Subscribe to LISA SAID SO

Book an appointment

To make an appointment to see Lisa, call +64 9 5288 365 or email

For more information, check out the OOMPH website


Lisa Said So


Food Review/Advice


Mother Nature's sports drinkCoconut Water

drinking coconut water

Coconut water should
more accurately be
called coconut juice

Canfuls by the armful

About a year ago, coconut water started flying off the shelves. At Huckleberry Farms (where I work part-time as their Naturopath) people began buying cans of coconut water by the armful! Why this sudden desire for ‘the water of the coconut’?

I would say it was due to a combination of marketing and the convenient new packaging. It now came in a can or tetra pak, and therefore didn’t require a machete to open… Thankfully things have settled down now. However, we still get people trickling in for this beverage. They are confused as to how and why they should be using coconut water.

Firstly, let’s get something straight, you don’t really need it. And secondly, in no way does it help with weight-loss.

Please refer to my previous coconut article to find out how coconut fat can be used (with caution) for weight loss.

Going Troppo over coconut water

To me, it makes no sense to regularly consume coconut water (if at all) unless you live in ‘the tropics’. Coconut water is suited to the metabolic demands of people that live in (and who actually come from) hot/humid conditions.

Note: Perhaps a glass of refreshing coconut water would be warranted (for someone living outside of the tropics), if they had gone to the trouble of cracking open their own coconut!

Adolescent coconuts

Coconut water is reported to hydrate1 the body, and replenish vital nutrients (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus). These health promoting properties are only accredited to coconut water that comes from young green coconuts… not from cans or tetra-paks. Fresh is definitely best.

Young coconuts will be in the refrigerated produce section because they are perishable.

The marketing claims on coconut water packaging that actually mean something

No sugar added
it already contains enough sweetness

No artificial ingredients
it’s not processed like commercial sports drinks

Certified organic
it doesn’t have any nasty pesticides or insectides that have been inadvertently added

No preservatives
it’s been pasteurized due to it being highly perishable!

Not from concentrate
it uses juice straight from the coconut — which means minimal processing

Redundant marketing claims on coconut water packaging

Gluten Free
coconuts are not grains

No fat
it’s water…

Cholesterol Free
it’s water!

If it wasn't pasteurized it would claim 'raw' or unpasteurized on the packaging

Coconut water contains the following substances:

a Brazilian study2 concluded that the sugar in coconut water consisted of: glucose 50%, sucrose 35%, and fructose 15%

potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus

Coconut water is also reported to contain antioxidants and cytokinins.

Because coconut water contains no fat or protein it's a pure 'sugar hit'

Oqua 330ml
(Marketed as, ‘Nature’s original isotonic drink’)
serving size — 330ml
sugar — 16.5g

C Coconut water 330ml
Serving size — 330ml
sugar — 15g

Don’t let manufacturers packaging dictate what a serving size should be. In most cases, you would only need to consume 1/3 of this quantity.3

Note: Pure fruit juice contains anywhere from 9-12g of sugar per 100ml. Juice that contains added sugar will obviously contain more.

If you had a real coconut, you wouldn't just drink the water... you'd eat the flesh as well.


Water is 'Nature's original isotonic drink'

Unless you’re exercising intensely for over 60mins (and particularly if you are doing so in the heat) then simply drink plain ole’ watery water. This is sufficient to hydrate you.

You can get all your electrolytes, and carbs from a good diet prior to your mild-moderate exercise of a reasonable duration in length.

Note: this advice to drink coconut water only applies to recreational sports people. It doesn’t apply to actual athletes.

Coconut water can be used as a remedy

Use this product to prevent and treat dehydration due to diarrhoea and/or vomiting. You could use coconut water instead of pharmaceutical Electral/Gastrolyte, or processed Lucozade/Powerade for tummy bugs, food poisoning, travellers diarrhoea, viral enteritis or intestinal flu.

Note: you could also use it on long-haul flights, and for hangovers.

Don't use coconut water in these conditions

If you have a ‘cold’ (sugar is not good for your immune system), when trying to lose weight, or if you’re not expending a lot of energy (you have a sedentary job).

You certainly don’t need to use it in smoothies or juices that already contain sweetness in the form of fruit.

Join the discussion