Another lawsuit filed against a food manufacturer for bogus health claims ended recently with in a settlement. Vita Coco, a brand of coconut water that is supposedly “super hydrating,” ”nutrient packed” and “super water”, could not support these claims scientifically.
The manufacturer, All Market Inc., agreed to pay up to $5 million in refunds AND to change its labeling in order to reflect more accurately the electrolyte levels and nutrients in the beverage.
What exactly is coconut water, and are there any real health benefits?
What you need to know:
Coconut water is the clear liquid inside a coconut. It is not to be confused with coconut milk or cream, which is a liquid puree of the coconut meat. Coconut water is extracted from young, green coconuts, when the proportion of water to meat is highest.
The drink is very popular in central and south America, the Pacific Islands, and other tropical regions. Fresh coconut water is served directly from the fruit by cracking a small hole on top for the insertion of a straw.
In recent years, coconut water has caught on strongly here in the US, with several popular brands being distributed in large metro areas. The packaging is no longer a coconut though.
Coconut water is actually a juice containing a small amount of natural sugars and other nutrients. A single cup serving of coconut water contains 45 calories, 2.5 teaspoons of sugar, zero fat, and 500mg of potassium (similar to a banana). The various brands of coconut water tout themselves as all-natural energy drinks. They listing health benefits such as alkaline balance, kidney cleansing, and others. Some brands, like Vita Coco, also add vitamin C (probably for its preservative qualities as Ascorbic Acid).
Whether all the health benefits mentioned above are true or not, coconut water sure beats Gatorade – less ingredients, less chemicals (colorings), and less sugar. But water trumps them both – for most people. Unless you are working out for more than an hour, water and and a banana will do you just as good as any coconut water drink. So pay no attention to the marketing claims by company A or company B. The truth is always much less sexy.
To see the grades of various Coconut Waters on Fooducate – CLICK HERE.
What to do at the supermarket:
Tap water trumps all for hydration. If you want a sweet treat that is slightly exotic – check out coconut water.