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Salt Assault #6: Sonic

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A Sonic 6-inch Chicago Dog with medium Tots and a medium Diet Dr Pepper has 3,140 milligrams (mg) of sodium. That’s like swallowing one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt (in one sitting, no less).

The recommended daily salt limit for healthy adults is 2,300 mg of sodium, or about one teaspoon of salt.  However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults with prehypertension and hypertension (about two-thirds of all adults) would do well to limit their consumption to 1,500 mg per day.

This particular combo meal isn’t the only problem with Sonic—it’s the entire menu.  The sodium level for the typical combo meal1 is still high at 2,200 mg (nearly an entire day’s worth).

With three-quarters of Americans’ sodium intake coming from packaged and restaurant foods, there is limited choice at Sonic to consume lower sodium meals.  Sonic would do well to reduce the sodium of the offerings it serves to 3 million customers across the U.S. daily.  A reduction of 1,200 mg of sodium per day in the average American diet would save 44,000–92,000 lives and $10 billion–$24 billion in health care costs annually.

(1) A typical combo meal is the medium-sized combo meal with the median sodium value. Combos 1–19 (includes breakfast items) were included in the calculations. Sonic’s menu board was consulted to determine the appropriate sides and beverages to accompany each combo meal.


All Salt Assault reports are available here.