Which is better: Sugarcane juice or coconut water?

May 20, 2024 | 05:37 pm PT
I enjoy sugarcane juice for its refreshing and detoxifying qualities, while my wife prefers coconut water for its low calories and non-fattening properties. Which should we choose for summer hydration? (Nam, 30, Hanoi)


Sugarcane juice is appreciated for its natural sugars that provide energy and help alleviate fatigue, particularly after physical activity or during hot weather. It is enriched with essential nutrients such as calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and other soluble fibers.

However, a 240-milliliter glass of sugarcane juice contains about 183 calories and 50 grams of sugar, which is considerably high. An excessive consumption of it can thus lead to weight gain and is not recommended for people with conditions like diabetes, high blood lipid levels, or gout.

Pregnant women are also advised to consume it moderately to avoid the risk of gestational diabetes. Additionally, drinking sugarcane juice from street vendors may pose health risks due to potential poor hygiene in the handling and processing of the juice.

A coconut fruit placed on a wooden table. Illustration photo by Unsplash

A coconut fruit placed on a wooden table. Illustration photo by Unsplash

On the other hand, coconut water is an excellent drink for rehydration. It provides essential electrolytes, hydrates the body, helps maintain water balance, and can improve skin health. It is particularly beneficial for those recovering from diarrhea, vomiting, or heat stroke.

A 240-milliliter cup of coconut water contains about 46 calories and 10 grams of natural sugar, along with little protein and no fat, making it a lighter choice compared to sugarcane juice in terms of energy.

However, this drink is high in potassium, and excessive consumption of it can lead to lower blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney issues. Therefore, those with kidney disease or high potassium levels should avoid it. Diabetics, who need to regulate their blood sugar levels carefully, should also limit their intake.

Ultimately, you can enjoy either drink depending on your personal preference and health conditions, but it’s important not to replace plain water with sugarcane juice or coconut water. Alternating between different fruit juices like orange, guava, passion fruit, and watermelon can provide variety and additional nutritional benefits. However, plain water should always be your primary hydration source to maintain overall health and optimal body function.

Dr. Bui Dac Sang

Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Oriental Traditional Medicine Association of Hanoi

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