Why Does My Water Taste Sweet?

You know you’re meant to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but what about when it tastes sweeter than it’s supposed to? You may be surprised to learn that a great many factors may affect the taste of water. 

Possible Nonmedical Causes of Water that Tastes Sweet

If your water tastes sweet, it turns out that a wide variety of circumstances can explain why.

Your last consumed meal

The last thing you ate can affect the taste of water, especially strong or distinct flavors. 

If you had something sweet a little before taking a sip, you might just be getting a hint of the sweetness from your delicious treat in your water. 

Sour foods, like lemons or anything containing citric acid, can also make your water taste sweet.

Your water source

Every water source has different mineral contents, so they all may have a slightly different taste to a discerning palate. For example, bottled mineral water tastes sweet due to its alkaline nature. Tap water, too, can have a distinct taste. 

If you’ve just moved to a new location, you might notice a slight difference in the local water, including sensing that the water tastes sweet.

In most rural areas, the majority of water from taps is well water. Wells are a natural source of water, but most of the time, well water contains minerals and other impurities. High amounts of calcium and iron, for example, can cause the sweet taste of water. Some people like this sweet taste, but installing a water filter or reverse osmosis system is a good option if it bothers you.

Your other senses can cause the sweet taste of water

Ever need to turn down the music in your car when you’re navigating complicated driving directions? Your senses are more interconnected than you might think. 

And while it may seem odd, a strong or pungent smell can overwhelm your taste buds and make your water taste sweet. This effect on taste by your sense of smell is usually temporary. You can even experiment with it by slicing an onion, which has a powerful smell. Take a strong whiff of onion, then a sip of water. You might notice the water tastes sweet. 

Your plumbing

Your plumbing could be the potential reason behind the changed or sweet taste of water.

A sweet taste of water usually occurs due to the above normal concentration or presence of iron or calcium in water. Flushing your pipes regularly may help keep them clean and preserve your water’s natural taste.

Tap water that has been contaminated by lead pipes can taste sweet. This type of water contamination is a very serious issue and can indicate a public health risk. You can purchase a lead test kit to rule this out, but if you suspect this is the case, contact your local water company as soon as possible.

A mineral imbalance or impurities

Tap water includes a variety of minerals, such as iron, calcium, potassium, and others, depending on where you live. 

Some minerals and heavy metals can present in high concentrations in tap water, and someone with a sensitive taste palate may discern a range of flavors in their drinking water.

Water is made up of oxygen and hydrogen, but minerals from the ground may dissolve in your water. These minerals or impurities, such as iron and manganese, can change the way water tastes, including making it salty or sweet. They can even darken the color of the tea and coffee you drink, and stain appliances and clothing.

A pH imbalance

A pH imbalance can also affect the taste of water, among other things

Typically, drinking water has a normal pH. However, if pollutants, minerals, or salts contaminate the water, it may cause a high pH level. 

To avoid this, consider installing water filtration equipment, such as reverse osmosis, in your house’s water system.

Possible Medical Causes of Water that Tastes Sweet

Here comes the fun part! Low-key you wanted some medical reason for the sweet taste of water, right? Don’t worry, I’ve been there. So here are some medical reasons why water may taste sweet to you.

Nutrient deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can also cause sweet water. 

Nutrients such as vitamin B-12, zinc, and vitamin D play a vital role in maintaining your sense of taste and smell. If you think you might have a nutrient deficiency, talk to your doctor about incorporating a daily multivitamin. 

Diabetes

It’s probably something sweet you ate earlier, but water tasting sweet can also be a sign of diabetes. Because of the hormone imbalance resulting from diabetes, your body cannot regulate sugar levels. This causes a sweet taste in the mouth that you may think is coming from your water. 

Bacterial growth in the mouth

Ever heard of “morning breath”? Humans wake up with tons of bacteria in their mouths. Sometimes this bacteria may alter the taste of food and water. The first sip of water, even if you are rinsing your mouth, tastes sweet.

A simple mouth rinse should eliminate this sweet-tasting effect, but if not, you may want to brush your teeth or use alcohol-based mouthwash. By maintaining good oral hygiene you can easily avoid this problem.

Infections

An infection or virus that affects the ENT area could be why you suddenly notice that water tastes sweet.

Infections that clog your airways can interfere with your brain’s messages to your taste buds, disrupting their proper function and causing you to experience odd taste and smells, or even to lose your senses of taste and smell altogether. 

Even minor infections can increase the glucose in saliva, causing a sweet taste.

Rest assured that when the rest of your body has recovered from the infection, your taste buds usually will too. 

Sensory dysfunction

Sensory dysfunctions can have different effects on taste in the mouth. In some cases, you may not sense any taste at all, while some people have a sweet taste throughout the day, and in other cases it just comes and goes.

Sensory dysfunction can happen if a person has recently suffered a stroke or otherwise has an underlying medical condition.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is well known for altering a number of normal human functions. It can also cause a sweet taste in your mouth, making your water taste sweet.

Due to changes in the body’s hormones during pregnancy, the digestive system also changes, and this can cause cravings and weird tastes, including sweet water.

Medications and medical treatments

Let’s be clear that every medicine you take has some effect on your body, though some have a stronger effect than others. 

Medical treatments like chemotherapy disrupt a number of normal body functions. Taste is commonly affected by chemotherapy, and while every person reacts to chemo differently, if you’re undergoing chemo treatment and tasting sweetness from your water, it could be that. But there are other medications where drinking water can make you nauseous.

If you’re concerned about any of your medications, please be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

Why Does Water Taste Sweet When I’m Thirsty?

Water often tastes sweet when you’re thirsty. A number of reasons can explain this. To start with, if you’ve been eating sour or spicy foods that make you need to drink water, and your taste palate is jammed with that flavor, a single sip of water will taste sweet. This is because water revives the sweet taste receptor cells by washing off the spicy flavor, which in turn produces the sweet taste.

Water tasting sweet when you are thirsty can also be psychological. After dehydration, a sip of fresh tap water can release happy hormones from the brain to enhance the thirst-quenching experience.

How Can I Remove the Sweet Taste from Water?

Water is not meant to have a sweet flavor. However, if you have sweet-tasting water, you can take steps to remove the sweetness. This way, you won’t always have to wonder, Why does my water taste sweet?

  • Plumbing can be one of the reasons for sweet-tasting water. A thorough rinse can solve this issue. To begin, flush out your house’s plumbing system. If you don’t see any difference, have your water tested by a certified laboratory.
  • Install water filter equipment to your house’s plumbing system to filter out the organic and inorganic contaminants and excessive mineral content.
  • You can also attach a carbon filter to your water supply. Carbon filters are excellent at enhancing the taste of water and eliminating unwanted flavors. They usually remove naturally occurring minerals to remove taste and improve water quality. You might also consider a filtered water cooler if a whole-house system isn’t an option.
  • Aeration can also prevent water from tasting sweet. You can install an aeration filter in your water system, which will remove iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese, giving you clean drinking water. It’s the best way to remove these contaminants without any chemicals. If your water source is a well, then this is exactly what you need.
  • A pH imbalance could also be making your drinking water taste sweet. Install a pH neutralizing filter to the plumbing system of the whole house. It’ll reduce the corrosion problem in the plumbing, improve the taste of water and maintain ph level of your water.
  • A reverse osmosis system is also an option to make the water tasteless and remove contaminants, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), consuming filtered water regularly can create health issues because it also removes necessary minerals and nutrients from the water, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and bicarbonates, vital for good health.

Conclusion

If you’re concerned about your water quality or notice a sweet taste, try following the steps mentioned above. Maintain good oral hygiene, eliminate pH imbalance, install a reverse osmosis system (RO) or water filter to remove mineral deposits from pipes, and eat a healthy diet. 

If you do all those things and you’re still having issues with the taste of water, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying serious health issues.

Learn more about water treatments here.