The truth about coconut water

Helen Wellings

Coconut water has escalated to a $40-million industry in Australia this year, but a 7News investigation has revealed it may not be that good for you.

Extracted from the kernels of young, green coconuts, celebrities have extolled its miracle health and weight-loss virtues.

But many of our supermarket brands that may seem the product comes directly from the coconut to you are processed and tricked up with additives.


“Consumers really are falling for the hype and many of the claims just aren't what they're cracked up to be,” Choice’s Kate Browne said.

“We don't want pasteurisation. We don't want pesticides to be involved in the harvesting of the product,” Ironman Surf Lifesaving Champion Guy Leech said.

Most of our leading coconut water brands are from Thailand, with products made from genetically modified hybrid coconuts, which are typically coconut palms crossed with date palms.

The packaged or bottled coconut water goes through a refining process where it is pasteurised under high heat treatment, which destroys a lot of nutrients and sugars.

Most of Australia's leading coconut water brands source their products from Thailand. Photo: 7News

Sugar is often added back into the coconut water to sweeten it, which can be up to seven percent added sugar.

It seems natural to drink from a coconut, but some husks have been bleached with sodium metabisulphite – used as an antioxidant and preservative agent – to make them look better.

Guy Leech, Ironman and Surf Lifesaving Champion, has been asked to promote a new brand, the Plantasian's company's Citralife, which claims to be the first fully organic, non-pasteurised, non-genetically modified coconut water from the Philipines.

“You're not getting something that's just fallen off a tree on a beach in Thailand,” Ms Browne said.

“It is quite different by the time it arrives on the shelves here.”