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The ads suggest coconut water is the perfect sports drink. What do ya' think?

 

Coconut water is marketed as being “100% pure” and “all natural.” Almost true. It has only two ingredients: coconut water (the watery liquid inside a green coconut) -- but also quite a bit of vitamin C that has been added to the drink. Not "all natural."

 

Coconut water is naturally rich in potassium (good) but has a high price tag (about $3 for a 17-ounce carton; bad).

 

Here’s how it compares (in portions commonly consumed by thirsty athletes) to Gatorade and orange juice:

 

Fluid

 

Serving size

 

Calories

 

Sodium

 

Potassium

 

Vitamin C

 

Coconut Water

(2 ingredients)

 

17-oz carton

 

90

 

60

 

1030

 

350% DV

(Fortified)

 

Gatorade

(12 ingredients)

 

20-ounce bottle

 

125

 

275

 

75

 

0%

 

Orange Juice

(1 ingredient)

 

16 ounces

 

220

 

0

 

900

 

100%

 

 

Because serious athletes have a higher need for sodium than potassium during sweaty exercise (and you will simply flush the excess vitamin C down the toilet), I’d suggest you choose a higher-sodium sports drink during endurance workouts and spend your money on orange juice and other natural foods afterwards. That is, unless you happen to prefer the taste and digestibility of coconut water, which research suggests is not always the case (1)

 

For more info on what to drink, check out the Fluids chapter in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

 

1) Kalman, D, S Feldman, DKrieger, R Bloomer. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolytesport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance inexercise-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012; 9:1

1,652 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: fluids, sodium, nancy_clark, potassium, sports_drink, orange_juice, coconut_water
Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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