I don’t know what it was, but I was introduced to coconut water through my CrossFit gym at the time. EVERYONE was on the coconut water bandwagon. In fact, it has more than ten times the amount of potassium than most sports drinks you’ll find on the shelves at the supermarket, but the question remains if coconut water is keto friendly or not?
Coconut isn't a recommended beverage while following a keto diet due to its high carbohydrate content. Depending on the brand, an 8 oz. cup of coconut water will have between 7 and 15 grams of net carbohydrates, making it not an ideal beverage choice while in ketosis.
And it makes sense; coconut water is basically like a natural sports drink that can help replenish lost electrolytes and provide hydration from a workout, especially potassium.
In this article, I’ll go over when drinking coconut water may be acceptable, how many carbohydrates are in coconut water, the health benefits, and keto friendly alternatives worth considering.
Can You Drink Coconut Water On A Keto Diet?
For most people, drinking coconut water on a ketogenic diet is a no go.
However, if you’re sticking to a minimal amount of less than 8 oz or so, it may be possible that you can fit in a small glass.
Just remember, all of those carbohydrates will go towards your daily total and take from other, more filling and nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrates, such as green leafy vegetables.
For athletes or highly active individuals, there may be a time and place when coconut water is a viable option when following a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) or cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).
But that’s a whole other can of worms that doesn’t apply to most individuals.
Though, if you’re interested, feel free to drop a comment below for a response.
How Many Carbs Are In Coconut Water?
On average, an 8 oz. serving of coconut water has ~7g of net carbohydrates (just depends on the brand) with some as high as 15 grams per 8 oz., which isn’t too bad when comparing it to 8 oz. of soda
… which sets you back 26 grams of carbohydrates.
However, for most individuals, it’s simply not worth spending your carbohydrates on a small serving of coconut water, that is unless you want some for one reason or another.
Bear in mind, most cartons or cans of coconut water are between 24 and 32 oz. So drinking an entire can of coconut water isn’t advised.
Drinking an entire can of coconut water would set you back upwards of 30 grams of carbohydrates.
Even the smaller coconut waters I’ve seen from brands like Vita Coco or Zico will still have ~15g of carbohydrates for an entire carton.
Some coconut water beverages also have added sugars, thus raising the carb count. Make sure you check the label if you decide to indulge in a sip.
The Benefits Of Coconut Water
That being said, people love coconut water due to it being as close to a natural sports beverage as you can get.
Coconut water may be the perfect beverage for athletes looking to restore hydration and replace lost electrolytes.
A study found that coconut water restored hydration after exercise similar to that of an electrolyte-enhanced sports beverage, and better than plain water. 1 2
Coconut water is also delicious and not sickly sweet like many sports beverages.
While electrolytes are crucial, especially while following a ketogenic diet, coconut water is just too high in carbohydrates for most people to make it worth consuming.
There are other lower carbohydrate alternatives for those looking to replenish lost electrolytes.
Alternatives To Coconut Water
While coconut water may not be the most ideal or ideal at all, for those following a ketogenic diet, what else can you drink?
Technically, most sugar-free sports drinks are relatively safe to drink while following a ketogenic diet.
These include drinks such as Propel fitness water, Mio electrolyte water enhancer, and even your favorite sugar-free energy drinks like Bang, Rockstar, and Reign.
To read up on any one of those, take a look at any one of the articles above.
However, most sports drinks you’ll find locally won’t have nearly as much potassium as coconut water.
For drinks with a sufficient amount of electrolytes, including potassium, I would recommend:
- Keto Vitals Electrolyte Powder
- LMNT Recharge
- Zip Fizz (You may be able to find this at Costo if you have access)
Coconut water is a delicious beverage that’s not overly sweet and rich in electrolytes, especially potassium.
Unfortunately, though, coconut water has too many carbohydrates for me to recommend it as being keto friendly for most individuals.
However, if consuming 8 oz. or less, which has ~7g of carbohydrates, you may be able to fit in a small amount here and there if you wanted to.
Instead, stick to sugar-free sports drinks like Propel fitness water, G-Zero, Powerade Zero, or purchase an electrolyte beverage formulated with keto dieters in mind such as Keto Vitals Electrolyte Powder or LMNT Recharge.