Ocnutrition’s Blog

Coconut Water – Is It Nature’s Sports Drink?
November 10, 2010, 2:59 am
Filed under: General Nutrition, Sports Nutrition

Coconut water appears to be gaining popularity as an alternative to sports drinks.  But is this drink a good alternative? 

Coconut water is advertised as a great source of electrolytes, especially potassium.  In fact it typically provides 15 times the amount of potassium in a standard sports drink.  Though this sounds like an improvement, it may not be what an athlete needs for replenishment.  We do lose potassium and other electrolytes when we sweat, but our water and sodium losses are most significant.  

Coconut water is new to the market so there is limited research on its effectiveness as a sports drink.  Research on other drinks reveals that the optimal composition of an 8 ounce cup of sports drink is 10-18 grams of carbohydrate and at least 100 milligrams of sodium.  Popular brands like Gatorade meet these recommendations.  Coconut water, on the other hand, does not meet these recommendations.  An 8 ounce cup typically contains 9 grams of carbohydrate and about 30 milligrams of sodium.

Though the nutrient composition of coconut water appears similar to that of a sports drink, there are still shortcomings.  These deficiencies and their effects need to be researched before we can say whether or not coconut water is truly nature’s sports drink.  

This information was brought to you by OC Nutrition, Your Trusted Source for Health & Nutrition Advice, and Lauren Bernardo, CSULB Dietetic Intern.  OC Nutrition offers nutrition counseling services in Newport Beach, Irvine, Orange, Anaheim Hills, Chino, Glendora and Long Beach.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact:

Kristy L. Richardson, MS, MPH, RD, CSSD, CHES
Registered Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
(949) 933-6788

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