Basically, coconut water is like natural Gatorade. Like Gatorade, it contains water, simple carbohydrates (or, sugar), and electrolytes (or, minerals). Compared to a sports drink made with refined sugars, artificial flavoring, and blue food coloring, I’d say coconut water represents a solid upgrade. However, the benefits of sports drinks—whether natural or artificial—tend to be somewhat oversold.
Most sports drinks are consumed by people who aren’t exercising hard enough to need electrolyte replacement or benefit from additional carbohydrates. They end up consuming more calories than they’re burning. Here are my general guidelines for sports drinks: If you’re exercising very hard for more than 60 minutes, or in extremely hot conditions, a drink containing sugar and minerals can enhance your performance. Otherwise, plain water works just as well—and saves you some calories.
Source: Nutrition Diva