When it comes to drinks, most people focus on the calories and sugar but not really the sodium numbers. It's equally important to be concerned with daily sodium intake because too much salt intake can lead to high blood pressure which can then lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.
Health experts recommend 1,100 - 3,300 mg of sodium per day for healthy adults. Your average American consumes 2,300 to 6,900 mg per day.
I was on the McDonald's website looking for sodium information for some food stuff but and then happened to look at sodium numbers in the drink section, and was surprised to see that plain old 1% milk has almost 50X the amount of sodium as a regular Coke. (Based on serving size, you have to almost double the servings of milk to be about equivalent with the Coke.)
And interestingly, milk has almost the same amount of sugar as the Coke...the number is only roughly 5g lower. And chocolate milk, holey cow, the equivalent serving size of Coke gives you almost 50g vs. 29g of sugar, and nearly 300g vs. 5g of sodium.
Clearly, in this comparison, Coke is nutritionally better than chocolate milk. How scary is that...because on common sense alone most of us would assume that milk is healthier than soda. Well, no it isn't if you look at these numbers.
It's stunning! Just to give you a little sodium perspective, a 1 oz (28g) serving of Lay's Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips has 110 mg of sodium. The jug of plain 1% milk has more sodium than potato chips.
I was also surprised to see that Diet Coke has 3X the amount of sodium as Regular Coke. There may be 0 calories, but there is triple the amount of sodium.
Out of all the McDonald's drinks, the best of the choices sodium wise was the Minute Maid Apple Juice and a 12oz cup of Iced Tea which has 0 calories, 5mg sodium, and 0 sugar.
Next time you're ordering drinks, be conscious of the sodium content as well.
Note: all drink images copyright belong to McDonald's