by Matt Hodges
06 March 2012
Having been in the fitness industry for many years now, I tend to see products/services crop up every year that everyone latches on to and more than likely it’ll be celebrity endorsed. Most do not have the longevity and end up being a topic of conversation in a few years time:
“I remember when that was so popular, wasn’t it called Zum**…”
I will stop there before I get into trouble! Anyway, you get the point that a lot of things health and fitness related come and go. I thought the same thing in 2011 when the huge craze in the nutrition world was Coconut Water. Whenever I see any celebrity relationship with classes/products/services I tend to turn off so I did not pay much attention to it until the guys at Vita Coco contacted me earlier this year.
With the market being saturated with hydration drinks which basically serve to reinvent the wheel, could Vita Coco be just another fad or is there more than just fancy water in these cartons? I wanted to find out what the hype was about…..
What is Vita Coco
In a nutshell (no pun intended) – Vita Coco is a natural coconut water used for everyday rehydration that replaces all the lost electrolytes and revitalises the body with enough potassium and vitamin C which is vital for the re-hydration process to be effective.
Vita Coco says:
“If you’re into your fitness Vita Coco offers a compelling natural alternative to sports drinks, because you won’t find additives, flavourings or preservatives in Vita Coco. We let the coconut water do its job itself – its not from concentrate, and contains five naturally occurring essential electrolytes – potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and calcium.”
Before we go any further I want to admit – I wanted this to be awful. I wanted it to be everything I would expect from another celebrity fad product but actually, at a closer look I was wrong. At first glance the most immediate alert signal was from the 5g of sugar per 100ml in each 330ml carton and yet no fat, no protein, no fibre! Anyone who knows me and knows our philosophy at MPH Fitness understands that fat is NOT the bad guy and sugar on the other hand is the biggest threat. I immediately commented on this to the Vita team and I was assured that there is no fat in the coconut water due to the water being harvested from coconuts whilst they are rare/green and the sugar content is only from the natural nut itself. Ok, so now I am seeing more of a place for this product during the day, maybe not the way Vita intends, but definitely a place nonetheless.
So lets get down to the nitty gritty. The following nutritional content is from The Vita Coco with Passion Fruit (I am choosing this as the flavoured waters have 1g more sugar than the Pure).
Serving Size: 330ml
Typical Value Per 100ml
Energy 100kJ (25kcal)
(of which sugars) 6g
(of which saturates) 0g
Potassium 224mg (10% of RDA*)
Vitamin C 44mg (55% of RDA*)
As you can see that is nearly 21g of natural sugar per 330ml carton. That is a lot I hear you say? Well, actually it really isn’t, not if you compare it to other natural fruits like a Banana which will yield around 19g of natural sugar. We must remember that Vita stick to their ethos of natural hydration with NO preservatives.
Another distinguishing feature would be the potassium value of the 330ml carton using the banana as a bench mark, the Vita Coco products yield twice the amount of potassium as a single banana. So it could be said that actually the Vita Coco water packs more of a healthy punch than a natural piece of fruit……Food for thought anyway.
Currently Vita Coco offers us five different flavours. These are as follows: Pure, Acai & Pomegranate, Peach & Mango, Pineapple, Passion Fruit.
Whilst flavour is extremely subjective I will try and give you a decent review of each.
Pure – Tastes clean, very refreshing, has a distinct taste, very silky
Acai & Pomegranate – I was told that this would be the worst; however I found it the most refreshing out of the bunch. A clean taste with a lovely pomegranate after taste.
Peach & Mango – Nice fresh kick of peach which is not too strong, however there is a funny after taste to it. One of my clients said they thought they were drinking the actual carton with this flavour. Odd.
Pineapple – The most popular flavour out of the bunch. I think this is because it didn’t taste of the unique coconut water and was actually quite sweet.
Passionfruit – This was fairly similar to the peach & mango flavour but just that tiny bit better. A little sweeter and a much more noticeable passion fruit flavour.
Using Vita Coco
Easy to use Tetrapak carton with a peel off lid for easy drinking. No need for a straw!
As I said before I can see a place for Vita Coco in our day. I would use this product during workouts and after workouts. I cannot really see it being used anywhere else to be honest, only because of the high natural sugar levels. Without getting down and dirty with the whole insulin debate I think it would be a safe and effective product for the times stated above.
With an impressive line up of electrolytes this product certainly talks the talk but it also walks the walk which in itself is so refreshing to see in the health & fitness market these days.
Vita Coco certainly has its place, but when used properly can serve as an effective rehydration product that will compliment your training and recovery. It is not cheap but then you are getting quality for your money!
Peri Workout Mix
330ml Pure Vita Coco
3 Scoops Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
Post Workout Mix
150ml Pure Vita Coco
3 Scoop PHD Strawberry Hydro Whey