I Love Coconut Water. Am I a Dupe?

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For a little while there, everyone was buying bottled water — and then people realized that they were being silly. No one drinks that stuff anymore! (Well, some people are. But overall bottled water sales are down quite a bit since 2007.) Instead, it seems, we’re all drinking coconut water.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for the stuff. I buy it by the case and trick myself into thinking I’m getting a deal. I have actually uttered the phrase, “It’s nature’s Gatorade!” when trying to convince a friend to try some. But recently, the more celebrity endorsements I see (Rihanna! Madonna! Anthony Keidis!?), the more I’ve started to wonder whether it’s just a big scam.

And, alas, news this week made me fear that I’d been taken in. The first consumer test of the big three coconut water sellers — Zico, Vita Coco, and O.N.E. — found that they generally overstate their health benefits. They don’t have nearly as much sodium and magnesium as they claim. As England’s Daily Mail quipped recently, “the figures make for some expensive sugary water.”

But all is not lost:  turns out that Zico is the one brand that actually had as many minerals as it claimed. And the FDA has given the stuff its blessing, allowing products to carry the statement that it may “reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.” Mostly, it seems, the varying mineral levels won’t matter much to anyone who’s not a super-intense athlete. So, fine — it won’t cure cancer or make you more beautiful. But you’ve got to look on the bright side — it also won’t give you cancer, or make you more ugly! And I’ll probably keep buying it.



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