The coconut water debate

When I used to do hot yoga, the drink du jour was coconut water.  It’s supposed to replenish those electrolytes that you’ve lost through sweating in a 40c room with 40+ other yogis…but does it?

There’s been a bit of debate on this, there are claims that it is a natural isotonic drink and gives us the same benefits as a formulated sports drink, including the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, but as nature intended.

As well as being a post-workout thirst buster, it has been said to aid weight loss because of its low fat qualities, clear up and tone skin, good for hangovers, digestion and reduces blood pressure among other benefits.  So is it true? Can drinking coconut water really do all of these things?  The natural properties in coconut water can aid in replenishing fluids and was actually used as a rehydration fluid for a cholera outbreak in the Pacific Ocean atoll of Tarawa, Gilbert Islands in the late 70s, however, was found in tests at the time to be deficient in sodium, chloride and bicarbonate when tested against other oral rehydration fluids used for the effective treatment of cholera.

The argument against is that although coconut water is great and does contain all the goodness as claimed above, it’s not the go-to super rehydration drink that it’s hyped up to be. For example, if you were an elite athlete or someone who does a lot of sport, in order to replenish the sodium lost you’d have to drink a lot of coconut water, which can give you a laxative effect.  In fact, some say that it’s no better than drinking a sports drink or better still, good old water.

In 2012, Vita Coco had to pay out large sums of cash for misleading nutritional claims of their product, but for me, I like the taste, think it’s a great natural rehydration boost and I’m still going to drink it (in moderation of course!) along with good old H2O.


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