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Nature Wins Again: Coconut Water vs. Sports Drinks!

by Matthew Monarch, March, 2015
The Raw Food World


Me and my family drink coconut water continually on an ongoing basis along with vegetable juices.  I feel that these are the cleanest most organic form of liquid, which also supply the human body with microscopic atoms and molecules of nutrition that our bodies are starving for.  Refined sugar and processed starches clog up the body, while this type of nourishment regenerates it.

Coconut water has been growing popularity over the past decade due to its nutrient composition and ability to hydrate the body.  Unaltered coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young, greed coconut.  Many advertisements claim coconut water to have the same effects or better than sports drinks. (1)  Coconut water sales in the U.S. have jumped from $ 4 million dollars to $40-$60 million dollars annually in the past five years.  (2)

Sports drinks contain high amounts of salts, high fructose corn syrup or chemical sweeteners!

From 2008 to 2013, 49.93 million people were regularly consuming sports drinks. (3)  This has caused concern for many nutritional experts due to the amount of salt and high fructose corn syrup that are found in these beverages.  If your sports drink does not contain high fructose corn syrup it most likely contains a low or no calorie chemical sugar substitute.  (1)

coconut waterHow does coconut water actually compare?  Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and has been used as an intravenous fluid when managing remote medical emergencies and famine.  It has also been used to help those who are struggling with severe dehydration associated with diarrhea.  Coconut water is low acidic and has no added sugar. (1)

Coconut water contains five electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. There is more potassium in coconut water than found in one banana or 15 sports drinks!  Sports drinks contain four times the amount of sodium than fresh coconut water,  and have little to no magnesium, calcium or phosphorus.  Many athletes are turning away from Gatorade or other sports drinks and turning to coconut water! (1)

Commercial brands are not the same as fresh coconut water, but still better than consuming soda or sports drinks!

A study tested the effects of sports drinks, Vita Coco Coconut water and plain water for rehydration of 12 men following a 60 minute treadmill workout.  The study concluded that all beverages were capable of promoting rehydration.  The study found minimal difference between the three beverages in this sample size.  (4)

It's important to consider that commercial brands sold in the U.S. have a potassium content similar to that coming straight from the coconut, but the sodium content is much lower, averaging 35-60 mg per eight ounces.  Gatorade has 70 calories, 19 gram of carbs, 154 mg sodium and 42 mg potassium per serving.  The commercial brands are not going to show the same results as fresh coconut water when it comes to rehydration due to the lower sodium levels. (2)

As spring and summer begin to approach, consider drinking coconut water over sports drinks.  If you do not have access to fresh coconuts, commercial brands of coconut water contain no artificial sugars, dyes or corn syrup making this a much better alternative to commercial sports drinks. 

  1. http://huffinesinstitute.org/resources/articles/articletype/articleview/articleid/446/natures-gatorade-effectiveness-of-coconut-water-on-electrolyte-and-carbohydrate-replacement
  2. http://healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/articles/nutrition/Coconut%20water%20-%20Is%20it%20really%20natures%20sport%20drink.html
  3. http://www.statista.com/statistics/228202/sports-drinks-consumption-usa/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22257640

Matt Monarch has been at the forefront of the Raw Foods Movement for over 15 years. He has worked with numerous clients, celebrities, nutritionists and doctors over the years, and has studied all of the alternative diets on the market today. He travels worldwide teaching about healthy eating and healing from degenerative diseases. Matt shares many different methods to help people heal, whether they want to follow a strict 100% Raw Food Diet or choose a simple cooked Whole Foods Diet. He runs one of the leading raw food websites, The Raw Food World.



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* RawFoodLife.com does not offer medical advice or "treatments." I believe your body has the inner wisdom to naturally achieve optimal health and heal itself when supported with a diet of whole, live raw foods. If you have any medical conditions or questions, please ask your health professional to review the extensive information & research on the web and this site before making any major lifestyle or dietary changes. Click Here to read more.

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