VIS Nutrition Tip #1 – Coconuts

Each week VIS Sports Dietitian Kylie Andrew will be sending through some advice and tips on Nutrition for swimmers and parents.

Tip # 1

Just like eggs, coconuts have made a comeback. They have been categorised in the past as unhealthy due to the saturated fat they contain. Research has been fairly conclusive that saturated fat increases cholesterol, which can increase risk of heart disease. Unlike mono-unsaturated fats and poly unsaturated fat which provide us with health benefits when consumed in moderation, saturated fat does not appear to provide more benefit than it does harm.

So why is everyone going Coco-nuts?

When it comes to the fat, there is emerging research suggesting it may not be as harmful as animal saturated fat, and possibly may have benefits. However before you start adding it to everything, moderation is always the key with any fat, and without good evidence of its benefits we recommend you use it sparingly.

There is also that naturally sweet water inside a young coconut, that provides some electrolytes, which seems to be very appropriate for the sweaty tropics, care of mother nature! The only limitation however, is that the electrolytes in this water are predominantly potassium and magnesium, with a minimal amount of sodium (being the predominant electrolyte lost in sweat). That combined with the lack of carbs, makes it a poor replacement for sports drink. So drink it for pleasure perhaps, not for rehydration during heavy training sessions or events.


Kylie Andrew, VIS Sports Dietitian.

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