After a particularly vigorous workout session, I'll occasionally treat myself to one of the bevy of coconut waters on the market. Naturally high in hydration-supporting electrolytes and potassium, coconut water is like nature's Gatorade sans the artificial colors and sugar—at least, that's what I've been happy to believe. A recent report from ConsumerLab.com potentially bursts my electrolyte bubble.
The independent testing company investigated three popular brands: O.N.E. Coconut Water, Zico Natural Pure Premium Coconut Water and Vita Coca 100% Pure Coconut Water. While all contained significant amounts of potassium, two of the products had significantly less sodium than was claimed—18 percent and 59 percent of the listed amounts. Sodium, of course, is key for hydration as any sweat-drenched gym rat can attest. The same two beverages also fell short on magnesium—77 percent and 64 percent of the listed amounts.
While this information is a bit of a blow, I'm not kicking coconut water from my post-workout regimen just yet. ConsumerLab.com is a noted controversial figure within the natural products industry. The Westchester, New York-based company relies on third-party labs for data, and testing methods and standards have been characterized as dubious within the industry. Additionally, the agency is accused of selecting standards that encourage negative results. Company president Tod Cooperman acknowledged in a sworn testimony before the Senate select committee on aging, that companies that pay to participate in ConsumerLab's testing program can prohibit their test results from being published.
I'd be interested to hear what another research body has to say on the subject and would welcome comments from those coconut beverages that were called out. After bringing up the study at a recent editorial meeting, this is exactly what my colleagues and I plan to do. Expect more coverage on the coconut beverage category including an in-depth look at nutrition claims on NewHope360 later this month.