Liquid drawn from young coconuts, known as “coconut water,” is marketed as an excellent rehydration drink for endurance athletes. However, experts are now saying that it is no more beneficial than water, despite manufacturer claims of its superiority. While experts stress that coconut water is completely safe, hydration claims should be carefully evaluated. Coconut water was not found to contain high amounts of electrolytes, which are sodium compounds that are essential in the hydration process.
“They are certainly safe, but if you are counting on them for serious rehydration, you should either pick them very carefully or look elsewhere,” said Dr. Todd Cooperman of consumerlab.com, which investigates health claims of products such as vitamins.
“If you have water with some pretzels, you will get more sodium than with some of these products.”
A recent study analyzed the contents of coconut water, and researchers concluded that most coconut water products do not contain enough sodium and have far too much potassium. The right combination of sodium and potassium is needed to replenish lost electrolytes. Experts also urge consumers to choose products with no added sugar, and to read all product labeling carefully to ensure they’re getting what they think they’re paying for.
“Coconut water is not necessarily a better choice than regular water,” Dr. Todd Cooperman advises, “especially if you are trying to save money.”