Research bite: Coconut water and hydration

In a recent trip to the States I was amazed at the amount of people consuming coconut water and the cost of it per can! It also seems this coconut craze is slowly diffusing over to New Zealand with it become more widely available and consumed. But what it is, and why are people drinking it?

For those who have not heard of coconut water, what we are talking about is the fluid that comes out from the centre of the coconut when it is broken open, opposed to the milk which is obtained from the grating and compressing of the flesh of the coconut. Producers of the product market it as a natural sports drink for gym bunnies and athletes.

But what does the research say?

A number of studies have compared coconut water against standard sports drink for hydration during and rehydration after exercise.

On a whole there is no difference between coconut water and a standard carbohydrate and sodium containing sport drink for hydration during or rehydration following exercise. So coconut water does stack up next to sports drinks.

If you are looking for a more natural sports drink or you really like the taste of coconut water, this could be the sports drink of choice for you, as long as you do not mind the price tag.

If you have any questions about the above topics or questions that you would like addressed in future articles feel free to contact me.

Kalman et al. Comparison of Coconut Water and Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Sport Drink on Measures of Hydration and Physical Performance in Exercise-trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition Vol. 9, No. 1, 2012.

Saat, et al. Rehydration After Exercise with Fresh Young Coconut Water, Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Beverage and Plain Water. Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science. Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 93 – 104, 2002.


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