We are seeing sports enthusiasts, celebrities, teenagers, health nuts, and now even the ‘average Joe’ drinking from coconuts but are they that good for us?  These young green coconuts are being marketed as the panacea for everything from kidney stones to hangovers.

Because we love facts, getting the low down on coconut water took at bit of time because unlike their nutrient dense cousins, coconut milk and coconut oil,  coconut water has only been in the health spotlight for approximately 12 months.

Let’s consider the facts…

1. They are sweet and refreshing but are they full of sugar?

The size and age of the coconut will determine how much sugar is in the coconut water.  However, it is important to note there approximately 2.95ml of sugar per 100 ml of sugar in coconut water.   Inside a young green coconut, which is usually between 4-6 months old, there is approximately 300 ml of coconut water and this is also the same volume of the organic coconut waters that we can readily purchase in cans or tetra packs.

As a nutritionist,  I advise my patients to be having not more that 4.7 ml of sugar per 100ml, so coconut water fits this requirement.

2. Is it the sugar in coconut water a fructose, glucose or sucrose?

A young coconut sugar breakdown is approximately-glucose 50%, sucrose 35%, and fructose 15% .

Fruit juice and soft drinks are primarily fructose and not liver friendly.

If you are drinking coconut water straight from the coconut, go for it.

If you are drinking it from a can, watch for added fruit or flavors which increase the fructose.

2. Are young coconuts a source of good electrolyte replacement after training?

‘Mother Nature’s sport drink”?  Personally I think these young coconuts give sports enthusiasts a wonderful alternative to water.  I am not a big fan of Gatorade or PowerAde.  I do believe endurance and high performance athletes need to replace their electrolytes  but this is not who we typically see drinking these sugary, chemically created, high sodium sports drinks.

Coconut water with a fresh, sweet, nutty taste contain potassium.  An average size banana has about 378mg of potassium, and most coconut waters I have found range from 328 to 733mg of potassium.  Fruit and vegetables are also a natural source of potassium, which is essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation.  Hmmm, low in calorie, tasty, high in potassium and very hydrating…. yes, this is a wonderful, occasional alternative to water particularly after a 60 minute plus training.

3. Are they just a fad?

Is getting healthy, feeling good, taking charge of your body and your brain a fad?  I don’t think so.  We are more interested in ‘preventative wellness’ in the last 18 months than ever before in history.  We have alarming rates of diabetes, dementia, obesity, autoimmune conditions and Australians want to know why and how to prevent these illnesses.  Anyone reading this understands that quality nutrition underpins quality mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Coconut water … low sugar meals, high quality proteins…. fad? No simply smart nutrition.

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  • Never had coconut water and so many conflicting opinions, very interested to try especially if it is great.


  • check, check, check the expiry date! i bought one to try it and it was off by a year which i didn’t know until i had the first mouthful ….yuck!

    my first and only one! that really put me off it


  • I haven’t tried it yet so can’t really comment, but do do wonder where the coconuts are grown and if the industry that produces them is sustainable, environmentally friendly and a fair employer.


  • DD asked me to buy her some coconut water, after taking a mouthful she said it tasted disgusting, I guess it’s an acquired taste.


  • I love coconut water, and the benefits are truly amazing.


  • I can’t stand the taste of coconut water – I love coconut milk and coconut on it’s own but not the water. Great that it has so many good health benefits.


  • Great information. Did not know much about the benefits of coconut.


  • I like the idea of coconut water, I love the taste of coconut. I add the water to juices & cooking but I can’t drink it straight.


  • i swear by coconut water! i love it


  • Just started using coconut oil and looking for more uses of coconut all the time. So good for you!


  • Very interesting, I myself use coconut oil, that is brilliant and has many health advantages


  • I love drinking from young coconuts! So yummy and then digging the meat out once I’ve finished the water!


  • I am all for healthy eating, it’s hard to work out what is good though when fads fly by so quickly. Thanks for the information.


  • coconut water fad did seem to come out of no where, but I do like the taste


  • Good read thanks for the information


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