O Organics has now become a billion-dollar brand. So says its owner, Albertsons Companies, the supermarket giant that includes Safeway, Vons, Randalls, Star Market, and Shaw’s. The company calls it “one of the nation’s largest brands of USDA-certified organic products.” It now offers coconut water, a popular drink because of its “natural” nature and its association with sports and rapid hydration. Coconut water comes from sunny, tropical places where people eat and drink what grows naturally. It’s a super-healthy drink—right?
We’re not sure. Are companies like O Organics that produce coconut water being entirely honest about the ingredients and the health benefits of this drink? We’re investigating their claims.
O Organics makes at least two varieties of coconut water, Original Organic Coconut Water and Pineapple Organic Coconut Water.
Coconut water should not be confused with coconut milk, the milky-white liquid that can be extracted from adult coconut pulp. Coconut water is the almost-clear liquid inside of young, green coconuts. In fact, it’s possible to make a hole in the young coconut rind, poke a straw through it, and drink the water straight from the coconut.
Coconut water in general has about nineteen calories per 100 milliliters and is about 95% water and 4% carbohydrates.
Coconut water has a reputation as a good rehydrating sports drink, since it contains a lot of potassium plus sodium and manganese. It contains no fat, and normally contains less sugar and fewer calories than most fruit juices. An article on the Mayo Clinic website says, “Ounce for ounce, typical fruit juices have twice as many calories as unflavored coconut water.”
However, some companies mix coconut water with fruit juices, fruit pulp, or other substances for flavoring. These added ingredients may negate some of the quick-hydration and other claims made for coconut water.
Many of the claims originally made for coconut water have been proved false or have not been verified. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned companies not to make disease-related claims for coconut water, such as that it is antiviral, regulates blood glucose levels, or can cure illnesses. Previous class actions have taken on some other excessive claims, such as that coconut water is “super-hydrating,” “nutrient-packed,” or “mega-electrolyte.”
Are the producers of coconut water telling the whole truth about ingredients, nutritional content, and health benefits of their products, whether straight-up or flavored? We’d like to find out.
Have you bought either of the O Organic coconut waters? If you’d like to hear about the results of this investigation, fill out the form on this page.