Coconut Water Is Not That Good For You

Coconut water is becoming increasingly visible as an alternative to sports drinks. However, an analysis by CHOICE suggests that the claimed benefits for coconut water are greatly exaggerated.

Picture by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images

You don't have to look too hard to find people gushing about the health impact of coconut water. "Coconut water is the purest liquid second only to water itself," says one typical (and entirely self-serving) site. "It is choc-full of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium; everything that is good for you for only around 60 calories per serve."

In reality, those claimed benefits are often exaggerated, according to an analysis performed by two nutritionists for CHOICE. "While coconut water does contain electrolytes and a small amount of carbohydrates, it's not specifically formulated in the same way a sports drink is for athletes and so it not the best way to recover lost fluids after intense exercise," CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just said in a statement announcing the study. Similarly, while there are trace amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium, you can get those from many other sources.

"If you like the taste of coconut water and you’re happy to pay for it, you’re not doing yourself any harm," Just said. "But if you’re drinking it for health benefits, you’ll save money and be better off drinking plain water and eating a good range of fruit and vegetables."



    Waste of time reading this. No nutritional reading information here.


    I'd never heard of Coconut water two days ago, now it seems like I can't get away from it!

      My cousin is a personal trainer, who clocks up about $2000 as week after tax.

      He spends about $800 a week on supplements, including this new fad.

      I personally don't care about the benefits or lack thereof - if stupid people want to spend their money on it then so be it - let people be themselves.

        /My sister is so so kewl. She is a and she clocks up $3000 a week after tax. /


          I don't think he was suggesting his cousin is cool for clearing 2 grand a week. He was having a go at his cousin spending 40% of his income on 'supplements', including coconut water.

    Nothing is an alternative to healthy eating and water but nothing wrong with coconut water/juice as a drink esp. with its good taste and nonalcoholic. Most things in moderation is fine. enjoy it if you like ths taste.

    Point of the article is in regards to its use as a sports drink, not for enjoying the taste

    No link to this supposed study. Stay classy San Diego. If you're not playing an intense sport like NRL, Football or AFL, A full afternoon Cricked match or competing in an intense competition like 12km+ marathons or Pentathlons and the like (and no a 12k walk doesn't count - just drink water if you walked for any 'marathon' walking distance) you don't need a sports drink. Period. In every other case, like indoor soccer, indoor cricket, etc, water(or coconut water, since that's the point of the article) are leagues ahead of a sports drink because you just plain didn't exert yourself to the point where you need to replace fluids. Show me someone at a 30 minute indoor soccer match who needs to replace all their electrolytes and I'll eat my words. But CHOICE are just giving some free advertising to gatorade, way to go, idiots. Next up - "Protein from food is exceedingly useless for building strength and muscle compared to twice daily whey protein shakes!"

      ^ This guy (or girl... KJ doesn't seem gender specific)

        Agreed! I go on 100km+ bike rides for 3hours+ and my drink of choice is nothing more than very dilute orange juice with a pinch of salt. No need for the expensive marketing crap.

          I go on 100km+ bike rides for 5 hours (clearly I am not nearly as fit or you!) or 150km rides for 8 hours and I DEFINITELY do better with a PowerAde at the midpoint and the end, than without it.

            MMM! pure corn syrup water! You must healthy inside Barb. Im sure your Pwerade is much better than eating properly for the energy.

      Sorry, but any physical activity will require you to replace fluids. If you sweat, you are losing fluid that needs to be replaced.

      Also, the electrolytes in sports drinks are not only there to "replace all their electrolytes". The right amount of electrolytes (like in a sports drink) means the fluid is absorbed directly through the stomach. Plain water is only absorbed lower in the GIT so takes longer to have an effect.

        I'm a guy, Aman :)

        Butfli, of course you need to replace fluids. And water does quite a solid job of it. I don't want to be overly hyperbolic about this, because there's a place for sports drinks, but water really does do quite a solid job of replacing fluids for the majority of physical activity that regular people partake in. If you run a half marathon, sure go have have a sports drink if you think you need it, if you walk a 12km, you're probably better off having water (without over-consuming in either case). If sports drinks were so incredibly necessary for electrolytes and hydration then surely most armies worldwide would be issuing Gatorade just-add-water mixes in their rations (as far as I'm aware... they don't..) - that's being a hyperbolic, i suppose... though it seems entirely logical considering you're saying that if you sweat you need a sports drink.

        Water is a pretty damn solid choice for nearly every occasion, it's only been our drink of choice for like forever.

          The military don't issue Gatorade just-add-water mixes in their ration due to the cost involved. Water is cheaper and at the end of the day The Militaries equipment is supplied by the lowest bidder.

            That really only helps my point. Sports drinks are a high cost replacement for something equally effective. By extension coconut water is also a high cost replacement too, with roughly half the sugar content. CHOICE have done a disservice to everyone who slavishly eats their every word by effectively saying "buy sports drink, it's better for you when doing exercise". Sucks for someone who's idea of exercise is a power walk and doesn't need that sugar spike to replace the nothing much that they used and doesn't know it.

            Buy Brawndo, it's got electrolytes.

            I'm done on thins now I think..

              I think the real question is: why would anyone take (that sort of) advice from Choice these days anyway?

                I used to respect choice, but I've read too much now in their analysis of many things that seems so biased and reads like they were paid by someone to write a marketing campaign. Choice it would really be nice if you got back to doing fair unbiased reports. It used to be a good service to the general public. Now very few of us believe you.

      We totally agree. Do the workout, then do the analysis. For us gatorade and the like taste awful and don't give the same fluid/energy replacement as water or coconut water. Go the natural way any day.

    If you want calcium, potassium and magnesium in your drink then turn on a tap that's hooked up to a bore water system. Living in far west NSW for a time I went through 3-4 kettles every 12 months. The elements are absolutely coated in minerals and burn out every few months.

    Sports drinks are a waste of time as well. Drink water and eat well. That's it.

    “Coconut water is the purest liquid second only to water itself,”
    + “It is choc-full of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium;

    How can you take anything seriously when it contradicts itself so readily?

    i would much rather drink something that is natural (I buy Young Thai Coconuts), than something is man-made and has been linked to other sorts of problems (Energy Drinks).

    Mind you, I drink for the taste, not because it's 'good for me'.

      Sports drinks and energy drinks are not the same thing.

      Couldn't agree more. We do dancesport, and anyone who's danced an all day competition knows that's not easy work. We've tried both and coconut water is definitely better for reviving us half way through than either water or so called sports drinks. Proof is in the way your body feels. Did these nutritionists do a full on workout, were they already addicted to sports drinks? You have to have a good workout and be hot and thirsty before you see the benefits. We just love the taste, but there are some awful ones out there, so bad that I wouldn't drink them.

    When in Asia Coconut water direct from coconuts is very much safer than the tap water

    Just keep in mind a lot of the 'research' surrounding sports drinks is dubious as well. The article needs more details before anyone draws analysis either way.

      this analysis was done by CHOICE, an independent consumer guide.

    Young coconut juice is delicious (not that species with green outsides, that one tastes really terrible for some reason). I doubt it's that good for you though.

    Is Gizmodo now sponsored by Gatorade or Powerade? :-)

    With PNG backgrounds we grew up drinking the stuff, it's awesome, even eating the young coconut flesh. Plus it's awesome that it can be used as a intravenous drip.

      Obvious sponsorship. That's why the last line is "you’ll save money and be better off drinking plain water and eating a good range of fruit and vegetables", because Gatorade and Powerade make their money selling plain water, fruit and vegetables.

    Thought the same thing. Who was the sponsor, Gatorade?

    Not to mention almost all coconut water drinks taste like crap.

      Maybe you don't like the flavour of coconut, or maybe you got the wrong brand. Some really do taste rancid. We drink heaps of coconut water and love it. Try coconut groove if you didn't like the taste and still want to give it a try. It is different and it is good. I definitely agree some coconut water does taste like crap.

    I own all the coconuts in the world and I don't advertise in Gizmo.

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