Coconut Water vs. Sports Drinks: How Do They Compare

Coconut Water vs Gatorade

The main difference between coconut water and gatorade is that gatorade contains no sugar or other sweeteners while coconut water contains sucralose (Splenda). Sucralose is a synthetic chemical which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. It was banned from use in food products due to its carcinogenic properties.

Gatorade also contains artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These ingredients are not found in coconut water.

In addition, gatorade contains caffeine which may increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine is known to affect the nervous system and cause anxiety. Some studies have linked high levels of caffeine consumption with increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and even suicide.

Other research suggests that moderate amounts of coffee drinking may lower the risk of some types of cancers such as colon cancer and liver cancer.

While coconut water contains zero calories, it is low in sodium and potassium. Both of these minerals are vital for good health. Sodium helps regulate fluid balance in the body; potassium aids in muscle contraction and energy production.

A diet high in salt may lead to hypertension, heart failure, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and stroke. Including coconut water as part of your daily diet will not have a significant impact on your need for salt or potassium.

It is important to know that the body only needs small amounts of sodium and potassium, while larger amounts may actually be dangerous. If you increase your intake of coconut water to include all your water needs, you may exceed the tolerable upper limit (UL) of sodium. This may lead to symptoms such as high blood pressure, swelling, and even death.

Coconut Water vs. Sports Drinks: How Do They Compare - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Not to worry though, because the average person will not consume enough coconut water in a day to cause any of these symptoms. For most people, standard coconut water (not flavored or enhanced) only contains about 100-200mg of sodium per cup. This is far less than the daily recommended value for salt which is 2400mg.

Most people do not need to worry about salt in their diets unless they have been told by a doctor or dietitian that they are at risk for heart disease or high blood pressure. If you have been told by a doctor or dietitian that you are at risk for heart disease or high blood pressure, consult with them before increasing your intake of coconut water as part of your daily diet.

Most people need to worry more about the amount of potassium they consume rather than sodium. The average person will not consume enough coconut water in a day to cause any problems with potassium unless they have a specific disease which prevents them from excreting potassium properly. If you are unsure of whether or not you fall into this category, contact your physician.

Some studies have shown that too much potassium in the diet can lead to negative health effects such as stomach irritation and even death. The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for potassium is set at 4700 mg per day. This is the equivalent to about 8 cups of coconut water.

Drinking this much coconut water on a regular basis may cause stomach pain, abdominal pains, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack.

If you suffer from any sort of serious disease which prevents your body from excreting potassium properly, you should not consume large quantities of coconut water. If you are unsure of whether or not this is the case, please seek the advice of your physician.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a low-sugar, low-calorie drink after your next workout, coconut water may be a good choice for you. Just remember to consume it in moderation!

We hope you found this article informative. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Sources & references used in this article:

Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men by DS Kalman, S Feldman, DR Krieger… – … Society of Sports Nutrition, 2012 – Springer

The comparison of commercially available coconut water, sports drink and plain water on rehydration and potential benefit for endurance based performance. by A Leishman – 2015 – theses.gla.ac.uk

Coconut water uses, composition and properties: a review by A Prades, M Dornier, N Diop, JP Pain – Fruits, 2012 – cambridge.org

Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water by M Saat, R Singh, RG Sirisinghe… – Journal of physiological …, 2002 – jstage.jst.go.jp

Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration by I Ismail, R Singh, RG Sirisinghe – … Asian journal of tropical medicine and …, 2007 – Citeseer

A multiparametric assay to compare the cytotoxicity of soy milk with different storage media by EJNL Silva, CB Rollemberg… – Dental …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

High pressure carbon dioxide pasteurization of coconut water: A sport drink with high nutritional and sensory quality by M Cappelletti, G Ferrentino, I Endrizzi, E Aprea… – Journal of Food …, 2015 – Elsevier

Preventing hyponatraemic dehydration in cystic fibrosis: a cautionary note to take coconut water with a pinch of salt by MAS de Melo, VF Passos, JPM Lima, SL Santiago… – Restorative dentistry & …, 2016

Improved exercise capacity in the heat followed by coconut water consumption by R Sayer, I Sinha, J Lowdon, J Panickar – Archives of disease in …, 2014 – adc.bmj.com