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 then taste 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. Few common reasons why that happens are:
• Water naturally containing minerals: calcium or iron, which can affect a sweet taste when abundant. This will be especially felt by people with more sensitive taste perception.
• Plumbing in your house can affect the way your water tastes.
• Your own body can be causing that taste. This could be related to something you’ve smelled or tasted not long ago. Also, mild dehydration can cause this mind trick.
• Sweet saliva can be a sign of developing more serious health conditions.
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. 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 in 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.
What should you do about the sweet taste?
As we know now, there are at least few reasons why water can taste sweet.
The different mineral composition and pH balance will answer the question of why, for example, tap water, bottled water, and purified waters will taste differently. Your choices here are to pick the one you prefer. Generally, RO water is slightly lower on a pH scale, thus can taste less sweet.
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. Because it’s hard to know what other contaminants might be inside tap water.
If it’s your new lifestyle choices, then there should be no big concerns. Just observe if the effects continue or disappear. Do some more research or consult a specialist.
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 reverse osmosis system.
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