Sodium – How Much Do You Need, and What Is Too Much?
Sodium, or the salt content, is one of the first things people check out when picking up their favorite food product or beverages. But why the obsession with sodium levels? The body needs sodium to function, conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax the muscles, and help the body maintain a proper balance of water and minerals. Sodium is also found in the water we drink in trace amounts, so it can’t be that bad, can it?
Well, we only need a small amount of sodium. Too much sodium in your diet messes with your blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and strokes. Excess sodium can also cause calcium losses, most of which will be pulled from your bones.
The Sodium In Beer – Is It Really That High?
Fortunately, when it comes to sodium, beer is not your enemy. A regular beer only contains 10 – 20 milligrams of sodium per 12 oz serving. Most soft drinks contain about four times that level of sodium, with 45 milligrams or more found in a similar serving of Pepsi or Root Beer.
To exceed that maximum recommended intake of 2300 mg of sodium, you would need to drink over 160 cans or bottles of beer (12 oz. servings) in a 24-hour period, which is likely impossible. Even if you are at risk of high blood pressure or heart disease and have been recommended to limit your sodium intake to less than 1500 milligrams of sodium, you would still need to drink about 100 beers in 12 oz servings to exceed that number.
That being said, remember that sodium is present in the other food products you consume, especially processed and canned foods, so it can all add up quickly.
Salt is the food product that most often contains the mineral sodium. It’s often referred to as sodium chloride as it’s made up of one atom of sodium and one atom of chlorine.
Sodium also occurs naturally in some foods as well as being added during manufacturing and packaging. Even the water profile used in the brewing process of beers will have a sodium content, with many bottles of natural mineral water now being labeled as “Low Sodium” for those concerned about their salt intake.
On the whole, about 70% of the sodium we intake comes from restaurant foods and the processed salty foods we consume. The rest of the sodium in your diet forms those minerals that occur naturally in food, approximately 15%. The rest is added when we are cooking or eating, i.e., using that salt shaker or adding MSG (monosodium glutamate) to a stir fry.
In the grand scheme of things, the sodium content in beer at 10 -20 milligrams per 12 oz serving is negligible. Overall, drinking one or two beers a day isn’t going to cause you to exceed the recommended maximum amount of sodium.