Have you seen coconut water all over the place? It comes in cans, bottles and juice boxes and it’s become really popular recently. I even went to a lecture comparing it to Gatorade while I was at a conference last week. Now I’m a physiologist by training but I like to sneak into the nutrition lectures whenever I can, seeing as I love the subject so much.
I figured I’d do a little comparison here. For those of you with kiddos in sports, you know that they can really work hard during games and practices. Afterwards some of us (that includes me) reach for Gatorade as a sort of beneficial reward for swimming their little hearts out. But I might be changing course…
Ingredients in Gatorade:
Filtered Water, Brominated Vegetable Oil (BMV) Sucralose (if sugar-free), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural flavors, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Monopotassium Phosphate,Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin, Artificial Colors
Ingredients in Coconut water:
Filtered coconut water
If your on the less-ingredients-is-better boat like I am, then that’s a pretty startling comparison. Here’s how they compare nutritionally, via their nutrition labels.
What makes sports drinks special is that they have electrolytes, or salts. When people exercise, those electrolytes can be lost in sweat and leave you feeling run down. By drinking something that can recharge electrolyte stores, people feel better faster. The electrolytes here are sodium and potassium- check out how much more is in coconut water! Also coconut water has less sugar and more vitamins and minerals than Gatorade.
With no artificial ingredients, a better electrolyte profile, less sugar and more vitamins and minerals, I think coconut water is a better alternative.
Coconut water has an Earthy taste, its not too sweet and very flavorful. I love the stuff after a tough hike in the hot sun, but my kids are a little more wary.
Onto the next challenge, getting your kids on board.
Here’s a tip that works with my kids for sneaking in that coconut water goodness. Try freezing it in ice cubes, then adding it to a little juice as a homemade sports drink. As it melts it’ll flavor the juice and add great electrolytes and nutrients.