Phosphorus is an essential dietary mineral found in many foods such as milk, meat, fish, eggs, cereals and bread. Some soft drinks also contain phosphorus but in smaller amounts than in most other foods. For example, a cup of milk contains 250 mg of phosphorus while a 12-ounce can of Pepsi contains just over 50 mg. For perspective, the Reference Daily Intake for phosphorus set by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is 1000 mg per day.

Why is there phosphorus in soft drinks?

The phosphorus found in some soft drinks comes from phosphoric acid, an ingredient used to provide tartness. Since very small amounts of phosphoric acid are used, the amount of phosphorus in our products is low. Importantly, phosphorus levels in soft drinks are well within the Reference Daily Intake amounts set by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are safe for consumption by people of all ages.

How does phosphorus affect bone health?

Science tells us that we need a balanced intake of calcium and phosphorus as well as other vitamins and minerals for optimum bone health. However, the low levels of phosphorus in soft drinks are not adequate to meet your daily phosphorus needs. For more information about balancing calcium and phosphorus for bone health you can download the Surgeon General's Report on Osteoporosis and Bone Health from the National Institutes of Health.

Phosphorus Comparison

Note: The phosphorus information shown here might not be displayed on the package label. It is provided here and in the More Information chart on each product page for your convenience. If it is only displayed in the comparison charts and nutrition downloads available on this site if it is displayed on the package label.


Product Name
Package Size
(Serving Size Shown)
(mg / %DV per serving)
% DV
Serving Size Phosphorus
per serving (mg)
Yogurt, plain nonfat 8 oz 385
Fish - salmon, cooked 3 oz 252
Milk, skim 8 fl oz 247
Fish - halibut, cooked 3 oz 242
Lentils, cooked 1/2 cup 178
Beef, cooked 3 oz 173
Turkey, cooked 3 oz 173
Chicken, cooked 3 oz 155
Almonds 1 oz 134
Cheese, mozzarella (part skim) 1 oz 131
Eggs, cooked 1 large 104
Peanuts 1 oz 107
Bread, whole wheat 1 slice 57
Carbonated cola drink 8 fl oz 35
Bread, enriched white 1 slice 25

The Oregon State University Nutrition Information Center