My last few blogs have talked about the importance of staying hydrated when you’re riding or racing your motorcycle during our short Canadian summers.
I’ve talked about the importance of drinking plenty of water or perhaps even a sports drink to supply you with the carbohydrates needed to top up glycogen stores and replenish electrolytes.
A discussion about hydration wouldn’t be complete these days without addressing the notion of drinking coconut water as a form of hydration. Coconut water is essentially the clear, nut-flavoured juice that is found inside young coconuts (not to be confused with the actual ‘meat’ of the coconut, which is the white, fleshy substance lining the shell).
Coconut water has gained increased visibility in the last few years as it has been marketed as a healthy sports drink that is fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie, ultra-hydrating and super rich in electrolytes. With a price tag of $2-$3 per 400 mL bottle, even companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have jumped on board, backing Zico and O.N.E. brands of coconut water respectively. With slogans like “Naturally Powered” and images of super fit athletes on their websites, who wouldn’t want to jump into the coconut water craze!
Personally, I’m always a little leery of anything that is supported by Coca-Cola or Pepsi. These are the same companies who have been generating billions of dollars pumping soda pop into the stomachs of half the world for decades, the very same solution capable of cleaning my oven. So I should trust these companies to produce a fit and healthy sport drink? Not so much.
Coconut water’s claim to fame is that it’s high in potassium; a standard serving offers 569mg, almost double that of one banana. Potassium acts to regulate blood pressure by counteracting the stimulating effects of sodium. While potassium is great, what athletes and active riders really need on those hot, sunny days is to keep hydrated and get carbohydrates and sodium, which are more important when you’re sweating through your leathers and gear on those hot sunny days. While the Zico brand of coconut water does offer up a reasonable dose of sodium at 160mg for 414 mL serving, it is also quite high in sugar with12g of sugar per 414mL. Not to mention, if you’ve ever tried coconut water, it is most definitely an acquired taste. While some people find it agrees better with their stomach than some sports drinks, I for one did not enjoy the taste.
In short, save your money for race tires or that cool road trip you’ve been planning, skip out on the coconut water in favour of regular old tap water and perhaps a reputable sports drink that has been specially formulated to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes on those hot summer days. If you still want to load up on potassium, eat a banana or two. They’re cheaper, healthier…and they taste better.