Coconut water is a tasty, tropical beverage that can replenish electrolytes, hydrate the body, and provide for some much need refreshment on a warm summer day. Much like other consumables though, coconut water comes in many different flavors and varieties, and because of that, they can differ vastly both in terms of taste and nutrition. In this post we’ll be zeroing in on pressed coconut water in particular. As it turns out, the primary difference between pressed coconut water vs regular coconut water appears to be fat content, but there’s other subtle differences that may impact your decision making as well.
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a coconut that has been broken open.
Fresh coconut water can be drank directly from the fruit with a straw by breaking it open, but it’s most commonly consumed as a packaged product. The most common brand of coconut water would be the Vita Coco variety.
Packaged coconut water products can include added ingredients, like coconut puree, added sugars, Gellan gum, and ascorbic acid.
How Its Used
Because of its high potassium content, coconut water is often consumed by athletes and fitness enthusiasts who are seeking to replenish their electrolytes.
A single 16 ounce serving of coconut water packs a whopping 979 mg of potassium! This is 20% of the RDA.
Potassium is an essential mineral and an electrolyte that is responsible (in combination with other electrolytes) for managing the electrical pulses in the body that dictate blood pressure, water balance, and so on. Potassium acts as somewhat of a counterbalance to sodium. Sodium causes the body to hold on to water, whereas potassium causes it to expel water.
What makes coconut water so valuable in Western civilization is that our diets tend to contain far too much sodium and not nearly enough potassium. This electrolyte imbalance can have negative impacts on our health. The high potassium content of coconut water can aid in reaching our daily nutritional requirements.
Coconut water also has a modest amount of other electrolytes, like Calcium (6% of RDA per 16 ounce serving) and Magnesium (8% of RDA per 16 ounce serving.) However, as you’ll see momentarily, the nutrition contents can differ in pressed coconut water vs regular.
Much like nearly every other beverage that exists, coconut water comes in a variety of flavors:
- Peach and Mango
- Strawberry banana
- & More
Coconut water has a very mild flavor on its own, so when it’s combined with other flavors it can change its taste drastically.
Despite the difference in flavor, the difference in nutritional content isn’t as vast. The flavored varieties do tend to be higher in calories, which appears to be mostly because of added sugars. And when it comes to pressed coconut water, added fat as well.
Pressed Coconut Water
One of coconut water’s many varieties that stands out the most, because of how different it is in so many ways, would be pressed coconut water — particularly the Vita Coco brand.
On the surface, the pressed variety of coconut water may not appear much different than regular coconut water. However, there are some significant differences that set the two apart.
The primary difference between pressed coconut water vs regular coconut water is that the pressed variety contains the entire fruit of the coconut — with tiny bits of coconut flesh included — whereas regular coconut water contains only the clear, filtered water within the fruit.
Pressed Coconut Water VS Regular Coconut Water
Naturally, you may assume that there isn’t much of a difference between the two varieties of coconut water, considering that the only meaningful difference seems to be that one product includes fruit matter and the other doesn’t.
Despite the seemingly subtle difference though, pressed coconut water is different from regular coconut water in nearly every way. Let’s examine further.
Difference In Appearance
The most noticeable difference between pressed coconut water vs regular is its appearance.
Traditional coconut water products are typically clear and colorless, although they occasionally may have a hint of yellow — especially for the flavored varieties. However, pressed coconut water isn’t clear at all. In fact, it has more of a cloudy, milk-like consistency. This is believed to be due to the fat content of the coconut flesh that is normally excluded from regular coconut water.
The difference in appearance in pressed coconut water vs regular coconut water is so pronounced that they look like different beverages entirely. One looks like something you’d drink to hydrate yourself when thirsty, and the other looks like something you’d put in your cereal.
Difference In Taste
Another area where there’s quite a noticeable difference between the two varieties of tropical beverage is in how they taste.
Regular coconut water has more of a neutral, bland, and sometimes bitter taste. Pressed coconut water, on the other hand, tastes more like an actual coconut. The closest thing it can be likened to is coconut oil. If you’ve ever eaten a bit of coconut oil, it’s not too unlike what pressed coconut water tastes like.
As one coconut enthusiast noted, pressed coconut water tastes more like the fresh coconut water that you would drink directly from the fruit.
Let’s take a look at how the differences between each variety of coconut water impact its nutritional content. This is an area where the difference isn’t so stark, but it’s enough to take note.
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As you may have noticed, pressed coconut water has significantly more calories than regular coconut water does. It’s understandable that a 15 calorie difference doesn’t seem like much, but in terms of percentages, pressed coconut water has 25% more calories than its traditional counterpart. This can be significant when scaled up to several servings of the beverage.
Another noticeable difference is the fat content.
Pressed coconut water contains 1 gram of fat per serving, whereas plain coconut water has none. What’s more, the fat grams comes from saturated fat, which is believed to be because of the presence of the coconut’s fruity flesh. Coconuts are one of few fruit species that contain saturated fat.
If sodium content is of concern to you, then you may be disappointed to see that pressed coconut water has 75% more sodium than plain coconut water does. Regardless, it is still minimal (in terms of RDA,) and the abundance of potassium present in both beverages is more than enough to counteract it.
Aside from those minor differences, both pressed and regular coconut water are relatively similar in terms of nutrition.
Pros And Cons Of Pressed Coconut Water
Let’s break down some of the pros and cons of pressed coconut water vs regular coconut water. The variety you should choose ultimately depends on your own personal needs, so having a breakdown of the two can be beneficial in helping you decide.
- It tastes more like coconuts
- Has a sweeter, more palatable taste
- Slightly less sugar than regular coconut water
- Coconut water in general is relatively high in potassium
- Contains modest amounts of other essential minerals and electrolytes
- It contains more calories than regular coconut water
- Higher fat content — namely saturated fat
- Coconut water in general is relatively high in sugar
- Lack of fiber to blunt the insulinogenic response of the sugar
- High potassium intake may be associated with a decline in kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease [source]
The differences between pressed coconut water vs regular coconut water are plentiful when it comes to things like appearance, taste, and smell. However, the differences are a little more subdued when it comes to its nutritional content.
Pressed coconut water would be ideal for someone who prioritizes taste over nutrition. The pressed variety of coconut water is more palatable, making it the better option for mixed drinks and recipes. However, it should be noted that the addition of fat calories may have an impact if used as an ingredient.
Regular coconut water is better suited for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who prioritize hydration and electrolyte replenishment over taste. It would also be the wiser choice for anyone seeking to manage their weight, due to the reduced caloric and fat contents when compared to pressed coconut water. However, as previously discussed, the nutritional disparities between the two are minimal, and the added fat calories are relatively insignificant within the context of the RDA.
Despite their differences, both varieties of coconut water have plenty to offer in terms of taste and nutrition. This is a decision where there is no wrong choice. Make your pick and enjoy!