Coconut Water Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

coconutZICO, Harvest Bay, O.N.E., and even Rihanna's fave Vita Coco are among the coconut waters currently flooding (get it, ha ha) the market. You seriously cannot go anywhere without seeing the stuff, and if you've been in a Whole Foods anytime this summer, you've probably noticed some huge promotional display of one or the other. It's supposedly magic, this stuff. Naturally filled with electrolytes, like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate, coconut water is reportedly Mother Nature's answer to dehydration.

Still, the hype feels a little out of control. Nonetheless, I admit, my household has fallen prey to said hype. My boyfriend came home one day with a couple bottles of ZICO and reported that he likes coconut water. Apparently enough to spend $5 on two dinky bottles of the stuff. I initially figured it was no big deal -- in fact, it could be a lifesaver for him!

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See, he has a rare genetic disease called cystinuria, which affects his kidneys. And dehydration can really exacerbate symptoms. 

Fast forward a few weeks later ... the coconut water doesn't seem to be any kind of miracle drug for my honey. He said he really didn't feel much different after drinking it than when he drank regular water or, say, Gatorade, which has added electrolytes. Sure, coconut water beats that fake colored, fake sugar crap any day, but you could also buy SmartWater, which has added electrolytes.

What's more, the jury's out on whether or not most people even BENEFIT from electrolytes. I don't even know if my BF does, honestly, I just figured he's better off drinking something targeted at dehydration. But that probably doesn't even matter. I'm pretty sure his doc has said he's good as long as he's drinking fluids, period! That said, any kind of bonus from electrolytes seems like a lot of marketing brouhaha. Recent research has even shown two of three popular coconut water brands have significantly fewer electrolytes than they claim! Annoying!

But at least it's proof that this is another health trend we can dismiss. It's a shame it's not as tropical, exciting, or enticing, but when it comes to a drink that cures dehydration and bolsters your general well-being, seems plain ol' water does the trick just fine.

What do you think about coconut water?


Image via Chandrika Nair/Flickr

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