9 Toxic Coconut Water Brands That Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be

Coconut water is one of the purest liquids in the world – a healthful gift straight from nature and the perfect alternative to sugary, chemical-filled sports drinks. It’s low in calories and high in nutritional value. This magical natural beverage has become so popular as a health drink that you can find it lining the shelves in just about any food store.

The explosion in sales has a downside though. It means that there have been some unscrupulous dealers who have jumped on the coconut water bandwagon and if you like to live green and clean, you may just find that some of the brands you are buying don’t really have all the benefits that make coconut the health elixir you’re looking for.

Harmful chemicals and processing methods can ruin coconut water’s natural benefits and even make it toxic. That means that not all coconut waters on the shelf are created equal. If you want to experience the healing, hydrating and energising powers of coconut water, you need to get it in its most pristine state. Reputable coconut water manufacturers won’t be afraid to give you all the facts about their production, going all the way back to the source. Here are some of the things to look out for…



1. Using Mature Coconut Water

Green literally is better when it comes to coconut water. Waiting for the coconut to ripen doesn’t make the water more nutrient-rich as you may think, as the nutrients from the water seep into the coconut flesh as it ages. Older coconuts are better for making coconut milk and coconut flesh products. Older coconuts are cheaper for the manufacturer to buy so it’s a tempting way to save money. The older water also begins to lose its fresh, nectar-like taste, so if you want that delectable flavour and the most nutrient rich drink, make sure that your coconut water comes from nuts between 5 – 7 months old.

2. Using Coconut Concentrate

Some manufacturers heat the water up and then reduce it to syrup – a concentrate which can be ‘reconstituted’ by adding water. Importing this syrup is cheaper. The high heat used to reduce the water is very damaging to the nutrients and enzymes in the water, so not a good idea. Check that your water is not made from concentrate or reconstituted.

3. Pasteurisation

This delicate drink  needs to be treated with loving care to preserve its brew of healthy nutrients, ideally being kept as cool as possible. However, the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to prevent it from denaturing is to heat it to high temperatures, pasteurising it to kill any possible bacteria. That means that coconut water concentrates may have been heated twice. Doubly damaged coconut water.

4. Added Flavours & Sweeteners

If you are truly getting young, fresh coconuts, they taste delicate, sweet and so refreshing, but if a manufacture is using more acidic, older coconuts, or heated or concentrated water, they may add ‘natural’ flavours or sweeteners to enhance the taste. Once you have tasted the real thing, your discerning taste buds will definitely notice the difference.

5. Added Preservatives

Apart from preservatives listed on the bottle, many non-organic coconuts are preserved for transportation using chemicals such as formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite. These chemicals are thought to be cancer forming so having them leech into your health cocktail doesn’t make sense at all.


(Via nutriunify)

C2O: They use high heat pasteurisation of up to 120°C with the product in their cans and use steel and aluminum cans, both of which can leech into your water.

Coco Libre (Organic): If something is labelled organic, always look deeper. They use coconut water from concentrate, flash pasteurization with heat and also add Natural flavours.

Cona Zona: The label says it’s made from concentrate.

Goya: They made major efforts to fight GMO labeling in California. Suspicious no? They use heat pasteurisation with added preservatives, including sugar.

Naked Juice Coconut Water: This is a Pepsico brand and they use water from mature coconuts, and flash pasteurise using heat. They have been sued for using synthetic substances and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their produce, as well as been caught out using deceptive labelling.

O.N.E. Coconut Water: Another Pepsico brand that uses flash pasteurisation with heat and their coconut waters contain natural flavours and added sugar.

Purity Organic: Another ‘organic’ labelled brand that doesn’t really live up to the concept. It uses concentrate and flash pasteurisation with heat.

Vita Coco: Label their water as “100% pure,”, but pasteurise their coconut water with heat and add sweeteners. Their Café version contains carrageenan, which is thought by some to cause major gut health issues.

Zico: This Coca-Cola company is a big GMO supporter. This coconut water is made from concentrate, pasteurised with high temperatures, and has natural flavours added.

Quite honestly, your best bet is to crack open a young green coconut straight from a tree and drink it au natural if you want to experience tropical magic as close the original as possible. However, us urbanites can enjoy the next best thing:



Raw C

Raw C’s approach is:  crack, pack & send! They use the freshest coconuts, younger than 7 months old and don’t sneak anything like sugars, syrups, additives, concentrates and stabilisers into their water. They also make sure they use packaging that is BPA-free.





The CoCos-Pure range is made using the fresh juice of young, single origin Thai coconuts, with no chemical additives or sweeteners.





This brand pride themselves on their honest quality. They make their water from young coconuts and don’t add anything – no preservatives, sugars or additives.





Dr. Martins


With all the goodness coconut has to offer, and from controlled, organic sources wherever possible and no nasties, Dr Martins’ coconut products are some of the best you’ll get your hands on


(Source: nutriunify)

28 Replies to “9 Toxic Coconut Water Brands That Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be”

  1. Hi Renee,

    Just wanted to say that this is a very interesting article!

    I have been drinking Coconut water as an alternative to other more damaging drinks for about 2 & a half years now, as part of a lifestyle change where we started eating more Raw & Natural.

    However, coconut water was quite limited in its presence in SA at the time. I tried to bring in a product that we had while in Thailand. Its called Refresh by UFC. It really was one of the best tasting I’ve ever had to date. & because UFC are a local Thai company whose objective is to support the agricultural industry, I’d be interested to know the process they go through & whether it is also a ‘bad’ product. If not, its definately worth a look, as the majority of us struggle to source quality at an affordable price. & this limits the potential for us to substitute using this great product (that being coconut water in general).

    Let me know if you are interested in getting in touch with the suppliers, I can probably get in touch with them again if you like. Just want affordable coconut water for all in SA.

    Thanks for the info.

  2. I’m so happy this article has been published, I was never sure of the brands I saw in the shops and online. I currently purchase a brand called Coco V (distributor in Johannesburg), do you perhaps have any more info on that? And also on Coco Zone (distributor in Cape Town) please?

  3. Could you elaborate on natures choice and hydro coco coconut water, whether that’s a good or bad product to consume?

  4. What is the verdict on PURElite Pure Young Coconut Water? – sold at Fruit and Veg City Food Lovers Markets

  5. Thank you SO much for that! I love cocnut water and am incredibly grateful for this research you have done.

  6. Any news on the Purelite Coconut Water from VIetnam sold by Food Lovers Market. I know they add vitamin c/abscorbic acid but im not sure if that constitutes good or bad coconut water.

  7. Hi ,
    thx for the article. I was wondering how the few trusted brands on your list preserve the raw coconut water if they don’t pasturise or add preservatives.

    Cheers mike

  8. Thanks for the great info. I stumbled across something very concerning on the Raw C coconut water packaging though. They have covered up the original label with a new one and in the old label it lists GLUTEN on it!!! I’m also pretty sure the label used to also state it was organic, which it no longer does. Please could you look into the gluten issue!??

    1. Hi Brent. Definitely something worth looking into – we will get in touch with the supplier and let you know what they say. Thanks for your inquiry!

  9. I believe that the information contained here is biased. Most of the brands that are “ok” to drink are sold on FTN, and rightly so (according to them) since they want to sell their products. What about other brands, like Woolworths coconut water? And how does one go about finding out as to which are pasteurised vs those which are not? It’s not like any of them state specifically as to their pasteurisation practices.

    I understand about coconut water from greener younger coconuts being healthier. But I am of the opinion that the information contained here is biased.

  10. If it is made from concentrate, it’s pretty much useless to your body. So it’s good you point this out. Also if you need to add sugar then what’s the point of drinking coconut water.

    The fresh green coconut’s water is definitely the healthiest choice.

    Nature’s Choice also used to have a decent brand of coconut water (in a small glass bottle), sometimes mixed and sweetened with added pineapple juice.

  11. Thanks Renee, you didnt mention Eastern Highlands 100% Coconut Water. Ive recently bought some bottles of it and it tastes suspiciously artificial. Having lived in the east, I’d drink fresh coconut water daily, but this tastes extremely unlike the real thing! Theyre pretty cryptic on their packaging… which leaves me to believe theyre trying to mislead the public.

  12. Thank you for the article. I wonder if anyone has any information on this.
    My 12 yo son has high levels of uranium in his body, discovered on a recent heavy metal test. We tested out well water and it all is fine, negative on all heavy metals. I am trying to understand where this is coming from.

    Due to a dairy sensitivity we have a lot of coconut in our diet for years now.
    He loves coconut water (have been purchasing coco libre and harvest bay) and coconut milk (So Delicious).
    Is it possible that the harvesting and production of these products in countries like Vietnam, with lesser environmental controls and have a lot of uranium under ground and perhaps being mined. Maybe the production facilities themselves are near contamination areas or could the coconut trees themselves absorbing uranium?
    When i asked Harvest Bay for testing results, the only thing they produce is either tests to a metallic can packaging, or ecoli and other bacteria tests.
    Radio silence on heavy metal tests. I am tempted just to test (but would be very expensive) coconut water/coconut milk with a consumer food environmental lab.
    Any thoughts from anyone?

  13. Thanks for the article!

    Are you sure your information about aluminium cans is correct? As far as I know (I work in the engineering/materials industry), there are strict regulations for cans. They are coated inside with a polymer coating, specifically designed to prevent aluminium leaching and corrosion. They are also designed not to breakdown and get into the food/drink.

    Just double check that before you scratch off that brand.

  14. What is your opinion on the brand, “Harmless Coconut Water”? Thank you for all of the information you have given thus far.

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