Coconut Water - All Hype and no Help?

What was once a little know treat is now turning up more frequently. Coconut water is being touted as the new, natural energy drink. Promotional images on company websites display runners, mountain bikers and other active individuals happily playing outdoors. Is coconut water a good substitute to sports drinks?

Coconut water is the clear liquid taken from the center of the coconut. It differs from the white coconut milk that is high calorie and fat and most often used in soups and curries. Coconut water is low in calories (50-60 calories per serving) and fat free with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate) and small amounts of many amino acids. It has a high amount of the electrolyte potassium, 15 times as much as the average sports drink. Sports drinks have been engineered to provide the body what it needs the most, sodium. It is our sodium levels that are most depleted after an intense workout.

Post workout is a key time to re-hydrate and rebuild fatigued muscles. Containing 95% water, coconut water will boost hydration levels. However it lacks protein, a key component of recovery. Coconut water fails to provide the recommended 15-17 grams of protein.

It is important to be vigilant about reading food labels. It is promoted that sugar has not been added. However the drink is not without sugar. The water naturally contains about 11-12 grams of sugar. Flavored varieties have additional quantities of sugar and more calories.

The price can also put a dent in your weekly budget. At $2 a bottle, the price of your weekly coconut water fix can get pricey very quickly. A glass of water and a banana will accomplish the same replenishing goals.

If coconut water is a treat that you like as a post run reward, then keep it in the mix. However if you are using it as the latest-and-greatest, get faster advantage, you are probably mislead. True, it is a more natural replacement to the brightly hued sports drinks. The lone ingredient is coconuts and that is refreshing in time where the ingredients list commonly extends beyond five ingredients.