Coconut water exposed: 9 brands to avoid due to harmful chemicals

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coconut-water(NaturalHealth365) As one of the healthiest drinks in the world, coconut water is exceptionally beneficial for health. Its unique compilation of vitamins and minerals help protect your body.

For example, better than sports drinks, coconut water provides athletes a natural potassium and magnesium-rich drink that rehydrates the body while reducing inflammation and balancing blood sugar. A scientific review published in the Molecules journal also showed benefits ranging from lowering high blood pressure, preventing heart attacks, and healing cancer. It also contains a plant hormone called “trans-zeatin” that may be helpful in treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, the anti-aging benefits of coconut water are numerous, and food manufacturers have taken advantage of its popularity. However, not all are created equal – since many brands have been ruined by harmful chemicals or processing.

Are you drinking this type of (toxic) coconut water?

For packaged coconut water to retain its nutrients, it should come directly from fresh coconuts. However, some manufacturers have adopted several methods of packaging that ruin its purity:

1. Adopting water from mature coconuts: Nutrient dense water comes from young green coconut. As the one-seeded drupe ages, the nutrients seep into the meat of the coconut. Therefore, the water loses its nutrition value.

Not only are the nutrients severely watered down, the taste is different from that of young coconuts. Mature coconuts are better for making coconut milk, oil, and other products. They are also cheaper for the manufacturer to buy.

2. Using reconstituted concentrate instead of fresh coconut water: Heated and reduced to a syrup, regular water is later added to this coconut water syrup for packaging. When coconut water (or any fruit) is heated to this extent, it loses its nutrients and its beneficial enzymes are denatured. Importing coconut water syrup is also cheaper for the manufacturer.

3. Pasteurizing coconut water with heat: Due to its delicacy, coconut water is naturally perishable. It should be kept cold. However, several manufacturers use extremely high heat to kill bacteria and extend shelf life.

This process destroys its vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – as well as flavor. While there are other ways to kill bacteria and still keep nutrients intact, manufacturers disregard more healthful methods. If coconut water is also from concentrate, it will have gone through the heating process twice!

4. Adding preservatives to flavor and sweeten coconut water: Young coconut water is sweet and refreshing. However, some manufacturers add “natural flavors” or sweeteners. The only reason they would need to do this is if they are using mature coconut water that has an acidic taste.

5. Dipping coconuts in chemicals for transport: Many non-organic coconuts are preserved for transporting to the United States by dipping them in known carcinogens – formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite. These chemicals may seep into and poison the coconut meat and water.

Have these brands of coconut water earned your trust?

The following is a list of brands that may have touted their drinks to be “100% Coconut Water” or “All Natural Coconut Water.” But, let the buyer beware!

  • C2O – This brand uses high heat pasteurization up to 120 degrees Celsius with the product in their cans. They use both steel and aluminum cans.
  • Coco Libre (Organic) – While this brand is labeled organic, it uses coconut water from concentrate. Their processing practice uses flash pasteurization with heat. Natural flavors are also added.
  • Cona Zona – This brand’s nutrition label reveals its coconut water is made from concentrate.
  • GOYA – This brand spent mega dollars on fighting GMO labeling in California. They use heat pasteurization with added preservatives, including sugar.
  • Naked Juice Coconut Water – This Pepsico brand uses water from mature coconuts and then flash pasteurizes using heat. They have faced a class action lawsuit for using synthetic substances and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their product while labeling deceptively.
  • O.N.E. Coconut Water – This is another Pepsico brand that uses flash pasteurization with heat. Their coconut waters contain natural flavors and sugar. The sugar ingredient isn’t classified as to the type, but it may very well be a GMO type as used in their other brand Naked Juice.
  • Purity Organic – While this brand is labeled organic, it doesn’t use the best practices. It uses concentrate and flash pasteurization with heat in processing their coconut water.
  • Vita Coco – Touted as being “100% pure,” this brand pasteurizes its coconut water with heat and contains added sweeteners. They also have a Café version which contains carrageenan – which is an emulsifier that may wreak havoc on gut health.
  • Zico – This is a Coca-Cola company who is a big GMO supporter. Their coconut waters are made from concentrate, pasteurized with ultra-high heat, and added with natural flavors.

O.K. – now what?

The absolute best coconut water comes straight from an organic coconut tree. It should be young and green. If you must opt for packaged water, choose raw and organic or organic using high “pressure” processing (HPP). Like anything else (when it comes to food) – know your source.

Editor’s note: If you want some of the best produced coconut water – that I’ve discovered – check out Exotic Superfoods (they’re expensive, but really good) or Harmless Harvest.  And, no, I don’t get paid any money to make these suggestions to you.

About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.


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  • Zirah B L Hearn

    Great article and input. Thanks!

  • Barbara N

    Coconut water is one of the most refreshing drinks. Many of the packaged drinks aren’t very good. I have tried quite a few and they aren’t near the real thing.


    This is a very poor article because it doesn’t mention any brands making good coconut water. Just slamming a bunch of brands whilst not offering any alternatives save picking your own coconuts from the trees is not helpful.

    • kathleen

      This is a great article – I had been buying some of theses brands. Thanks Abby
      She says in the article buy ones that say raw and organic. Aren’t you capable of reading a label on your own.

      • StevenCee

        She mentions brands where the labeling is deceptive, or it may be organic, yet use old coconuts, poor processing methods, etc. I see labels, even in health food stores, that are obviously bogus. If there are brands that meet all her criteria, it would be quite helpful for her to simply share those with us.

        • John J. Mulrooney

          agreed 100%. Solutions are needed.

          • jazzfeed

            While you’re looking for a “solution”, realize that the preparation of all food “products” – whether packaged, bottled, canned – is OPAQUE. You were not there to see what was done, and legal requirments do NOT cover everything that COULD be done. In other words, you will never know unless you visit the production premises and, in this case have full knowledge of the growing conditions and the method of harvest. Remember, A CONSUMER IS ALWAYS PARTIALLY BLIND WHEN PURCHASING FOOD PRODUCTS. The ultimate solution to this specific problem is to move to Hawaii, buy a machete and enjoy the abundance of freshly harvested coconuts, with no middlemen degrading them and then charging you for the degraded product.

      • John J. Mulrooney

        She is also saying raw and organic may not get you the best product. Reading in not enough, Kathleen, the world has become more complicated than taking corporate info as reliable truth.

    • jazzfeed

      Read the last paragraph! And then consider the possibility that there are NONE that will taste like a fresh young coconut’s water in a blindfold test.

  • Donna

    Not sure what to believe now. I’m looking at a Vita Coco, and it says “Never from Concentrate” right on the package.

  • Donna

    Oops, sorry! It’s Zico that uses concentrate, not Vita Coco. My mistake, folks.

  • MaryKay Simoni

    I believe the best is from http://www.exoticsuperfoods. com It is fresh frozen organic and is shipped frozen. Expensive but awesome.

    • MapRef41N93W

      “Fresh Frozen” is not a thing. It’s either FRESH or FROZEN.

      • Doggo

        Do you really need this explained to you?

        It is a thing. You harvest the product, then freeze it right away.

  • Coconut man

    I buy the Festival brand …. It is good says nothing added.

    • jazzfeed

      What is DOESN’T say is as important. For example, is it raw, unheated?

  • Kibbelhs

    Well…whatever that’s not bad should be good to drink…no?

  • roundthings

    I use Taste Nirvana Coconut water, supplied in glass bottles

  • Does anyone know about Nativas?

  • MikeC

    Mike Robbins,

    What a joke of a comment! . Check out the mice studies and you’ll be appalled unless you work as a shill…GMO ‘s wreck your DNA and RNA and your reproduction line is over within 3 generations, the the last offspring twice as big and covered with tumors……Do the research and then talk…In the meantime, you can have all the GMO’s intended for me!

    • jazzfeed

      Of course this a shill, or just a low-information cretin. But then it probably wouldn’t be on this site if it was low information. This is a budget shill–Monsanto has laid off thousands and hence may be cutting back on the more sophisticated disinformation professionals.

  • ERB

    What amazes me is how much more they charge you for something that goes through little to no processing.

  • rr

    Nothing beats living in one of these countries just for healthier options (heck even Cancun had a great coconut store by the road on the way to Ek Balam. And just a buck I think for a huge one !) Why do these countries have all the luck and we get the GMO’d and other chemical crap added by these darn businesses.

    • Alexander Last

      I go to the temple opposite our house. They have 10 coconut palms.I help myself. Drink the water eat the meat or make oil and buttet.. All free and totally organic..yes.I do live in Thailand…

  • rr

    what about MOJO Organics ?

  • pam r

    About a month after this article Zico announced they will stopped using concentrate and their transition will be complete by March 2016. However, if you go to their website under FAQ it states they still use High Heat pasteurization and added flavors apply to ones that have fruit flavors. Raw is still best so you don’t kill all the good stuff.

  • Michelle M Walker

    How about Grace unsweetened coconut water?

  • Kelven

    I like to clarify that this article is not 100% true of how coconut water are being processed as it portray a biased view.

    As an experienced food technologist, i would like to point out that any product or raw material exposed to high heat will destroy any micro-organism, nutrition and minerals.
    However, UHT (Ultra high treatment) is a process whereby products pass through high heat treatment at extremely high temperature but short duration that kills micro-organism to sterilize it for safe consumption but not long enough to destroy nutrients and minerals. (Yes granted there might be 5 – 10% reduction of it but it does not affect overall nutritional benefits)

    It would be wrong to say products gone through UHT loses it’s nutrients.

    Also, UHT products that are packed in sterile condition and sealed properly does not require any preservatives. You can read the labels to see if there’s any preservatives or flavorings.

    We should do more research before concluding on whether such article is worth believing or not.

    • jazzfeed

      Plausible…can you provide a link corroborating the minimal loss of nutrients?

    • MapRef41N93W

      Heating doesn’t break down minerals… No idea where this myth propagated from. Heating water in fact allows it to hold more minerals by volume. You would have to be heating it to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (which of course isn’t possible in water) for most minerals to start being broken down (potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium salts for example).

      Obviously I’m talking only about minerals; Vitamins, volatile compounds, and the such can be broken down with much less heat.

    • Dave

      Though I know we’re talking about the water, I know that coconut oil has a fairly high smoke-point and is therefore great for cooking. It’s better than butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or most any other type of oil when cooking because it’s stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage… so I wonder if this is true for coconut water as well??? I appreciate the explanation Kelven about UHT and that makes me suppose that a coconut water brand like Zico would still be pretty good, even though it’s not quite as good as right off the tree (obviously). I know of a friend who actually cured their psoriasis by drinking only coconut water like this, so it must still have some great benefits… Certainly better than drinking Coke or sugary beverages. Also, this article incorrectly stated that Zico is from concentrate. That is not true. It’s also non-GMO verified. Seems to be some incomplete and inaccurate information here.

  • Joan Zietlow

    Some of the juice stores and places like Whole Foods sell the baby coconuts and you just pop them open and you have unadulterated coconut water and pulp for making coconut milk.

  • roundthings

    It’s the only one I like

  • Dalton

    I enjoy Zico – it says it is NOT from concentrate and is 100% natural coconut water with noting added – yet this article states the opposite…is this not true?

    • Travis Doupé

      zico is heat pasterized to extend shelf life which kills a lot of nutrients.

      • Thinkme

        We were drinking C20 now after reading about the cans , To me it seems if you drank a lot of that stuff in aluminum cans you would need chelation and now aluminum which is now linked to Alzheimer’s

    • jazzfeed

      It’s what the label DOESN’T say. Does it say “unheated”?

    • Gustavo

      I’ve noticed there are 2 kinds of zico coconut water. The one that comes in a plastic bottle has “natural flavors” added and some leaf extract. The one in tetra pack, has only coconut water that has been pasteurized.

  • Denise Jean-Marie

    I love Coconut water and changed brands so often because of bad press. I’m now drinking Tropical Sun coconut water but don’t know if it’s one of the best. Please help

  • Jack

    Try CHI (in the UK) – they do a RAW organic coconut water – best I’ve tasted in the world –

  • But the FDA tried to shutdown https://www.harmlessharvest. com/ just read letter on their website ha

  • The Optimist

    i don’t know whether the author actually has tasted fresh coconuts from the coconut shells.
    I do not touch the Thailand coconuts because those are preserved in some kind of chemical. so they don’t mold up during shipping.
    The Thailand coconut does have some flavor and sweetness as young coconut, I do not know why they are different than the other coconuts.

    Whether mature or the young coconuts from philipines and or china., but the larger coconuts(most average between 800 to 1300 grams with 30 percent coconut water) have very little flavor in the green stage and as they mature and become brown have very complete sweet, oily flavor. The taste difference is almost akin to green tomato vs. vine ripened tomato.
    I don’t know how is the nutrition of the two differ, but I do know the mature brown coconut actually is a lot sweeter and fuller. Obviously with age more nutrients are traveling into the coconut.
    The key is to buy the whole brown coconut from the natural nature packaging that does not introduce any contamination.
    Chill for drinking.
    Then open the coconut, dig the coconut meat out, and put it in the blender, with pineapple of red or white dragon fruit. You have a high fiber, high calorie drink that is way better for you than any espresso or buttler coffee and such.

  • jazzfeed

    Why did you stop reading before the last paragraph?

  • jazzfeed

    See the last paragraph. From this and the comments, I’m looking forward to trying Nirvana and Exotic Super Foods frozen.

  • jazzfeed

    I’d leave out the “probably”!

    • WhisperingWind

      Vita Coco. Small bottle. Rancid still ill. Beware. Vons

  • DramaAnyone!

    The thing is preservatives are necessary if you want to sell to the multitudes. Once you open the coconut to drink it, it goes bad very fast. I agree you are best to get the real one from stores that sell it. What I like about coconut water is that it keeps me hydrated and I don’t lose a lot of potassium and magnesium. I knew about most of them but surprised about Zico. As long as they are in a contain and warehoused they are preserved. So I guess no coconut water for me, unless I have my own coconut tree and can pick one every morning.

  • Doggo

    It doesn’t surprise me, then, that the stuff I buy smells a bit off, sometimes. Being where I live, though, acquiring fresh coconuts isn’t an option.

    Are there brands that you would recommend? What do you think of Blue Monkey?

  • Doggo

    I’m sorry, I meant to say “in Canada”. I haven’t seen the brands you recommended.

  • Bob Simpson

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents to the Zico discussion. I’ve been trying as many coconut waters as possible for the past year or so; many are nearly the same, but still vary far more than other juices. Anyway, Zico in my opinion, is fine(taste wise) but would have to be on sale half price to purchase. Those plastic bottles to me just don’t seem to hold the flavor. I dunno, but it is a Coca Cola product. Very mass produced… I will say, the best I’ve had actually have come in different types of cans. I read somewhere that they are able to seal cans in a different way, I don’t know, but implied that cans could be better. Far as brands- Amy and Brian’s, I had one with pulp, in a yellow can. While drinking it, I looked at the ingredients multiple times; being sure that sugar was added because it was so sweet. It had nothing added at all, except for pulp(not one of those 80% ones with sugar) but I think the 80% ones are a great alternative to drinking things like soda. Sometimes reading articles written by super health people can be misleading for the masses, as the health gurus do not understand how many people eat. I’m no expert, but seems to be common sense to me-sugar water/soda vs. Mostly coco juice w/some sugar added, yes, but hey at least you’re still getting potassium and electrolytes which certainly won’t be in any soda. By the way, I’d recommend checking out Alkaline water; I’m not too knowledgeable but, I’ve tried several and must say, they were delicious, smooth as silk and I swear made me feel great I think “qure” was one that was really good but should probably read up before diving in(human body should be ph balanced to 7.4 I think. Many alkaline waters are 9.5+ but depending on your diet, alkaline probably is beneficial)