Coconut water may match carb-electrolyte sports beverage for rehydration

February 13, 2012

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that pure coconut water may be just as effective as coconut water from concentrate and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink at rehydrating after exercise.

The study included 12 exercise-trained men with an average age of 26 and assigned them to receive approximately 125% of the body mass loss of pure coconut water (VitaCoco), coconut water from concentrate, bottled water, or a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink. This was the equivalent to about 2 l per person.

The researchers discovered that the men lost about 1.7 kg during the dehydrating exercise. Researchers found no differences between the beverages for exercise performance and measures of fluid retention.

“Additional study is needed with consideration for the inclusion of a more demanding dehydration protocol, aimed at reducing body mass beyond the 2% mark obtained in the present investigation may be warranted,” wrote the researchers. “Finally, while treadmill time to exhaustion is routinely used in laboratory studies, the use of a time trial test as the measure of exercise performance may be more appropriate. Investigators may consider these suggestions when designing future studies focused on the potential rehydrating ability of coconut water and other beverages.”