Nutritionally, coconut water is OK, but is it healthier to stick to plain water? www.shutterstock.com
In recent years coconut water has left the palm-treed shores of tropical islands where tourists on lounge chairs stick straws straight into the fruit, and exploded onto supermarket shelves – helped along by beverage giants such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Marketed as a natural health drink, brands spout various health claims promoting coconut water. So before we drank the Kool-Aid, we thought we’d check in with the experts whether the nutritional claims stack up. Is coconut water part of a healthy diet or we should just stick to good old water?
We asked five experts if coconut water is good for you.
Four out of five experts said no
Here are their detailed responses:
About the Experts
Alessandro R Demaio trained and worked as a medical doctor at The Alfred Hospital in Australia. While practising as a doctor he completed a Master in Public Health including fieldwork to prevent diabetes through Buddhist Wats in Cambodia. In 2010, he relocated to Denmark where he completed a PhD with the University of Copenhagen, focusing on noncommunicable diseases. His doctoral research was based in Mongolia, working with the Ministry of Health. He designed, led and reported a national epidemiological survey, sampling more than 3500 households. Sandro held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School from 2013 to 2015, and was assistant professor and course director in global health at the Copenhagen School of Global Health, in Denmark. He established and led the PLOS blog Global Health, and served on the founding Advisory Board of the EAT Foundation: the global, multistakeholder platform for food, health and environmental sustainability.
Clare Collins is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an NHMRC Senior Research and Gladys M Brawn Research Fellow. She has received research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Meat and Livestock Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nib foundation, Rijk Zwaan Australia and Greater Charitable Foundation. She has consulted to SHINE Australia, Novo Nordisk, Quality Bakers, the Sax Institute and the ABC. She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and the Heart Foundation evidence reviews on meat and dietary patterns.
Emma Beckett is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia, Australian Institute for Food Science and Technology. Her research is funded by the NHMRC and AMP Foundation. She has previously consulted for Kellogg’s.
Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM is an independent nutritionist, lecturer and author, currently interested in sustainable food for the future. She is the author of many scientific papers, over 3500 articles on nutrition and 33 books, including nutrition textbooks and several books that have analysed and rated popular diets. She is also a member of NHMRCs Dietary Guidelines Working Committee.
Rebecca Reynolds is a registered nutritionist and the owner of The Real Bok Choy, a nutrition and lifestyle consultancy. She is a regular consultant to the media regarding nutrition and health. She is passionate about balance and evidence-based practice. Her current research includes: orthorexia nervosa, eating disorders, eating psychology, obesity prevention and treatment, weight management, health promotion, physical activity public health and chronic disease management.
About the Author