You may not want to loudly admit it across a crowded dinner table but – truth be told – you just don’t like water. You aren’t sure why. Perhaps you just find it dull or the metallic taste is off-putting?
According to Accredited Practising Dietitian, Maria Packard, there’s nothing wrong with not liking water: it’s totally normal. “Not liking water is usually just a matter of taste,” she says.
“Sometimes your preferences for water may change because your tastebuds change. You could be on certain medications or undergoing treatment – cancer treatment especially – which may impact your tastebuds. Then there are the hormonal changes, in particular, that may occur in women as a result of pregnancy which can change their taste preferences.”
“Not liking water is usually just a matter of taste.”
Whether you like the taste of water or not, one fact remains: water is essential for life and good health.
“Most of our body is made up of water, around 75 per cent,” says Packard, media spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. “Simply put, we need it for our body to function properly. And we need more of it in hot weather or when we are exercising to prevent us from dehydrating.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average Australian drinks less than recommended 1.29 litres of water a day. The NHMRC’s Nutrient Reference Values suggest that women should be drinking around 2.1 litres (eight cups) a day, while men should be guzzling 2.6 litres (11 cups) daily.
These suggested amounts, which include water from foods and non-water drinks, will vary depending on a person’s age, their level of activity and the temperature.
...Women should be drinking around 2.1 litres (eight cups) a day, while men should be guzzling 2.6 litres (11 cups) daily.
Feeling thirsty? Apparently, that means you're already dehydrated, says Packard. “Dehydration means your body doesn't have enough water to perform its normal tasks."
Signs of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, excessive sweating, diarrhoea and slow responses. "Or, people might tell you that you’re mood is always changing. You will be thirsty and have dark coloured-urine."
“When you get older, there’s also a greater risk of dehydration because you don’t tend to ‘feel’ thirsty like you used to when you were younger. That’s why many older people aged 65-plus miss the signs of thirst and get dehydrated very quickly.”
Like any health-related issue, the effects of dehydration can range from mild to severe, causing skin, digestive, joint, bladder and kidney problems, and in the most extreme cases, death.
Water consumption tips (for people who don’t like plain water)
If you don’t like the taste of water, what can you do to consume the recommended daily amount and avoid becoming dehydrated?
Packard recommends a few things. Firstly, start consuming food sources which are rich in water to top up your H20 levels.
“Milk, yoghurts, soups, fruits and vegetables all have a high water content, as do some rice and pastas,” she says.
Mineral waters and lightly sparking waters are also good to drink regularly as well.
“But if you just find plain water unexciting and don’t want the bubbles that come with sparking waters, try adding some fruit, herbs or a squeeze of lemon or lime to add a hit of flavour to your water. Adding a bit of mint, for example, can make a big difference to people’s perception of water and change the taste combination.”
“Keep a close on the added sugar content in flavoured waters."
Shop-bought flavoured waters are also a good option. “Keep a close on the added sugar content in flavoured waters. The ‘flavouring’ added to make the beverage taste different to water could be high in sugar. This can contribute to tooth decay and excess kilojoules.”
A healthy choice would be a flavoured water with an extremely low kilojoule level.
“Water has zero kilojoules so if the flavoured water does have a lot of added sugar, it will stand out when you read the nutritional panel. Look at the ingredient list as well to see if it has added sugars.”