Staying Hydrated with Coconut Water?

Published On November 3, 2010 | By Tomás Bosque | Articles, dehydration

A couple of years back Dr. Timothy Hollingshead experienced firsthand the hydration benefits of coconut water while traveling down a tributary of the Amazon River in a dugout canoe.

The former podiatric surgeon was searching remote areas of Brazil for acai fruit sources to be used in a drink produced by his St. George-based company, Dr. Tim’s Juices. Although he had served a mission for his church in Brazil many years earlier, Hollingshead discovered that he was trying to stay hydrated in the equatorial climate.

Some Brazilians traveling with Hollingshead inspired him to try some coconut water they had with them. He claims the positive results were speedy.

Immediately I felt better, he says. My thirst was gone. I stopped sweating. I got my focus back.

It was then he realized that he could do something commercially with coconut juice.

Upon returning to the U.S., Hollingshead began researching coconut juice, which is present in young coconuts. It isn’t the same substance as coconut milk, which is culled from the fruit of more mature coconuts.

During his research, Hollingshead revealed that coconut juice had been employed as a temporary intravenous drip during World War II because the juice contains lots of the same characteristics as blood plasma. The IV stem would run from the coconut itself through tubes to a needle in the arm of an infantryman.

“It’s sterile so they were able to stick an IV stem in there”, he indicated.

Hollingshead began working on assorted formulations and at last developed ISO-5, a sports drink like Gatorade, where coconut water is the first ingredient. The three major coconut water drinks include Vita Coco, Zico and O.N.E.

Vita Coco incorporates a few stars among its investors while Coca-Cola has a minority stake in Zico and Pepsi distributes O.N.E. In some states. Hollingshead says his product is a grassroots rival with room to grow in the rapidly developing market.

“Coconut water is really a growing trend right now”, he said. “Coconut water is going to play a vital role in the hydration market in the years to come.”

Like other sports drinks, ISO-5 contains electrolytes needed for rehydration like potassium and sodium. Kristeen Bybee, a diet therapist for Dixie Regional Hospital, says coconut water has substantial amounts of both potassium and sodium.

In addition, coconut water has a low quantity of sugar with only 23 calories in a half cup. This is one aspect where coconut water is not like coconut milk, that it has 276 calories in a half cup and 29 grams of fat. Coconut water is largely fat free, Bybee asserts.

ISO-5 starts to make inroads in professional athletics through one outstanding ice hockey team. Hollingshead claims the Chicago Blackhawks the defending Stanley Cup champions have been using the drink for three seasons now.

Dr. Tim’s Juices is even working with the Blackhawks’ trainers and their dietitian to develop a new protein drink called Pro ISO-5. Hollingshead says this drink fuses the electrolytes from coconut water with protein for better cellular uptake.

We will be able to use less protein and get more of an effect than in a conventional protein drink, he asserts.

However, one problem sportsmen have noticed with coconut water is that the heavier fluid seems to sit in their stomachs, Hollingshead claims. With his company’s coconut water beverages they discovered a way around this difficulty by developing a system called cryoflux, which freezes the water out of the juice to create concentrate from fresh coconuts in the source nations. The process preserves the bioactive constituents, the flavor and color of juice from any fruit, according to Dr. Tim’s website.

Dr. Tim’s Juices imports the concentrate from the source states and manufactures it here in St. George, creating a lighter drink than other coconut water drinks through this process.

Hollingshead asserts other benefits include about half of the sugar content of standard sports drinks and a 100 percent natural chemistry. Yet it comes in a variety of flavors like Gatorade or Powerade.

When comparing the product to other coconut water drinks, Hollingshead claims ISO-5 is lighter, better-tasting and more functional than its bigger-named competitors. He says those benefits will help them compete with the larger brands as Dr. Tim’s Juices grows.

The company just signed its 1st acquisition order Wed. with Kehe Food Distributors, a nationwide distribution company.

Dr. Tim’s offices are found a little to the south of Dixie State University and the producing plant is in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park south of Bloomington Hills.

Scott Van Orden, the chief operating officer for Dr. Tim’s Juices, says the company hopes to be in a position to create local jobs as it grows.

Its products can be found in about 1,000 retail stores countrywide and through Utah at supermarkets like Harmons Food store, many Albertsons stores and some Associated Foods outlets like Lin’s.

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