Study Pits Coconut Water vs. Sports Drinks

August 24, 2012

2 Min Read
Study Pits Coconut Water vs. Sports Drinks

PHILADELPHIARecent research from Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, Ind., as noted in a recent release, investigated the benefits of drinking coconut water vs. popular sports beverages Gatorade and Powerade for athletes. The findings were presented during the recent National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more, said Chhandashri Bhattacharya, Ph.D., lecturer in chemistry, Natural Sciences, Indiana University Southeast, and lead researcher on this project. It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you to get rid of the cramps. Its a healthy drink that replenishes the nutrients that your body has lost during a moderate workout.

Bhattacharya also notes that coconut water is a healthful choice for non-athletes due to its high potassium contenta mineral generally deficient in the typical American diet, which skews toward higher levels of sodium, creating an unhealthy imbalance. Analysis has shown that a 12-oz. serving of coconut water has more potassium than a banana. Coconut water is also high in antioxidants.

The researchers found that the coconut water contained up to 1,500 mg per liter of potassium, compared to up to 300 mg per liter for Powerade and Gatorade. Coconut water, however, had 400 mg per liter of sodium compared to 600 for the other two drinks. Magnesium and carbohydrate levels were comparable for all three beverages.

Although this lower level of sodium might initially appear attractiveconsidering the high levels of sodium present in most American dietsthis is not the case for athletes engaging in strenuous exercise. Sodium is depleted through sweating during exercise and must be replaced. Formulators designing sports beverages based on coconut water, therefore, often add sodium to compensate for this deficiency.

However, plain coconut water, sourced from young, green coconuts, is recommended for light to moderate exercise.

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