High Sodium Drinks to Avoid

Newsflash! Many of our favorite drinks contain sodium, even water. Here are a few high sodium drinks to look out for before you raise a glass.

Vegetable juice in two glasses, surrounded by vegetables

When you think of a low sodium lifestyle, you might not immediately think your beverage choices are something you need to consider, but there is sodium in some of our favorite drinks. While sodium levels in most drinking water are minimal – most contain less than 20 mg of sodium per liter (33.8 ounces) – other beverages contain more than you might expect. If you’re watching your sodium intake, every mg counts. You should check the nutrition label of everything you eat and drink to ensure it works with your sodium intake limits, but these common beverages are often high sodium, so drink them with care.

Vegetable Juice

Vegetable juice is often promoted as a healthy way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, but a 12-oz serving of original V8 Vegetable Juice contains 960 mg of sodium. If you’re on a 1500 mg per day sodium plan, one serving of V8 would be more than half your daily allowance. For my low sodium husband, that would replace two meals!

Luckily, V8 does offer a low sodium vegetable juice that contains 96 mg sodium per 5.5-oz serving if you enjoy an occasional vegetable juice drink.

Sports Drinks & Other Rehydration Drinks

two plastic bottles of energy drinks, one blue and one yellow

Sports drinks help maintain and restore hydration after a workout or other strenuous activities. Sodium is added to these drinks because it makes you want to drink more and helps the body retain fluid, both of which are important for rehydration. People who don’t have a sodium-restrictive health issue can typically drink sports drinks without a problem. If you’re watching your sodium intake, drinking a 20-oz bottle of Gatorade, which can contain more than 250 mg, can be problematic. 

It’s important to read the labels before drinking because, even within brands, sodium content can vary. While you may be able to tolerate a bottle of Gatorade occasionally, Gatorade Gatorlyte Electrolyte Strawberry Kiwi Beverage, a rapid rehydration drink, contains 490 mg of sodium in a 20-oz bottle.

Other rehydration drinks, like Pedialyte products, can also be high in sodium. Pedialyte was created to keep babies from becoming dehydrated when they were sick. The brand has expanded to include electrolyte solution drinks and powders to help adults avoid dehydration. A one-liter bottle of Unflavored Classic Pedialyte contains 370 mg sodium per 12-oz serving.

Hot Cocoa Mix Packets

If you enjoy a cozy mug of hot chocolate made from instant hot chocolate packets, check the labels before buying the hot cocoa mix. As with many processed foods, sodium is often added to these mixes to add flavor. One packet of Nestle Hot Cocoa Rich Milk Chocolate contains 190 mg of sodium when mixed with 6 oz water, and a packet of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix Milk Chocolate with water is 170 mg of sodium. These are low enough that with some planning and adjusting your sodium intake throughout the day, you may enjoy them without trouble, but be mindful if you’re tempted to have multiple servings. 

If you’re a hot chocolate fan and can’t go a winter day without it, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix contains zero sodium, so you can cozy up with a hot mug as often as you wish! 

Blue mug filled with hot chocolate on a white table wrapped with a blue scarf

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks are another sodium source you might need to consider as you’re tallying your daily sodium intake. They’re not typically high in sodium – the average soft drink contains about 30-50 mg per serving – but I’ve included them here because if you’re drinking multiple cans or bottles daily, those numbers can add up. A 20-oz bottle of Sprite contains 110 mg of sodium, and while one bottle might not be problematic, people who consume two or more bottles daily should be including those mg in their daily sodium intake.

High Sodium Drinks FAQs

Why is there so much sodium in some drinks?

Sodium is added to beverages for many reasons. It’s used, much like it is in processed foods, to add flavor and as a preservative. The higher sodium content can increase the shelf life of food and drinks, giving retailers more time to sell them. This also allows consumers to keep the products in their homes longer before consuming them.

Why is too much sodium bad for you?

Your body needs some sodium to function correctly, but if you are dealing with certain medical conditions, too much sodium can cause problems. When you consume too much, your body tries to dilute the excess sodium by directing more fluid into your bloodstream. Your heart must work harder to pump the excess fluid through your body. This strains your heart and blood vessels and can cause high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can overwork essential organs like your heart, kidneys, arteries, and brain. This can eventually lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, dementia, or heart failure. You can learn more about why too much sodium is bad for your heart here. Watch the web story here.

Have questions about high sodium drinks?

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5 Comments

    • Hi Cindy,
      I’m working on a post that will include more options, but here are a few brands of hot chocolate that have zero sodium. I hope this helps!

      Ghirardelli Double Cocoa Hot Cocoa Mix
      Godiva Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
      Starbucks Classic Hot Cocoa

  1. My friend is very very low in sodium so what kind of drinks are high in sodium that will help her bring her levels up?

    • Hi Lynette, any of the drinks listed in this post are higher in sodium, but she should ask her doctor or nutritionist for their recommendations. Thanks for visiting!

  2. ***BUYER BEWARE!!! Bai just changed their formula on the cherry and other flavors and INCREASED SODIUM from 10mg to 115 mg!!!! More MALIC ACID too, so that’s definitely not appreciated! At same time, they shrunk the bottle size from 18 oz to 14 oz! I will NEVER buy Bai again as long as I live! It also tastes terrible now, so no big loss! They are crazy to think people will pay $10 a pack for this garbage!! I returned mine for a refund!! This was a DIRTY, criminal move that is not appreciated at all!! I have been a faithful customer for over 10 years and they will surely go out of business with this move. They must have been bought out. Sell outs!!

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