Phosphorus in Drinks: According to Dietitian

If you are reading this, you might be wondering what makes your phosphorus level high? You are in the right place because I will be discussing phosphorus in drinks.

As a dietitian, I often dig deep into my patients daily eating routine and discover that the highest phosphorus intake in their diet are in their drinks.

Makes sense right? Drinks are easier and smoother going into our body. It does not take long until it shows up in the blood.

What drinks are low in phosphorus? 

Do all soft drinks have phosphorus?

The answer and MORE is here.

Sodas and Phosphorus

Sodas, especially Coke and Pepsi are notorious for their high phosphorus content.

Why are sodas high in phosphorus? Because they contain additives such as Phosphoric Acids. 

These phosphorus additives are HIGHLY absorbable because they are not in natural forms. 

Why is it so important to limit phosphorus in kidney disease? This is because high phosphorus will damage our bones and may lead to kidney stones.

High Phosphorus Drinks

Is soda high in phosphorus? Not a surprise that Colas and Pepsi are HIGH in Phosphorus. But, what other drinks that are dangerously high in phosphorus?

When I counsel patients, food is always one of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about high phosphorus. Often, this is not true. 

Drinks and Snacks are actually the trigger for high phosphorus levels in the blood.

In my experience, (and this is varied by the patients), high phosphorus drinks come not only from Coke and Pepsi. 

How much phosphorus in Pepsi or coke?

In general, sodas and other sweetened beverage intake should be limited to less than 12 ounces per day.

12 Fluid Ounces Coca-Cola has about 50 mg of Phosphorus. Which is not bad if you are on a renal diet with 800 mg to 1000 mg of phosphorus allowance per day.

BUT, remember that all things have Phosphorus! Phosphorus is naturally found in many foods and BEVERAGES such as dairy products, nuts, beans, sports drinks, teas and soft drinks.

50 mg seems harmless, but it can easily add up because this will not be the only thing you put in your body in a day.

I would recommend for you to avoid Coke, or other drinks that contain phosphorus additives, especially if you have kidney problems.

Are Phosphorus additives safe?

Phosphorus minerals in the form of phosphoric acid, monopotassium phosphate or other forms of phosphorus may affect your bone health.

Too much phosphorus in people with kidney problems or kidney injury is lowering your calcium level. And you don’t want to do that since you want to keep every bone in your body AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE.

5 High Phosphorus Drink To Avoid:

-Milo or Ovaltine – From Eat This Much, Milo contains 380 mg of phosphorus. This is A LOT.

-Crystal Light-Classic Orange – Sounds harmless but this drink contains 100.5mg  phosphorus for every 8 fluid ounces. (USDA recommends only 9 mg of Phosphorus intake per 8 fluid ounces!) This is 10x more than the recommended value. This is MINDBLOWING.

-Starbucks Coffees (Caramel Macchiato or White Chocolate Drinks) – Contains mostly milk, and milk products, AND CHOCOLATE! These drinks are some of the worst to have when you try to control your phosphorus. Each drink contains OVER THAN 380 mg of Phosphorus per 12 fluid ounces.

-Beers/ Ales – Although beers or ales are not drastically adding value to your phosphorus level, each 12 fluid ounces serving contains moderately 20 mg to 50 mg of phosphorus.

Aquafina Flavorsplash Grape (I know! SHOCKING!) – According to Pepsico, Aquafina Grape flavor contains 190 mg of Phosphorus for every 20 fluid ounces, and that is ABOVE recommended Daily Value of USDA and should be avoided.

Low phosphorus drinks

Luckily, there are plenty of beverage options that are low in phosphorus.

My TOP 5 Low Phosphorus drinks are:

  1. Water- Plain old water is always best.
  2. Coffees. You can safely drink coffees (skip creamers all together or USE milk alternatives such as OAT milk or rice milk)
  3. Teas. Unsweetened teas, herbal teas, and natural no tea additives are best
  4. Sprite, Ginger ales or 7-UP. Clear colored sodas are safer than unnatural colored flavored drinks
  5. Homemade Smoothies. YUP! YOU can make your very own refreshing nutritious smoothies using berries, or other fruits (pineapples, apples, kale ) with milk alternatives (oat milk, rice milk, or water) and ice!

Sodas and Phosphorus Concern

Bottom line is sodas often contain phosphoric acid, which is used to give them their tangy flavor and to act as a preservative.

Too much phosphoric acid, often found in high quantities in sodas, has been associated with weakened bones, osteoporosis and tooth decay. 

Avoid dark sodas, and any energy drinks with phosphoric additives, especially if you have kidney problems, or on a renal diet.

Overall, enjoying clear color sodas in moderation is generally considered safe for most people.

Please consult with healthcare professionals such as your registered dietitian nutritionist for personalized dietary advice based on individual health conditions.

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