coconut water: is it just a fad?

coconut nut water just a fad

Whenever I hear anything related to the tropics, my ears immediately perk up. I love the beach, bananas – and yes - coconuts. I also love exercising and keeping up on the latest in health and nutrition. So coconut water has really caught my attention.

There’s a big buzz about this beverage – there are claims that coconut water can cure hangovers, cool body temperature, raise metabolism, boost the immune system and replenish fluids and electrolytes after exercising. Plus, celebrities such as Madonna are slurping away and investing in this tropical drink. What does this add up to? One hot commodity. According to the Associated Press, annual sales in the U.S. range from $40 to $60 million USD, and continue to grow.

But… buyer beware. Consuming coconut water will not turn you into the next Serena Williams or Michael Phelps. Nor will it prevent cancer. (According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, no major studies link coconut water to cancer prevention. Same goes for the hangover claim, although Charlie Duerr from Time Magazine found he did experience relief within an hour of drinking the beverage.

Now, the good news. According to research, coconut water may be a great natural alternative to sports drinks as it contains sodium, potassium and magnesium (electrolytes the body loses when it sweats). Additionally, it contains high levels of Vitamin C and is lower in sugar compared to other drinks.

Given all of my research and having tried coconut water on a casual basis (I’m not sure if I like the taste – more to come in my next blog!), I’m curious to see if it works for me as a sports drink replacement. Currently I’m training for the New York Marathon, and usually drink Gatorade during my long runs to maintain energy and rehydrate. During the next few weeks, I will drink coconut water instead. Stay tuned for Part Two to discover my results!

What are your thoughts on Coconut Water: is it a trend or here to stay?

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I’m not crazy about the taste of coconut water, but my family loves it. I would rather choose something natural over artificial sports drinks though. There is one coconut water that is mixed with guava juice. Pretty tasty!

Comment by Jill L. — August 11, 2010 @ 10:54 am

I’m not a fan of the taste either. I have finally found one I like. O.N.E. has coconut water with a splash of Passion Fruit that’s pretty good! I get hungover really easily and have tried it for that, but have never had success.

Comment by Amanda — August 11, 2010 @ 11:16 am

Just wrote about it on my blog yesterday!

Not a fan wither but i am going to try the flavored coconut milk before I write it off! :) Will be interesting to see Part 2.

Comment by Amy — August 11, 2010 @ 11:34 am

Well there you go. Hydration + electrolytes = hangover relief. Just as for pedialyte, sports drinks, etc.!

Comment by _MlleB — August 11, 2010 @ 11:41 am

Trend?! South-east Asians have been consuming this beverage forever!

Comment by Cathy — August 11, 2010 @ 11:42 am

I like to enjoy my drinks, sports drinks included – and Coconut Water isn’t pleasant to swallow. I think it’s a fad because there are too many celebrities walking around with it, but I’m really interested to hear how you go incorporating into your training.

Comment by Melissa — August 11, 2010 @ 11:42 am

Looking forward to part 2! Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Amber — August 11, 2010 @ 11:45 am

Almost anything will be better than Gatorade.

Comment by Brock Picken — August 11, 2010 @ 11:51 am

I personally love the taste of coconut water, and the fact that its all natural is a big plus. Dear author, drinks like Gatorade contain a ton of artificial and other sweeteners known to be harmful, including high fructose corn syrup. Its just not the best thing to consume, so coconut water is definitely a better alternative. Hope your marathon training goes well!

Comment by Salim — August 11, 2010 @ 11:53 am

I think this is something that might be an acquired taste. There’s a brand they carry in health food stores I don’t remember the name of, but it comes in a can with chunks. First time I tried one, I made it through three sips before I gave up. Huge fan now, but still unsure if they really live up to all the current hype. Can’t wait to see what your results are!

Comment by Julene — August 11, 2010 @ 11:56 am

i like the coconut water mixed with a little pinapple juice. but its hard to find in hawaii

Comment by maeg — August 11, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

Jennifer, it is the best you can get for refreshing, electrolytes, potassium (more than bananas), fat and cholestrol free, no added sugar or preservatives. I work out 8 times a week (bikram yoga, running, fitness) and don’t drink anything else!

Comment by Laura — August 11, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

Coconut water is a staple in my marathon training! Running my second marathon in October and I don’t know what I’d do with out it! I feel almost immediate relief after long runs. I also like to use it as my base in protein shakes. I usually save it for just after long runs since it is on the expensive side but I love it and will continue to buy it, fad or not!

Comment by Julie — August 11, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

I enjoy it best straight from the coconut or the brand O.N.E. Every store I walk into has displays full of coconut water now which I’m sure will change once marketers find the next trend to jump on.

Comment by Melanie — August 11, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

I am an endurance athlete training 15-20 hours per week. I need to take in 300-400 calories per hour as well as electrolytes while training and racing. Coconut water serves as the base to sports drink as it provides me both hydration as well as a tasty source of calories, sodium….. I doubt it is a fad, we have just caught on to something that has been used globally for a long time.

Comment by John — August 11, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

Great article Jen! I also was unsure of the taste at first but now I love it – it is my #1 fave for a refreshing summertime drink. Looking forward to your next post!

Comment by Alexis — August 11, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

I drink coconut water on a regular basis. I even tried buying my own young coconuts for awhile, but had trouble with opening even the supposedly “easy open” variety. I drink at least a couple every week and I’d drink them every day if they were a bit cheaper. I love the taste of them and don’t care for the flavored ones as much. I have used them as a sports drink replacement after spin class and have noticed *some* relief from hangovers. I think they’re great!

Comment by Nikoel — August 11, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

I drink coconut on a regular basis, as I practice Bikram yoga and sweat a ton! I get it in the small boxes, and Vita Coco has great flavors! (peach mango and pineapple are really great!) as I do not liek the taste of the regular coconut water. It is amazing, I cant do bikram without it!!!

Comment by Lindz — August 11, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

I don’t know if coconut water is a good replacement for sports drinks. I tried it on my last run and it didn’t help my legs at all. I think it’s because it simply doesn’t have enough calories. 12oz of Gatorade has 310 calories; 12oz of coconut water has like 70. That’s not enough fuel for an extended workout.

As far as electrolytes, it could be helpful… but it doesn’t have sodium in it, does it? So it’s not really a full electrolyte replacement.

However, I’m always looking for more good sources of potassium, so I do like using coconut water in my smoothies for the extra nutrition.

Comment by elaine! — August 11, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

I just started to use as a base in my protein shakes as well. I am also training for the NYC Marathon, and my stomach cannot handle the amount of sugar found in your typical sports drinks. Along with my protein powder, I mix in Chia seeds, and my Omega 3′s. I agree, since it is somewhat pricey, I use it only after long runs. I have only tried the ONE brand.

Comment by Dina — August 11, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

East Africans South-east Asians have been consuming this beverage since the dawn of time…lol……I love it and really miss it since the ones available here do no justice to the ones straight out of the coconut!

Comment by Shina — August 11, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

I prefer coconut water to the sugary drinks out there. I would try some of the flavored ones. I also don’t like the taste and I have discovered that passion fruit and guava are pretty good.

Comment by Linda — August 11, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

It is definitely trendy right now, but I would guess that the nutritional benefits to drinking a more natural liquid for recovery (if it truly does help with electrolyte replacement) may outweigh consuming drinks higher in unnatural sugars.

Great article!

Comment by Shane — August 11, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

Started using coconut water over a year ago for my runs and bike rides and love it. Definitely prefer it over the sugary sports drinks. I usually get the ones mixed with pineapple juice or passion fruit.

Comment by Lyn — August 11, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

I love the Vital Coco drinks! The Vital drinks come in three flavors, plain coconut, coconut and pineapple, and coconut and mango juice so I can always switch it up after a hot yoga session. My son actually is starting to drink them during football practices as well! You may enjoy this brand if you can find it at your local stores.

Comment by sarah — August 11, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

I have been drinking coconut water (NOT THE MILK)even before I was born in the Caribbean, great for birthing mothers to help build lauric acids, naturally found in mother’s milk. After drinking it all my life & tracing the ever evolving trend or fab as you put it I have been hunting for answers. The truth is it is not a trend and it is a really GREAT for u in many ways. For one its a isotonic drink. Completely natural no preserves or additives & most important no added sugar.
Please do your own research & enjoy the natural wonders of the tree of life. Thanks for sharing!!

Comment by Jonathan-Escucha — August 11, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

I use coconut water diluted a little bit as the base for my smoothies. And it IS a good hangover cure, especially in smoothie form.

Comment by mel — August 11, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

I love coconut water and have been drinking it all my life. If you’ve been anywhere tropical, be it the Caribbean or parts of Asia, you’ll see people drinking it right out of the coconut, especially the young coconuts. So there must be some truth to its benefits. It’s also very refreshing on a hot hot day!!!

Comment by Sheila — August 11, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

I’ve been drinking coconut water for 4-5 years. I started drinking in Brazil, straight from the coconut, on the beach after a typical Brazilian night out. Definitely great for a hang-over! I used it all last summer/fall training for my fall marathon and then for Boston. I find it easier to digest than Gatorade. My stomach reacts badly to a lot of the typical training foods/drinks b/c of the added sugar. Plus, I love the taste so it’s my drink of preference when training.

Comment by meghan — August 11, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

The first time I had coconut water was in Thailand, I actually craved it ever day. I am glad that it is easily available in the states now. I only like the plain coconut water and prefer it right out of the coconut when I can. It’s very refreshing after a work out. There is certainly no silver bullet to cure everything, I think it’s part of an overall healthy diet.

Comment by Augusta — August 11, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

I just tried it for the first time yesterday. The teacher in my Bikram class recommended it. I had been getting a headache after class once in a while and decided to give it a try. I drank my normal amount of smart water before and during class. When I got home I drank a small box of the Vita Coconut water and I felt great. The taste is something you can get used to and I did not get a headache last night. I bought more today and plan to use it after Bikram and maybe in smoothies as other have mentioned. Looking forward to part 2.

Comment by Kim — August 11, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

I have never tasted it before, but heard that you either love it or hate the taste.

Comment by Jaime Runs — August 11, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

Very true with all the benefits for drinking coconut water especially young coconuts… very refreshing after yoga practice and healthy as it is a cleanser for the body…I am lucky to drink it fresh as we have some trees in our backyard…and how lucky my students as well as I give em fresh coconut water after a 90minute asthanga yoga…good reward they deserve!

Comment by SEN — August 11, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

I’m going to have to try this as I don’t like the taste of Gatorade or all the artificial crap it has in it.

Comment by Alana — August 11, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

Thank you for your report on Coconut water.

Coconut water is not a fad. When I returned home to Hopkins, Belize over a year ago my wife and I were thrilled to not have to buy coconut water. The coconut trees were lined up in front of our beach house.

I would pull a few down to fill up our jug and have it chilled and ready to drink after my early morning beach runs.

When pick young, coconut water feels so good going down and there is no acquired taste. So my guess is that you drank one that was either way to young, to old of if bought in the store had sugar added.

Maybe you ought to come to hopkins, belize where we drink coconut water out of the coconut….aaaaaah! refreshing…the best natural hydration

Comment by Dorman — August 12, 2010 @ 5:22 am

I got in love with this product during my last trip to Brazil.. I don’t know why, but over there is always fresh and taste better.. And it really does help to keep your body hydrate when you spend too much time on the beach. However, for hangover, there is nothing better than security feel better, the french anti-hangover drink.. :)

Comment by Kenneth Miller — August 12, 2010 @ 8:34 am

Coconut water in the bottles/cans, not my favorite taste. Cut a fresh one open and its unreal! Its very important to know how long the coconut has been sitting around after being picked. A real fresh coconut is a much better source than any neon colored drink that is very un natural. Salt and water is a great choice, Celtic sea salt only!

Comment by Mikey — August 12, 2010 @ 8:36 am

Whether you like the taste or not, health-wise, coconut water is worlds better for you than Gatorade, which is filled with all kinds of unnatural ingredients and artificial coloring. I don’t understand why someone who is conscious about health/fitness would put that crap into their body! To be fair though, Gatorade recently stopped using high fructose corn syrup in favor of a sucrose-dextrose mix. It’s still pretty high on the glycemic index though.

Comment by Analiese — August 13, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

The only hard part about replacing gataorade with coconut water in training is the number or carbohydrates you need to maintain performance so I supplement it with something with some calories especially for longer workouts like marathon training.

Comment by Snowygrl — August 13, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

how about some replies from real islanders for a true comment, is it or is’nt it let’s fess up. n edmon please reply 08/14/20

Comment by edmon — August 17, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

i’m from malaysia and people in south east asia have been consuming young coconut water for a long, long time. we usually drink it fresh from the fruit itself!

for me, it’s a choice drink in hot and humid days. provides instant hydration and oh so refreshing! in malaysia, it’s common to drink young coconut water when one has fever. it helps to bring down the temperature.

Comment by rachel — August 27, 2010 @ 11:04 am

How could something that’s so good for you be “just a fad”? Cocount water is amazing, it’s been getting a lot of celebrity attention lately which I think is misleading people into thinking it’s just a bunch of hype, but the stuff is really great for you!! I’ve tried many different brands of 100% coconut water, but Vita Coco is my favorite.

Comment by Corie — September 27, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

I have tried consuming coconut water every morning and night, and have been a distance runner for years. I also have low blood sugar and would get light headed easily after a long day or would pass out when hung over. Coconut water is the one thing that has helped my feel better. Drinking it just after running or when you are hungover won’t magically make you feel better. Incorporating it into your diet and staying hydrated prior to a night out or working out might leave you feeling better later.

Comment by Kristin — December 4, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

Give Dr. Tim’s ISO-5 Coconut Water a try, its great stuff. You can learn more about it at It is formulated with the athlete in mind, unlike most coconut water drinks that are pretty heavy.

Comment by Scott — January 25, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

I have been drinking coconut water for years. i had bought in an asian foodstore just because i loved the taste and found it so refreshing…then i researched the nutrion and discovered the amazing benefits. i could never drink things like gatorade…it always felt like a was putting something toxic in my body, and made me so thirsty from all of the sugar that i wondered why anyone would drink this for rehydration. one cup of coconut water provides the body with more potassium that bananas and restore electrolytes far better than and of these chemical sports drinks. for long distance runners, to acquire the caloric equivalent needed, simply mix some natural fruit juice such as mango or pineapple in with a cup of coconut water…or bring a handful of dried fruit like papaya or banana with you for less weight. just be careful, because some of the cheaper more mass produced cans of coconut waters have additives and sugar. unfortunately we don’t have coconut trees in montreal…that would be awesome to have access to fresh coconut water:) happy workouts!

Comment by Carolyn — January 26, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

Coconut water is amazing. At first taste coconut water is not what you would consider to be a “sport-freindly” drink. It is heavy and does not sit well in your stomach. The taste is raw and somewhat challening beyond a few recreational sips. I tried alot of the brands and they all tasted the same so I thought I would be done trying to force this drink into my routine, healthy or not. But then I ran across ISO-5 by Dr. Tim’s Juices. They have alot of real sports players, professional and amatuer claiming great things about it including the flavor. I bought some at Albertson’s in southern Utah where I go mountain biking in the winter. By the way, southern Utah is a great place with Zion’s national park and Vegas close by. Anyway, this Iso-5 tasted amazing. It wasn’t heavy like the others and I could really feel something when I drank it. It made me feel better. I am now back home and unfortunately they don’t sell it around here, so I buy it online until it comes to my stores.

Comment by T — January 28, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

I add it to my smoothies instead of water or sugary juices and it’s great!

Comment by Leah — February 3, 2011 @ 5:21 am

I play basketball 5 days a week. I drink Coconut Water all the time. Stop buying the over priced stuff u guys!
Go to Costco, u can get a case of Sun Tropics 100% pure coconut water ,no additives. and its cheap. I also buy a few cases. I mix it with vega sport.

Comment by Ty — April 7, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

Coconut is not a fad anymore for a long time. Even in my state people eat coconuts daily. And i mention that my state is one a bit poor.

Comment by David — April 13, 2011 @ 1:47 am

As long as the coconut water you drink is REALLY cold any brand will taste delicious !

Comment by Laura — May 15, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

When I was pregnant with my first child , I was so sick and the only liquid that would stay in my stomach was a cold fresh coconut. That it was miracle for me.

Comment by Erica — July 25, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

I had just heard some good things about coconut water, and picked up a couple of different brands at my local drugstore to try. I found one of them very refreshing and natural tasting, and delicious, the other had some additives and tasted a bit off to me. So I would say try a few out and check the labels carefully. The one I liked only had 30 calories, and totally refreshed and rehydrated. Cheers!

Comment by Chris — August 6, 2011 @ 7:13 am

yeah nothing beats the natural thing
here in the Philippines coconut water or as we locally call it “buko juice” is just an ordinary thing but most of us use it to cleanse our urinary tracts. and it really works

Comment by james — October 20, 2011 @ 1:15 am try reading this

Comment by james — October 20, 2011 @ 1:16 am

My wife and I are huge fans of coconut water and we both can easily go through a few cartons a day. Not only does it taste nice, it’s so good for your health.

Comment by Kent Heating Engineers — November 4, 2011 @ 5:44 am

I drink a bottle of electrolyte enhanced water from trader joes before and during class. It’s much cheaper than coconut water and no weird taste.

Comment by Leuk en lief — January 8, 2012 @ 11:10 am

I simply love the taste of coconut water especially when it comes from a freshly opened fruit. As an alternative, i like the Zico brand.

Comment by Paul Cortez — May 29, 2012 @ 8:07 am

Nirvana Coconut Water is a much much better tasting brand than most if not all other brands, in my opinion. It’s from a Thai coconut which is naturally sweeter than many others. I’ve tried so many brands and disliked all. In fact, I would not touch the stuff until someone had me try Nirvanna. You can purchase at Whole Foods or Amazon. It’s refreshing and fantastically hydrating after hours of exercise.

Comment by Sara — June 20, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Staying hydrated is one of your best defenses against aging to quickly. Drink up

Comment by Laura Williams — November 6, 2012 @ 9:14 am

Coconut water is much better than sports drinks that contain corn syrup, artificial ingredients, and more calories. As a suggestion, Pomegranate juice (organic and not diluted)is great for antioxidant protection if you have not tried it.

Comment by Julie Tackett — November 7, 2012 @ 11:30 am

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