Lately coconut water has gone from a drink individuals solely loved straight from the nut itself on seashore holidays to 1 discovered on the cabinets of each grocery store. We’re going to humbly counsel that’s not as a result of it tastes incredible, as a result of coconut water’s flavour is greatest described as divisive, or acquired.
Coconut water’s recognition is as a substitute largely based mostly on its widely-trumpeted hydrating properties. In case you’re a health fiend bored with glugging down water and sports activities drinks, you could have in all probability thought of coconut water instead possibility.
However is it as much as snuff as an hydrating sports activities drink? Coach requested sports activities vitamin professional Anita Bean for the low-down. We’re obligation certain to inform you 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?
By way of dietary composition coconut water can formally be labelled as “low calorie”, as a result of it accommodates 18 energy per 100ml – EU laws states that something lower than 20 is low calorie. It additionally accommodates 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 suggests it accommodates the identical variety of dissolved substances as physique fluid, so it may be absorbed extra quickly than water.
It accommodates potassium – lots of people say it’s completely filled with potassium, however truly in line with EU laws it doesn’t fairly attain the standards [to be considered high in potassium]. But it surely does include potassium – 100ml gives 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 style as a sports activities drink – throughout and after train for rehydrating – nevertheless it hasn’t been extensively researched. There have solely been handful of research, and many of the analysis was initially finished in Malaysia, probably 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 12 months did an analogous 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 fee and efficiency as they did a brief biking time trial. There was no distinction in hydration or efficiency.
The science is kind of constant, and fairly clear that it’s simply nearly 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, actually 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 will’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 accommodates carbohydrates and sugars. The sugar content material is kind 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 produce sugars and sodium, however you don’t really want the sodium until your sweat losses are very excessive. The overall 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 shedding sufficient sodium. Sports activities drinks are extra useful when train lasts longer than about two hours, or when exercising very intensely, or should you’re sweating very closely. If it’s lower than that we will rehydrate with water, or coconut water.
Lots of people additionally don’t like the thought of sports activities drinks, as a result of they see them as a really processed drink and the elements embody synthetic sweeteners, preservatives, colors. It’s the components individuals fear about. The fantastic 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.
If you’re 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 advocate.
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 prime marathon runners is to drink when thirsty. However in case you are 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 might be high-quality for 45 minutes to an hour. However the recommendation is principally to drink when thirsty.