Coconut Water: It’s been called “nature’s sport drink” thanks to its isotonic solution that’s low in calories (about 60-90 calories per serving), fat-free, and low-cholesterol.
But, does it have the superpowers that marketers have given it?
According to Forbes.com, “While coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, and fat and cholesterol free, the evidence that it is actually better than plain water for simple hydration is unfortunately lacking.
Compared to typical sports drinks, coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium, but higher amounts of potassium. While coconut water typically has less sugar than sports drinks, it also has much less sugar than regular sodas or fruit juices.
Plain coconut waters can be an ideal beverage for those who are looking for a drink that is less sweet than soda or juice, but the calories can add up if you are not careful.”
What do the Experts Say?
“Staying hydrated is one of the most important things for recreational and professional athletes. And if the taste of coconut water helps you drink plenty of fluids, it is a fine choice for most people but may not be for those in prolonged physical activity.
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in potassium, which is not exactly what athletes need when exercising rigorously, says Clark.
“Whether you choose a sports drink, coconut water, or plain water, they all work to keep your body hydrated. The challenge is when you exercise strenuously for more than three hours in the heat and lose lots of body fluids, you need easily absorbed carbs for quick energy and to replace lost electrolytes like sodium and potassium,” Clark says.
Neither coconut water nor sports drinks contain enough sodium or carbs for the heavy perspirer. “Supplement with a quick source of energy like a banana or some raisins and a handful of pretzels to provide nutrients to replenish your stores,” Clark says.
Recovery starts before exercise begins. “Most people don’t need to worry about calories, potassium, or sodium. Eat a bagel with peanut butter to get food into your system before and drink plenty of water during exercise,” Clark says. If you exercise for prolonged periods, she suggests eating salty pretzels and raisins or other portable sources of energy.”
Our verdict? For the average person, i.e. those who work out one hour per day or less, plain old water is suffice. If you want to spend the extra cash on coconut water, it certainly won’t hurt you, but the benefits will be negligible. Watch the ingredients to make sure there isn’t added sugars and empty calories and try not to go overboard as coconut water is not calorie free.
If you are a serious athlete and workout several hours per day, coconut water is a good idea to help supplement lost electrolytes, but as stated above, you will need more than just coconut water to replace what is lost.
What do you think? Do you use coconut water to keep you hydrated?
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