Coconut Water or Sports Drink?

Photo by soa2002 on Flickr


Nuts are good for you. Water is good for you. Ergo, coconut water is good for you. The math is pretty simple, even after a body-draining, mind-bending 1000 calorie workout, right? And it has to better for you than a sports drink made by man, right? Well… let’s not be too hasty.

According to a team from Indiana University Southeast, coconut water IS an excellent post-workout drink… for a light workout. It has lots of potassium, is low in carbs, low in calories, high in anti-oxidants. But there is one area in which it fails as an intense workout recovery drink, according to study author Chhandashri Bhattacharya, Ph.D. And that’s sodium.

An intense workout causes intense sweating, if you do it right. And when you sweat, you lose lots of salt. That’s where sports drinks come in. Sports drinks have up to 30% more sodium than coconut water, according to the study. A strenuous workout causes far more sodium loss than potassium loss, so the drink that replenishes your lost salt is probably your best bet.

So next time you stumble out of that bootcamp workout or bikram yoga class looking like you just took a bath in your workout gear, think about this when you reach for your hydration of choice. If you go for the sports drink, which is healthiest? Here’s a handy guide from Central Washington University.


Photo by soa2002 on Flickr