Coconut water as PWO carbs

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 28, 2010 at 9:35 PM

I've been putting down a bottle of coconut water after workouts for the past few days ?????I love the taste and like using it as my PWO carb source (alongside a hunk of protein). I'm wondering if anyone has some more expert knowledge of how favorable the carb breakdown of coconut water is.

I found this article:


which says:

Research by Kuberski6 identified the sugars contained in coconut water, detecting glucose, sucrose and fructose in the proportion of approximately 50, 35 and 15%, respectively, but their study did not relate whether these proportions remained constant during different months. The current study found that the proportions of these sugars varied depending on the stage of maturation of the coconuts: glucose, from 34 to 45%; sucrose, from 53 to 18% and; fructose, from 12 to 36%.

So what's the verdict? Too much fructose?

Or should I keep going with coconut water? I've been using one that has 9grams of sugar and 16g total carbs, called Taste Nirvana (the one with the pulp???sooo yummy). Here are the nutrition facts: http://tastenirvana.com/benefits.

Any thoughts? Is there significantly better benefit to sticking with yams/sweetpotatoes/blueberries, or is coconut water just as good for post CrossFit-style workout for an already-lean guy?

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8 Answers


on September 28, 2010
at 10:31 PM

Liquid calories process very quickly. I would almost say too quickly for the body to process well.

I personally avoid fructose as much as possible as I've found it feeds bad bacteria and sets off gut rumbles on me.

Glucose is usable by your muscles, anything else needs conversion

In summary, avoid fructose, eat whole foods, glucose/starch seems best with our current knowledge


on September 28, 2010
at 10:18 PM

If you're already lean and the coconut water feels good to you, I'd say go for it. It's pretty low in fructose if those breakdowns are accurate so I would say it's legit. If you were trying to lean out, I'd vote otherwise...



on September 29, 2010
at 03:23 AM

the idea of needing "post workout carbs" to me is suspect in general. Unless you are an endurance athlete and are reaching glycogen depletion, or you are doing doubles... you will probably be able to replenish your glycogen stores by your next workout without the 2-300 calories of sugar immediately after. Why not get those calories in something else, and if you want sugar, why not get those calories in something like berries, where you get more bang for your buck in terms of nutrients.


on January 26, 2013
at 12:23 AM

If you are on a very low carb diet, one 240ml cup will not put you over your limit. VLCD being defined as less than 20g carbs per day (not counting non digestible fiber). If you are on a low carb diet defined as 60g carbs per day you can have multiple 240ml cups. Each cup being 6 grams of sugar. You will have to be strict with the rest of your diet for the day. No additional sugar sources or extra fruit. If I recall correctly, Robert Lustig M.D., in his "The bitter truth" video says that 15g fructose per day was normal in 1915, when Americans were thin and obesity was a rarity.

So as long as you don't eat any other sugary fruit on the days you drink coconut water for your PWO sports drink you should be just fine.



on August 12, 2012
at 11:39 PM

After heavy Kettlebell sessions, I sometimes do Coconut Water, Blueberries, Whey Protein and Raw eggs blended together.



on August 12, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Taste Nirvana is actually processed, not as beneficial as from-the-coconut-water. I'd say no.



on August 12, 2012
at 09:50 PM

Why did they break it down three ways? 50-35-15= 67/33ish which sounds pretty good for a metcon type workout but too much fructose (or carb in general) for just lifting



on September 29, 2010
at 01:35 PM

I only drink it post-wod when I'm starting to cramp up (natural source of electrolytes..mmmmmm...). Other than that, I try to avoid it b/c of the high fructose. Sweet potatoes/yams have high glucose, which as Stephen-Aegis mentioned, is usable by your muscles.

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