We’ve all heard the buzz lately about coconut water. According to this article, the sales of coconut water doubled in 2011 and are expected to hit $110 million this year. What is all of the buzz about? Should you be drinking coconut water?
I checked out the ZICO website to see their touted health claims. They highlight the amount of potassium, the variety of electrolytes and the lack of fat, cholesterol and added sugars. They even point to the fact that coconut water has been used intravenously to save lives.
Want my take? It is true that ZICO and other coconut waters have a variety of electrolytes, including sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, some of which we lose in sweat during vigorous exercise. Coconut water is also very high in potassium; one bottle of ZICO has 569 mg. The question is, do you need all of those electrolytes? If you spend less than 60-90 minutes exercising, you can likely do without. You should rehydrate with water and consume a balanced diet, which provides sufficient electrolytes. If you are exercising longer than 90 minutes, especially outside in the Texas heat, you may consider an electrolyte replacement and coconut water is definitely an option. Ounce for ounce, it is lower in calories and sugar than Gatorade and Powerade.
I was dying to know whether it can actually be used for IV rehydration so I dug a little deeper and found this article. Apparently it was used successfully once on an island for rehydration when nothing else was available, but it is not a great choice in place of normal IV solutions. It is important to note labeling laws are fairly lax and food/drink companies can make a variety of health claims with limited scientific backing. If you ever need help deciphering a nutrition label or health claim, reach out to me, I would love to help you out. Shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com