Excessive amounts of sodium in your diet will most likely send your blood pressure up, increasing your risk of heart disease over time. No matter which soft drink you turn to, though, regular or diet, you won’t get a lot of sodium. Just because sodas are low in sodium, however, doesn’t mean you should drink them regularly. Often they’re still full of empty calories from sugar, which eventually causes weight gain that can add stress on your heart.
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Colas and Pepper Flavors
The sodium level in regular colas is generally the same in both caffeinated and noncaffeinated varieties. Drinking a 12-ounce can of cola gives you around 12 milligrams of sodium. Low-calorie caffeinated diet colas can have up to 24 milligrams of sodium in 12 ounces. But usually noncaffeinated diet colas have about the same 12 milligrams of sodium as regular colas. Regular caffeinated pepper-type soft drinks have 36 milligrams of sodium in 12 ounces. If you prefer caffeinated low-calorie pepper-flavored soft drinks, you’ll get up to 60 milligrams of sodium, while noncaffeinated diet varieties have around 12 milligrams per 12-ounce serving.
Bubbly lemon-lime and other fruity soft drinks often have more sodium than most colas. If you drink 12 ounces of lemon-lime soda pop, you'll get about 36 milligrams of sodium. Orange sodas have closer to 50 milligrams per 12-ounce serving. If you prefer grape flavor, you’ll get around 60 milligrams of sodium in the same serving size.
Ginger ale is slightly lower in sodium than fruity soft drinks, giving you roughly 24 milligrams in a 12-ounce serving. Chocolate soda has half that amount for the same portion size. Cream soda and root beer are at the higher end for sodium content among sweet-flavored soft drinks. Twelve ounces of either of these soft drinks contain about 48 milligrams of sodium.
Whether you add soda water -- also known as club soda -- or tonic water to mixed drinks or sip them over ice, you’ll be getting more sodium than most other carbonated drinks. A 12-ounce can of soda water contains about 72 milligrams of sodium, while the same serving of tonic water has less than 50 milligrams of sodium
Your Sodium Allowance
You can have up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, as long as you’re healthy. So that 12-ounce can of cola represents less than 3 percent of your entire sodium allowance for the day. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, if you have kidney problems, diabetes or hypertension, or you are living with another chronic ailment, you should limit your daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams. If you are in this category, depending on which soft drink you choose, one can has up to 5 percent of your daily sodium allowance.