Yes, it's true - many specialty coffees and beverages contain sodium! You may be surprised at how many foods and beverages contain a significant amount of sodium. If you're on a low sodium diet, it's important that you be aware of "hidden" sodium in food and beverages.
Cup of coffee

Simply put – A satisfying cup of coffee and a sandwich or a snack could take you beyond even a healthy person’s recommended daily salt intake. Fortunately nutrition information – including sodium information is available on many fast food company’s websites.

Tim Hortons and McDonald’s provide excellent nutritional information on their websites. You can also find nutritional information online for Starbucks (beverages) and Second Cup.

If you have a heart or diabetes problem, high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease, monitoring your salt intake is not a choice so it’s worth taking a few minutes to check out these sites.

Remember your low sodium food limits?

Salt or no salt in your coffee?

It’s the last things you’d think of as you place your order. But before you ask for your next cup, remember that a healthy person shouldn’t consume more than 2,200 mg of sodium daily (that’s about one teaspoon). If you have heart problems or are diabetic, you’ve probably been advised to stick to a salt intake of around 1,500 mg.

Looking for a low sodium drink, lunch or snack? Look very closely!

Tim Horton’s
(mg of sodium)
Cappuccino – 140
Black coffee – 0
Iced chocolate latte – 380
Everything bagel – 1,840
Plain bagel – 2,350
Light plain cream cheese topping – 440
Plain cream cheese topping – 360
Chicken salad wrap snacker – 540
Blueberry bran muffin – 820

Whoah! Note that the plain cream cheese has 80 mg less salt than the light cream cheese! That is common – when the fat goes out of foods, flavor goes with it and the manufacturers often crank up the salt content to put some zing back in the food.

McDonald’s
Cappuccino, medium, 2% milk – 95
Black coffee – 10
McCafe(R) Coffee Iced Frappe, medium – 170
With whipped cream – 280
McChicken(R) sandwich – 790
Sweet Chili Signature McWrap(R) with grilled chicken – 960
Baked apple pie – 280

Second Cup
Cappuccino – 100
Caffe latte – 135
Classic hot chocolate – 250
Chillate – 230
Butter pecan latte – 100

Many foods contain salt naturally

Milk naturally contains 125 mg per cup.  There’s not much you can do about food that naturally contains salt, but it does still count as part of your daily salt intake. And milk is a contributor to the amount of salt in specialty coffees, since most contain milk or Soymilk.

So how can you enjoy your coffee shop and a low sodium diet?

What you have to be on guard for is added salt; not just what you might shake on your food, but the unexpected sources of salt in your diet.

Sodium in breadBread can be a huge contributor to your daily salt intake. One well known brand of frozen, ready to heat multigrain (so you’d think it would be healthier) bread contains 11% of your daily sodium allowance. And that’s in only 1/4 of a loaf – of a MINI baguette! And watch out for the portion size that the nutrition information is based on. Some packaged wraps provide the nutrition based, not on a whole piece – but on half! Keep an eye out for this kind of thing.

The trick is to be aware of what you are eating and drinking at all times. And if you want to indulge in the odd treat, do so in moderation – always trying to stay within your daily allowance – especially if you are on a low sodium diet.

Of course preparing our favourite beverage, sandwich or snack at home, where we control the ingredients makes things easier. My breakfast of a fresh orange, a bowl of porridge, a slice of low-sodium bread and natural peanut butter and a black coffee contributes only 8% of my daily low sodium food limit as a recovering heart-failure patient. If I have a salad for lunch with low-salt Swiss cheese in (Costco; only 2% of my Daily Value per slice) it and a salt-free dressing that my wife makes, I leave myself room for a little indulgence at an afternoon coffee house meeting. I might even go for that muffin!

I can tell you from my own personal experience –  if you’re on a low sodium diet and you take control of how you consume salt – you’ll feel better knowing your doing the right thing for your body – and, you may even learn to enjoy the real flavour of the food you’re eating, instead of just the salt.

So remember, if you’re on a low sodium diet, it’s important that you be aware of “hidden”, added salt in food and beverages. Read labels and look for nutrition information online.

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One thought on “If you’re on a low sodium diet, that specialty coffee may push you over your daily limit.

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