UPDATED June 17th, 2017
In the exhausting and often overwhelming world of weight-loss, you rarely think that your water could be doing damage to your waistline. After all, staying hydrated is one of the key components to losing weight and getting healthy. But if that water you are chugging is coconut water, then we have some bad news—it could be sabotaging your diet without you even realizing it. Notice we said “could,” because not all coco water is created equal. And yes, there are tons of health benefits associated with coco water, so before we talk about your potential weight loss struggles, we need to paint he full picture.
According to Dr. Oz, “coconut water is tapped from the center of young, green coconuts and, unlike coconut milk, is not fatty and has a light, clean taste.” To repeat, we’re not talking about coconut milk, which is that rich, creamy, milky substance that tastes so so good, but also is loaded with fat and calories. Coco water is clear (like water) and has a subtle sweet taste that is really refreshing. You probably crave it on a hot day or after a workout, which makes sense because coco water is a perfect way to boost your energy by hydrating your body and replenishing electrolytes. Think of it as a far healthier and natural version of an energy drink. Mind Body Green reports that coco water is also loaded with potassium (one serving of coco water offers about 13% of your daily potassium needs), magnesium (which helps boost energy) and antioxidants (that are important for fighting free radicals and minimizing damage to your body).
Read Related: Coconut Rage: 19 Reasons Why Coconuts Are so Hot
So far it sounds like coco water is really good for you, right? It’s low in calories, packed with nutrients and health benefits, and it’s refreshing. What could be bad? Unfortunately, there are also some down sides to guzzling this drink. Womp womp. Even though coco water is low in calories—a huge plus, especially when you compare his drink to other fruit juices or sodas—it’s also, as per Livestrong, “high in sugar and saturated fat, which may offset its potential weight-loss benefits if it is not consumed in moderation.” As far as sugar is concerned, natural, pure coco water can have about 6 grams of sugar per serving. That doesn’t sound like a ton, but remember that people are drinking this beverage as a substitute for water, which has zero sugar, so if you’re expecting the same results as you would get with a sugar-free drink, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. In addition, this drink has about 2% of your daily value for saturated fat; again, not a crazy number, but since when is your water supposed to contain any fat?
The real question is what are you replacing when you choose to drink coco water. Are you drinking this refreshing and slightly sweet treat as a way to replace artificial sodas, juices or creamy coco milk? Or is it replacing your water intake? If you’re swapping coco water in lieu of drinks that are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and hidden liquid calories then you’re probably going to actually see a positive change in your weight, and in how you look and feel inside and out. If you are ditching plain old water (which is the ultimate source of hydration and has zero calories or sugar) and instead drinking a ton of coconut water instead, then yes, you could be shooting yourself in the proverbial foot as far as weight loss is concerned. You will feel hydrated and feel great, so you won’t realize that you are actually consuming more calories than intended or than you previously did, which could result in weight gain.
Here’s the takeaway: if you are going to drink coco water, drink in moderation. Check labels to make sure it’s actually natural coco water and isn’t loaded with flavors, sugars or excess calories. And as with everything else you consume as a part of a healthy lifestyle, pay attention to how you look and feel—if you’re doing everything right but still gaining weight, you might want to put the coconut down and just stick to old-fashioned agua.