Coconut water: Loco for coco? You need to read this

Rihanna helped create a new tropical flavor of coconut water for Vita Coco, one of the brands that didn’t fare so well in the study. Maybe she should stick to making music.

If you rely on coconut water for hydration after a workout, or you just like to sip some as you go about your day, you may want to rethink your decision to do so: A new research study calls into question some popular claims by the leading manufacturers of the trendy beverage.

The researchers at ConsumerLab.com looked at levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium and sugar content in Zico Natural, Vita Coco and O.N.E. and found that only Zico Natural had the actual levels of each purported on its label.

Vita Coco and O.N.E. contained the sugar and potassium amounts advertised on their packaging, but the actual amount of sodium was less by as much as 82 percent, and the actual amount of magnesium was less by as much as 35 percent. Both sodium and magnesium play important roles in hydration.

“I like to recommend coconut water as a more natural alternative to sports drinks for serious athletes, so it was disappointing to see the results of the Consumer Lab study,” says “Today” show nutritionist Joy Bauer, author of “Joy Bauer’s Food Cures.” “For very serious athletes exercising several hours a day who are relying on these drinks to help them recover each day, a sports beverage with regulated amounts of electrolytes may be the best option. But for the rest of us nonathletes and casual exercisers who don’t need the extra carbs or electrolytes, plain old water is the best beverage for proper hydration. It is naturally calorie-free, sugar-free and sodium-free.”

Coconut water’s popularity led to the study, according to ConsumerLab.com president Tod Cooperman. “We wanted to know what was really in these products and if they lived up to their labels,” he told Metro.

Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithatMetro.


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