber, and added vitamins and minerals. However, they should not be relied upon as a regular meal replacement due to their added sugars, presence of processed ingredients, and potential lack of variety in macro and micronutrients compared to whole food meals. Incorporating a range of whole foods into your diet ensures a broader spectrum of nutrients for optimal health. Always consult a dietitian or healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Up&Go liquid breakfast products contain both naturally occurring sugars, such as lactose from milk, and added sugars. While lactose comes with other nutrients like protein and calcium, added sugars offer no additional nutritional benefits and can be detrimental when consumed in excess. Typically, Up&Go drinks have higher total sugar content compared to plain milk due to these added sugars, potentially contributing to health issues over time if not consumed in moderation.

The fiber in Up&Go, often in the form of inulin or other added fibers, contributes to your daily intake, aiding digestion and satiety. However, it may not provide the same variety of benefits as the fiber from whole foods, which includes soluble and insoluble fibers from diverse sources like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These natural fibers contribute to a broader array of health outcomes, including improved gut health and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Ask a question about Up&Go and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • energy crashes
  • hunger spikes
  • adverse reactions in sensitive individuals

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of chronic diseases
  • dental health issues
  • potential gut inflammation

Ingredients to be aware of

  • added sugars
  • artificial sweeteners
  • preservatives
  • emulsifiers
  • flavorings
  • vegetable oils
  • color additives


  • moderate protein content
  • fortified with vitamins and minerals
  • contains fiber
  • convenient on-the-go option

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Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-25-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-25-2024

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