In recent times coconut water has gone from a drink folks solely loved straight from the nut itself on seaside holidays to 1 discovered on the cabinets of each grocery store. We’re going to humbly recommend that’s not as a result of it tastes incredible, as a result of coconut water’s flavour is finest described as divisive, or acquired.
Coconut water’s reputation is as a substitute largely primarily based on its widely-trumpeted hydrating properties. For those who’re a health fiend bored with glugging down water and sports activities drinks, you may have most likely thought of coconut water as a substitute choice.
However is it as much as snuff as an hydrating sports activities drink? Coach requested sports activities diet knowledgeable Anita Bean for the low-down. We’re responsibility sure to let you know that Bean is working with coconut water model Vita Coco, however we’ve all the time discovered her recommendation to be BS-free.
What are the dietary advantages of coconut water?
When it comes to dietary composition coconut water can formally be labelled as “low calorie”, as a result of it comprises 18 energy per 100ml – EU laws states that something lower than 20 is low calorie. It additionally comprises 4.5g of carbohydrate per 100ml, which is fairly just like most sports activities drinks, give or take. At that focus it’s isotonic, which implies it comprises the identical variety of dissolved substances as physique fluid, so it may be absorbed extra quickly than water.
It comprises potassium – lots of people say it’s completely full of potassium, however really based on EU laws it doesn’t fairly attain the standards [to be considered high in potassium]. But it surely does comprise potassium – 100ml offers 9% of your RDA. And the vitamin C content material is 18mg per 100g, which is 23% of RDA.
How does it stack up in opposition to water and sports activities drinks?
It may be utilized in the identical trend as a sports activities drink – throughout and after train for rehydrating – however it hasn’t been extensively researched. There have solely been handful of research, and a lot of the analysis was initially performed in Malaysia, essentially the most noteworthy in 2007 on a bunch of cyclists in a lab. They discovered that there was no distinction between the rehydrating potential of coconut water, sodium-enriched coconut water, water and sports activities drinks.
It’s solely very lately that scientists have checked out coconut water throughout train. A research carried out at Northumbria College and printed final yr did an identical factor, they gave a bunch of ten cyclists within the lab various kinds of drinks – water and coconut water – and measured varied parameters of their hydration, coronary heart charge and efficiency as they did a brief biking time trial. There was no distinction in hydration or efficiency.
The science is sort of constant, and fairly clear that it’s simply pretty much as good as water for hydrating throughout and after train.
There was additionally one research within the US in 2012 by the College of Memphis. Cyclists got 4 completely different drinks earlier than train, and once more their efficiency was measured. And – I’m going to say the identical factor – there was no distinction in rehydration or efficiency within the subsequent train that they carried out.
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The conclusion to all that’s that coconut water is as efficient as water and sports activities drinks when consumed earlier than, throughout and after train, definitely any train that lasts as much as an hour, which is typical for most individuals. It hasn’t been studied extensively throughout train that lasts longer than an hour, so we are able to’t actually say something about it.
Is coconut water extra like a sports activities drink or an electrolyte tab or drink?
It’s nearer to a sports activities drink, as a result of it comprises carbohydrates and sugars. The sugar content material is sort of just like most sports activities drinks.
Are there any key variations to sports activities drinks?
What I might say as a nutritionist is that sports activities drinks are designed to provide sugars and sodium, however you don’t really want the sodium until your sweat losses are very excessive. The final rule that sport scientists say is that in train lower than two hours lengthy, sweat losses aren’t actually excessive sufficient to require these drinks – you’re not dropping sufficient sodium. Sports activities drinks are extra helpful when train lasts longer than about two hours, or when exercising very intensely, or when you’re sweating very closely. If it’s lower than that we are able to rehydrate with water, or coconut water.
Lots of people additionally don’t like the concept of sports activities drinks, as a result of they see them as a really processed drink and the elements embrace synthetic sweeteners, preservatives, colors. It’s the components folks fear about. The great thing about coconut water is that it’s simply the juice of the coconut, it hasn’t been overly processed, which appeals to lots of people.
In case you are exercising for a very long time or very intensely, are you able to get the sodium you want by including a pinch of salt to coconut water?
Completely. It’s not obtainable commercially however that’s one thing that I can undoubtedly suggest.
How a lot do you could drink throughout or after train to remain hydrated?
There aren’t any strict guidelines for the way a lot to drink throughout train – the official recommendation we give out even to high marathon runners is to drink when thirsty. However if you’re exercising at a reasonably excessive depth the recommendation is someplace between 400ml and 800ml per hour. Vita Coco is available in 330ml cartons, so if somebody is exercising at a excessive depth then that will be high-quality for 45 minutes to an hour. However the recommendation is principally to drink when thirsty.