Coconut Water

cocount waterWhy are they always handing out Coconut Water samples at pre race package pick up events and why would I want to drink it as an athlete?  Zico, O.N.E., Vita Coco and Nature Factor are a few brand names. They are heart healthy with 1/2 the calories of a can of soda pop, no fat or cholesterol and a heaping 720 mg of potassium.

Calories Carbohydrate Potassium Sodium
Banana + 8 ounce water 121 31 487 6
8 ounces Gatorade 50 14 30 110
8 ounces coconut water 43 10 480 70

Your goal as an athlete in an endurance competition is to consume:

  • 60 grams of carbohydrate/hour for events lasting 1-2.5 hours
  • 60-90 grams of carbohydrate/hour for events > 2.5 hours
  • 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes
  • Sodium loss varies based on activity. Example: 1-3 grams sodium loss for 60-120 minutes of high intensity, moderate duration activity.

Bottom Line:

During the race, coconut water is too light on carbohydrate and sodium to meet your energy and sweat needs.

Post race, it is still too light in both carbohydrate, sodium and protein to be used as a recovery drink.

Everyday hydration, coconut milk is pricey but may reduce muscle cramps, help regulate blood pressure and keep fluids topped off if you like the flavor and texture.

For more information check out this Runner’s World post on Coconut Water or this 1 minute humorous review “What’s In It: Coconut Water” from the New York Times.

Categories: Sports Nutrition

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