Liz Clapacs, a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Elevation Holistic Health in Columbus, Ohio, says that the sugar in coconut water is fructose, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit. “Natural components in fruits, such as fiber, help slow the absorption of fructose in the body helping keep blood sugar levels more stable,” Clapacs explains. Other sports drinks and sodas contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an unnatural sweetener that is difficult for the body to break down and negatively impacts blood sugar and energy levels.” Clapacs, who also works with athletes, sees more and more women between 20 and 40 using coconut water for hydration while training.
Experts say that the best brands have just one ingredient on the label: Natural Coconut Water. An 11-ounce box of pure natural coconut water contains about 60 calories. If the calorie count is higher, be on the lookout for added sugar or fat.
Right now, it’s most easily available in health-food stores. But it will probably be coming soon to a supermarket near you. The Coca-Cola Co. has bought a stake in ZICO, one of the most popular brands of coconut water. So will ZICO ever be as popular as Diet Coke? “I don’t know,” says ZICO founder Mark Rampolla, “but we think coconut water has the potential to be the next great beverage category.”