Zico Coconut Water

Zico Coconut Water

Water, water, everywhere, and so much of it stinks. These days, it seems like every beverage company is hocking its own special version of H2O that promises consumers a transcendent hydration experience. Since it's the sultry season and Houston tap water leaves much to be desired, I have been on the lookout for alternative "waters" that quench my thirst without a mineral aftertaste, provide a little extra nutritional something-something, and require no work on my part (sorry, Brita filter).

But, alas, most of those snazzy bottled waters taste like diluted Gatorade. Although Glacéau "Vitamin Water" seemed promising, the rainbow assortment of flavors only reminded me that this beverage is enhanced with more than just Vitamins B and C. (The artificial colors are hardly the only superfluous aspect of this product--see also the gratuitous accent. Wankers.)

I had all but given up on manufactured waters when a recent issue of Us Weekly covering a certain celebrity's rapid weight loss alerted me of yet another option: coconut water. Yes, it's insufferably trendy, but it's also natural (no quotations needed) and "healthier" (so they say) than plain water. Fourteen ounces has about 60 calories and as much potassium as a medium-size banana, not to mention electrolytes and a smattering of sugar for flavor.

So I tried plain Zico coconut water ("light essences" flavors like "lima citron" and "pomberry" are also available). Its impressive nutritional profile and boastful slogan (Zico: Miracle of hydration and replenishment) made it seem light but powerful. Perhaps, I mused, this beverage is the key to that elusive seven-minute mile.

But before testing it during a road race, I thought I better just pair it with dinner. My immediate reaction was that it hardly resembled "real" coconut, because I have been brainwashed into thinking those artificially sweetened flakes taste like the actual fruit. After a few more sips, I concluded the flavor was somewhere between stale vodka and skim milk that had absorbed the flavor of soggy cheerios. The sweetness factor of coconut water is definitely underscored by stronger fibery notes. And though the consistency is sufficiently close enough to regular water to satisfy thirst, it does not induce that "ahhhh," lip-smacking sensation.

The next morning I swished a few mouthfuls of Zico before jumping on the treadmill. No moments of warp speed, just slow and steady as usual. But, hey, no complaints here: It worked for the tortoise.


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