Water tastes the best when you’re really thirsty. Like after a good workout or if you’ve been outside in the summer heat and had no water handy. Water tastes so good that it’s even possible to say it’s… Sweet? Or there’s actually something in your tap water that makes it taste sweeter than it used to be?
To be more precise, it’s not some added sweetener that we’re talking about. Water can have different tastes. Sweetness can be felt as a subtle aftertaste of a mouthfeel. Just a hint. Some people can experience taste differently than others.
Usually, you feel the sweet taste because tap water or bottled water naturally contains minerals, such as calcium or iron. This will be especially felt by people with more sensitive taste perception. Or, your own body can be causing the sweet taste. This could be related to something you’ve smelled or tasted not long ago or you’re simply dehydrated.
There could be several reasons for such a cause. Some more serious than others but overall don’t raise an alarm too soon. The sweet taste can emerge from any source of water, be it a tap or bottled water. So let’s dive deeper and take a look into what can cause water to taste sweet.
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Detailed explanations of the causes
A certain pH balance
What is in your water makes it taste one way or another. The simplest and purest water form comes from distilled water. Distilled water taste can be taken as a baseline.
Minerals that are otherwise present in the water will create a certain pH. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a pH range of 6.5-8.5 for drinking.
Generally, higher range pH, that of 8 and above could feel sweeter. Some people prefer that taste as it works great for tea and coffee brewing.
Different mineral composition
This is related to the pH balance differences but most commonly appears when tasting bottled water. Every brand is doing something different and using different water. That’s why bottled water can taste sweet. Apart from the times when a sweeter is added, of course.
Springwater can have a pleasant aftertaste for some people. While RO purified and remineralized water will be preferred by others.
Plumbing in the house
A similar reason why tap water can taste sweet or metallic even has to do with pipes. Pipes are made of metal and over time some metal particles dissolve into water affecting its taste. When the water leaves the municipal treatment center it travels and gets further separated into smaller and smaller pipes until it reaches your house plumbing system and finally runs through the tap. Usually, there will be a number of different pipes, installed at different times. Also, water spends some time just staying in the pipes, for example at night. This is the time when the specific taste can be acquired.
Why does water taste sweet when you’re dehydrated? This is based more on anecdotal evidence that actual facts. But the short answer is this – water tastes so much better when you’re thirsty. Although it’s not common for every mouth. And the already mentioned pH balance can amplify this effect even more. That’s why pure and freshwater tastes even better than simple tap water.
Lifestyle changes and bodily signs
Have you recently done some lifestyle changes? Maybe you’re on a Ketogenic diet, doing detox, fasting, or anything else that you were not doing before? Taking new medicine? Your body is a wonderful adaptation machine, but if you change the inputs like food and water, then it’s only natural that there will be different effects.
However, there is a difference between water tasting sweet and a sweet taste in the mouth without drinking anything.
Don’t get scared immediately, you’re not sick. Read through and if these symptoms apply to you then consider contacting your medical treatment specialist.
A certain stage of diabetes can cause a sweet taste in the mouth. This disease affects the levels of sugar in the blood. It is a result of the dysfunctional way the body regulates insulin. However, it’s more likely that people with diabetes could be less sensitive to sweetness. Which would explain the cravings for anything with sugar.
Sometimes infections such as sinusitis can influence taste receptors in the mouth. This is caused by viruses or bacteria which affect the nerves. Since nose and mouth are closely linked in distinguishing tastes it’s possible that a disruption in sinuses can cause the taste buds to act slightly off. Altered taste can signify upcoming illness or linger after it’s gone.
Poorly balanced diets
Improper diet and hectic eating schedule can be the cause of sweet taste in the mouth and make you sick. In fact, any off-taste in your mouth signifies something about the diet, among other factors.
It might be a lack of certain minerals or vitamins that result in a sweet taste. Also, some foods might start to be more appealing than others. This is not a scientific fact, but some people tend to believe that craving for specific food signalizes the lack of certain nutrients in their diets.
Why does the water taste sweet when you’re thirsty?
There could be a couple of reasons.
If you have been eating foods with strong tastes such as bitter or sour recently or throughout the day, a drink of simple water washes over your taste receptors and refreshes them. Sweet taste receptor cells are among them and water revives them. That raises a sensation of sweetness. It could be ever so slight and it takes attention to notice that.
Also, there’s a purely psychological factor. A feeling that you’re thirsty means that your organism is craving for a drink. When you get one, be it soda or bottled water, the brain tricks you into thinking that it’s better than it actually is. That being said, choose water over soda, despite what your brain tells you.
You could argue that despite being thirsty, the water that you’re familiar with always has the same taste. It’s true. But, consider that between your teeth and in the mouth there are traces of what you have eaten. If it was a special sweet thing, the water removes and dissolves the sugary substance and the taste is back. It’s similar to the effect of brushing your teeth or using mouthwash and then experiencing altered taste for a while.
Can filtered water taste sweet?
If there’s something in your water that makes it taste sweet, then altering that water in any way will cause something to change. Water filtration would be one such way of changing the water.
However, if the reason for sweetness resides in your mouth as was stated earlier in this article, then a water filter will not do much. Just try drinking a few different types of water, like filtered, unfiltered, bottled water, and feel if there’s a difference. If your tap water does taste strangely sweet, then a water filter might be the option.
How to get rid of the sweet taste from your tap water?
As we know now, there are at least a few reasons why water can taste sweet.
The different mineral composition and pH balance will answer the question of why tap water, bottled water, and purified waters will taste differently. Your choice here is to pick the one you prefer. You can do some tasting of different waters by buying bottled water that was purified in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, RO water is slightly lower on a pH scale, thus will taste less sweet. The taste in distilled water will be the most different from any other water.
So back to the topic. If the issue arises from your house plumbing the answer can be twofold.
- First – flushing some water might help. Just let some tap water down the drain and taste again.
- Secondly – consider your own personal Reverse Osmosis system. A relatively inexpensive and simple countertop unit can solve all that. It’s a vise solution because it’s hard to know what other contaminants might be inside tap water.
How to get rid of the sweet taste from bottled water?
This would be a rarer event but it can still happen. As before, a way to change the taste is to alter the bottled water in some way.
- You can try changing its temperature by using ice cubes or putting the bottle in a fridge. Also, consider boiling water as that does change the structure of water.
- Apart from temperature, you can always add something to the water. Try squeezing a bit of lemon or dropping in a few berries that are on the sour side. Orange or other juicy fruit can also work. Pineapples are what some people prefer.
- Alternatively, some salt, a very tiny amount can do the trick as this will change water pH slightly. Just a little bit not to make water salty but to alter the taste perception.
- Carbonating water with a special device would also work because some extra CO2 will dissolve in it.
To sum up
So you notice that water tastes sweeter than ever. Are you drinking some unusual bottled water of some brand you’ve never tried? Are you dehydrated? If one or both answers are yes – there’s nothing to worry about.
- If it’s the same water that you’ve had before, especially if it’s your tap water, then pay some attention. This does not necessarily apply to bottled water as the same manufacturer can produce different batches or alter methods.
- Your lifestyle choices can make a difference in how things taste and it’s not a big concern. Just observe if the effects continue or disappear. Do some more research or consult a specialist if you’re worried.
Keep in mind the difference between the two. Is it the taste of water in your mouth that is different or is it your own saliva that tastes different?
- If it’s the second cause and it’s infrequent – you should be fine. This is not a website to give advice on personal health subjects, though. But if you notice that some strange things keep happening frequently, you might want to see a doctor for a proper evaluation.
As with many things, the taste can be acquired. While it’s easy to do nothing and simply get used to the default water taste in your tap. If the quality of water you’re getting is decent, that’s all fine.
Otherwise, the taste, smell and overall quality of tap water can be greatly enhanced by a water purification unit such as a reverse osmosis system. The cost and other benefits far outmatch continuously buying bottled water.
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