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.
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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."