Athletes of all ages are turning to these beverages for hydration. What’s the difference?
Overall, unsweetened coconut water has fewer calories, carbohydrates and sodium than a typical sports drink. For general hydration, coconut water is fine. Look for the brands with no added sugar.
However compared to sports drinks, coconut water has too much potassium and not enough sodium or carbohydrates for optimal hydration during and after exercise / competitions.
According to the Dietitians of Canada, sports drinks may be beneficial if you:
– exercise hard for at least 1 hour
– exercise at high intensity (e.g. soccer, hockey, basketball)
– sweat a lot / have salty sweat
– wear a lot of protective gear or equipment such as for hockey or football
– train or exercise in the heat and humidity
– need to replace fluids and energy quickly such as during hockey tournaments
– train or exercise more than once a day.