Does Coconut Water contain Electrolytes and Sugar?

We take a science-based look at Coconut Water, and whether it delivers on many of the claims made about it

Coconut Water Electrolytes
Coconut Water is a popular healthy drink Photo: Adobe Stock

Coconut Water seems to be all the rage these days, with many people choosing to consume it as an alternative to sports rehydration drinks.

You’ve no doubt already heard all about Coconut Water and its supposed benefits when it comes to hydration and other things.

But is Coconut Water a good source of Electrolytes, and does it contain much Sugar?

If you’re asking those questions, then you’ve landed on the right page.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed and evidence-based look at Coconut Water from all angles.

We’re going to assess the Electrolyte and Sugar content of Coconut Water, and also take a close look at some of the other benefits associated with this popular health drink.

We’re going to break this post into the following sections:

• What is Coconut Water?
• Does Coconut Water contain Electrolytes?
• Does Coconut Water contain Sugar?
• Other Coconut Water benefits
• Anything else to consider?
• Conclusion

So, with the introductions over, let’s start taking a closer look at the science behind Coconut Water in a bit more detail.

What is Coconut Water?

You probably already know about the basics to do with Coconut Water, but let’s cover the facts before getting into the details.

Simply put, Coconut Water is the clear liquid found inside green, immature coconuts.

Generally speaking, younger coconuts are used for their water because it is easier to access by cutting off the softer shell.

Coconut Water is not to be confused with Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk, both of which are made from the actual flesh of the coconut.

As well as being able to access Coconut Water directly from a fresh coconut, you can also buy branded forms of it in supermarkets.

So, now that we’ve covered the basic facts about Coconut Water, it’s time to start taking a look at its nutritional content.

Does Coconut Water contain Electrolytes?

Now it’s time to take a look at Coconut Water’s Electrolyte content.

Electrolytes are simply minerals found naturally in your body’s fluids. You lose Electrolytes when fluids leave your body, such as when you sweat.

In case you didn’t already know, Coconut Water is sometimes touted as an alternative for sports drinks.

That’s because it contains the Electrolytes Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.

Coconut Water is an especially good source of Potassium. The water in one Coconut is estimated to contain around 515mg of Potassium, which is more than is usually found in one medium sized Banana.

So what about the evidence about the potential benefits of consuming Coconut Water to help with rehydration around exercise?

It’s often an ingredient in some of the leading pre workout supplements (usually in powder form) because of its touted benefits related to exercise performance.

The simple fact of the matter is that despite plenty of claims, there is not much evidence to suggest that drinking Coconut Water could improve athletic performance any more than drinking plain water.

One study from 2012 found that Coconut Water could help to rehydrate in a similar way to some commercial sports drinks.

However, on the other hand, another study from 2017 found that Coconut Water did not improve markers of hydration when compared with water alone.

Therefore, there is not enough evidence to suggest that Coconut Water is any better than normal water at helping with hydration or athletic performance.

Coconut Water Sunset

Photo: Adobe Stock

That being said, the first study referenced above does conclude that Coconut Water is able to promote rehydration and support subsequent exercise – just not any more so than plain water.

Does Coconut Water contain Sugar?

So, does Coconut Water contain Sugar? The simple answer to this question is yes.

According to the BBC, you can expect to find around 2.7mg of Sugar in 100ml of fresh coconut water extracted from the nut.

The thing to bear in mind here is that some of the branded versions of Coconut Water that you find in stores and supermarkets often have added Sugar or Sweeteners.

For that reason, you should always carefully check the label of any Coconut Water product that you are buying from a shop.

Other Coconut Water benefits

Coconut Water has been linked to plenty of other potential health benefits.

As we covered above, Coconut Water is a good source of Potassium.

As well as supporting a healthy heart and good muscular function, Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure in this study from 2006.

What about Coconut Water and its potential to lower Cholesterol?

There have been some studies in rats which suggest that consuming Coconut Water may help to lower Cholesterol.

However, there isn’t much evidence in humans to back this up, so we cannot draw a conclusion about this claim at this stage.

Anything else to consider?

As always, your first priority should be to make sure that you’re sticking to a healthy, balanced diet, are getting plenty of rest, and are exercising regularly.

Just like with all healthy foods, you should focus on balance and variety.

Coconut Water may be a healthier alternative to sugary or fizzy drinks and sodas.

However, there is not much evidence to suggest that it could be better for you than drinking plain old boring water.

As always, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor before thinking about any kind of supplementation.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our detailed look at Coconut Water.

We’ve looked at its Electrolyte content, how much sugar it contains and also examined some of the other potential benefits and myths surrounding this increasingly popular drink.

In summary, Coconut Water could be a decent alternative to sugary sports drinks, but there is insufficient evidence to suggest that it helps with hydration or improves exercise performance any more than normal water.

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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge

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This article was last updated on December 04, 2018.
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