7

votes

Why do I have such an aversion to water?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

I'm trying to make healthier (more paleo) food choices but I have a strong aversion to drinking water and its making a negative impact. Here's the situation:
-Water only sounds good after a good hard workout where I've sweat A LOT and am really hot. Even then, a nice bubbly kombucha sounds more appetizing but I figure if I can manage to gulp down a glass of h20 without disdain, I better do it.
-I can sometimes drink a glass of water with a lot of lemon: juice of half a lemon per ~6 oz of water.
-In the morning, I wake up with a bit of dry mouth and the feeling of being pretty dehydrated. I try and take a sip of water but I just have to spit it out. I just can't bear to swallow it.
-I definitely have the impulse to eat when I'm dehydrated, and do, especially in the mornings which is something I was trying to get away from anyway. It usually ends up being a session of overeating thats composed of cheese, yogurt or bacon-y something because beef, eggs and coconut oil just do NOT sound good in the morning. I generally have to stop myself from continuing to eat by reminding myself it is just thirst and not genuine hunger.

Might something be going on? Suggestions?

Added: I also have to spit a lot. probably related.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 23, 2012
at 02:11 PM

This. A third of people are deficient in sodium, and if you're eating entirely unprocessed foods, you'll have even less salt in your diet than the average person. Notice how, when you're thirsty, you're going towards salty foods? And notice how lemon juice and kombucha taste good to you?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 23, 2012
at 10:02 AM

Sorry to hear, but likely it's some other issue, like too low stomach acid, a valve that remains open when it should stay closed, an allergy/sensitivity to something (for me it was both dairy and wheat.) Probably water is just what triggers the symptom?

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 15, 2011
at 10:13 PM

I'm interested in making Kombucha to add to my kefir for interesting drink choices, but my concern is that the commercial stuff has too much sugar (even the unflavored), like store-bought kefir has compared to homemade. Does it? Probably should make into my own Question... :-)

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:05 AM

Is it possible that you associate water intake with dieting and all the negativity that implies?

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:02 AM

I wonder if that is my problem--when I'm very thirsty, nothing seems to quench my thirst like diet soda. I think my brain associates satisfaction of thirst with carbonation and sweetness.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 14, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I like pretty much all my beverages room temp, except beer, which I rarely drink.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 14, 2011
at 07:14 PM

have you tried drinking it warm? i wonder if it that would make any difference.

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:43 PM

I'm going to work with this approach. Probably just a matter of appreciation. Kombucha has got me overstimulated and I need to get back to the basics. Thanks for the advice!

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:32 PM

Edrice- lol. but no! fish doing their nasty things somehow seems to add value to drinking water. probably adds magnesium or something.

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:31 PM

DJ-I'm drinking kombucha (about a bottle a day), zico coco water (least fav brand, but its all they sell nearby), some water (~1 glass/day) if its spiked with lots of lemon or sometimes I'll do some water with juice just so I can get some sort of hydration. Obviously, the juice is FAR from ideal so that's why I'm making attempts to get back to the straight stuff.

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:08 PM

+1 Sounds like a psychical problem to me too, your body has to like water. If not, there's probably something wrong! Water is the... water of life :D

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:07 PM

I also make a flavored water to drink cold: add cucumber slices, a sprig of mint and a few slices of lemon to a jug of water, let it sit in fridge for a few hours then drink - it is light and does not taste like 'water'. (Have also used just ginger in the jug). Endless flavorings can be used this way.

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:07 PM

I wonder, what *do* you drink?

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:05 PM

mmmm kombucha - the elixir of the Gods :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:04 PM

+1 - I have a similar problem so I'll follow this. I found green tea is helping and putting cucumber in my water makes it better. I don't drink anything else and wonder how dehydrated I really am.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:03 PM

me too! i got a camelback bottle for that very reason and now im finally drinking enough. 25 ounces goes down like nothing. and i HATE water.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:02 PM

Straws totally work for me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:55 PM

+1 for "self-discovery"!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:50 PM

You're W.C. Fields?

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16 Answers

best answer

7
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on June 14, 2011
at 04:28 PM

If I were you, I would go for a time drinking only water. Just decide that water is the only option ...be sure it's filtered, or the chemical taste will be a deferent. Chronic dehydration interferes with all of your body's processes, and can lead to major long term health issues. When water is your only choice, you will get used to it, and want to drink it. Eventually working up to drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily will be ideal. Good luck!

06325b762f78a2b8aaa977161cca4a1f

(539)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:43 PM

I'm going to work with this approach. Probably just a matter of appreciation. Kombucha has got me overstimulated and I need to get back to the basics. Thanks for the advice!

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:08 PM

+1 Sounds like a psychical problem to me too, your body has to like water. If not, there's probably something wrong! Water is the... water of life :D

6
77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:33 PM

I hypothesize that your brain is expecting a food reward from the consumption of liquids.

When my fiance and I first started living together, she swore that water without sugar did not quench her thirst. Of course, what was really happening was that her brain was expecting a sugar-based reward to accompany the quenching of her thirst. She had to treat it like an addiction, and thus overcome it in the same way that she has overcome other small addictions (like social smoking).

So, you need to undergo the unpleasant experience of uncoupling the quenching of thirst from whatever else your brain is expecting to accompany it. That probably means that, as mentioned above, you have to spend a few weeks avoiding all flavored liquids.

The upside is that you will acquire the taste of water for the same reason that you are currently averse to it: your brain will associate water's taste with the quenching of thirst, a good thing, perhaps good enough to qualify as a reward, albeit a very mild and modest one.

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:02 AM

I wonder if that is my problem--when I'm very thirsty, nothing seems to quench my thirst like diet soda. I think my brain associates satisfaction of thirst with carbonation and sweetness.

4
A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I find that if I drink it through a straw it's MUCH easier to down. I too don't care for drinking water...actually i'm hardly ever "thirsty" so it's something I really have to work at. I carry a stainless steel bottle and bought a stainless steel straw from amazon and let me tell you what..it made all the difference. Hope that helps.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:03 PM

me too! i got a camelback bottle for that very reason and now im finally drinking enough. 25 ounces goes down like nothing. and i HATE water.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:55 PM

+1 for "self-discovery"!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:02 PM

Straws totally work for me.

3
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Try making your own flavored waters (or aromatic waters as they call them in s. america)

I make several different kinds, it helps to change the flavors up and get that water in.

My version of chai tea: 2 clove, 1 cardomon seed, 1 piece of cinnamon stick, 1 decaffinated tea bag or toss in some loose tea. I fill a 1 quart glass jug with boiled water, cover let sit and steep.

I just keep refilling it with hot water, I leave it on the counter. You can drink it hot or cold. I've filled water bottles up with it for on the go.

Other ways to flavor water is: toss in a few cut strawberries, add lemon grass, spearmint or any other fresh herb you like (or fruit-pineapple, apple slices)

I top it off with hot water and let steep. Also keep this on the counter and keep refilling it with hot water as I drink it. I never actually eat the fruit, it lasts about 4 days to flavor the water continually depending on how many times I've topped it up.

You can flavor it however you like with whatever you have.

2
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Eat more salt and add tiny amounts to your water.

Paleo water had sodium in it. RO and distilled and most spring waters from the store don't.

You need salt to properly hydrate your cells, there is a book about it's called water cure.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 23, 2012
at 02:11 PM

This. A third of people are deficient in sodium, and if you're eating entirely unprocessed foods, you'll have even less salt in your diet than the average person. Notice how, when you're thirsty, you're going towards salty foods? And notice how lemon juice and kombucha taste good to you?

1
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on June 14, 2011
at 10:08 PM

Well unless there's something seriously off with your internal regulation, I don't think there's ANY need to drink water. You get a lot of water from food (even nuts have some water) and certainly any kind of beverage (including alcohol).

The idea that you need x glasses every day is a myth based on exaggerated estimates of how much water comatose patients need in their drip feed, where that is the ONLY source of fluid. Now, I've seen people report positive effects from extra water, so I'm open to more info here, but so far my understanding is that the body is exceptionally good at self regulation and will consume fluids as needed.

I doubt that early people had regular supplies of fresh pure water, and even where it rained or there were streams it probably wasn't available year around. We probably aren't biologically wired to need pure water for hydration. So not liking water is probably MORE "Paleo" not less :-)

But if you're looking for some fluid in the AM that isn't water, consider quality fermented drinks like kefir (especially home-made - that's my beverage of choice first thing) or teas and or coffee. Even a weak beer might work for some (not me though - operating heavy machinery - a car - and all that) - although beer might be more "Middle Ages" than "Paleo" :-)

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Tough call. Biologically speaking, aversion to water = you die. So I agree with the others that it is more a mental vs physical thing. Those can be harder to deal with though. You're probably need to do some soul searching and try and figure out why you hate water (are you linking it with someone/something you hated in the past?). Look into some of the research on breaking habits as well. Not sure how much we can help past that.

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on June 15, 2011
at 03:05 AM

Is it possible that you associate water intake with dieting and all the negativity that implies?

1
742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on June 14, 2011
at 05:45 PM

Water gives me acid reflux, don't ask me how, it just does.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 14, 2011
at 07:14 PM

have you tried drinking it warm? i wonder if it that would make any difference.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 23, 2012
at 10:02 AM

Sorry to hear, but likely it's some other issue, like too low stomach acid, a valve that remains open when it should stay closed, an allergy/sensitivity to something (for me it was both dairy and wheat.) Probably water is just what triggers the symptom?

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 23, 2012
at 10:21 AM

It might not be subconscious. It might actually be an aversion to water because tap water is disgusting (chlorine/metal taste), and filtered water contains no minerals and the taste is off.

When you add stuff to it, lemon, etc. you sense nutrients so you accept it.

I've found that going low carb paleo also leads me to the same kind of state - dry mouth, sometimes coated tongue, feeling thirsty but shunning water. When you go very low carb, your body needs more salt. (The reason for this is that glucose molecules hang on to water, which is why when someone goes on a diet and they restrict carbs they tend to quickly lose 8-10lbs of water weight. But in the long run, this causes dehydration, so we need to switch to something else: salts.)

Going VLC and low salt is a very bad idea. Of course, by salt, I don't mean commercialized salt where it only has sodium-chloride, iodine, and possibly something harmful like aluminum. Rather, go for actual sea-salt where you can get some trace minerals. Better yet, get some concentrated trace minerals...

I wind up going for coffee first, and then tea, in the morning, and that helps. The trick is that both coffee and tea have minerals, beyond the obvious caffeine and flavor.

One thing that has helped is adding concentrated trace minerals to water, and while the taste is weird (a little bit salty and bitter), I tend to like it more than just plain water out of the reverse osmosis filter.

Adding lemon/lime/cucumber to water, adds some flavor cues as to nutrients as well as trace amounts of minerals. (Lemons: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc. Limes: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese,Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc. Cucumbers: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc.) So I'm guessing you were drinking filtered water.

There was some speculation that HG's didn't really drink too much water, rather they got hydration from food (fruit, veggies, animals) and only drank water when needed. Then again, if you look at caves, they usually have pools/streams where the water is very high in minerals, and so we tend to store/regulate sodium, but not magnesium because magnesium was plentiful back then (and it isn't now.) So perhaps those theories aren't fully baked yet, but it makes sense to find filtered water unappetizing and dead.

Another thing I do is to use a sodastream to refill Pellegrino bottles, but I add several drops of trace mineral liquid to each bottle, otherwise it tastes off. So I suspect this is the same mechanism. (Let's see, I can buy a 1L of the real stuff at a grocery store for $4, or I can buy a 12 pack of 750ml bottles from Costco around $15, or I can refill them for pennies.)

Hope this helps, even if it's a year after your original question. :)

0
6907404591066f5d636eab20ba4d860e

on August 23, 2012
at 09:32 AM

Same problem here and I have experienced serious health problems as a result, kidney stones, kidney inflammation and it was a contributory factor to a pulmonary embolism. As well as just generaly feeling run down. I find flavouring the water with lemon, lime and / or cucumber is wonderful. Cucumber in particular seems to be beneficial for one's water works. I don't like to have too much lemon or lime all the time, but I know how much is enough by listening to my body. Prepare enough water for the day the night before by soaking half a cucumber in it, in the fridge if you like that, and have it on hand throughout the next day. It's something I have to make a real determination to do, but once I've made my mind ip the stress and uncertainty goes out of it. It's a strange condition, but one to take seriously.

0
20c518f9d33b0d04c7a19b8bb7487695

(195)

on June 14, 2011
at 10:36 PM

While I have no problem drinking water, I tend to drink lots of tea instead (not sweet). You need fluids, and while it may be the most desirable, it does not have to be water. Tes, especially green teas, are very healthy and I easily get a couple litres or more a day.

0
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 14, 2011
at 09:30 PM

my guess is you decided long ago that water was a substandard form of hydration. i have a friend who only drinks wine/beer and fruit juices and says water is meant for washing. as funny as it sounds, he's serious.

the human mind is powerful and if you decide that water is best for you and that a concoction made of bacteria and yeast is substandard, eventually you will adapt.

0
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on June 14, 2011
at 07:20 PM

I've also never been a fan of straight water, other than when I'm working out or hiking/backpacking. However, these have helped:

  • Flavor water with a little fresh-squeezed citrus juice, or just make a pitcher and throw some citrus or cucumber slices in.
  • Drink carbonized water. It goes down easier, and "feels" more like soda, without the nasties.

Just make sure that with either option, drink the water filtered, depending on where you live.

If you want to try your hand at carbonizing water at home, I wrote up a solution. It ultimately makes carbonized water cheaper than buying bottles of it, with no difference in taste.

0
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 14, 2011
at 07:11 PM

I have a terrible aversion to water, too. I hardly ever really feel thirsty, and I forget to drink water all the time. Things that help/ed me are:

  • filtered water, i have a filter on my kitchen tap. I can't drink unfiltered unless I'm totally dying - it tastes like a pool to me. ugh, gross.
  • i drink it at room temp, or warmer (many people think this is awful - but i hate cold water, unless it's 100 degrees outside or something. warm water is easier/feels better going down - and a second later, it's like it never happened, lol).
  • i keep a glass pitcher of filtered water on the counter all the time - it serves as a reminder for me, and it's at the temp i like.
  • straws, absolutely
  • herbal teas instead. - hot or iced (unsweetened, natch). in the summer i make it by the pitcher and keep it in the fridge.
  • cans/bottles of bubbly water - i can't really get behind this, but it might help you transition. p.s. i still do enjoy a can of lacroix pamplemousse sometimes.
  • i second the cucmber slice suggestion, fully. it's like magic.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 14, 2011
at 09:43 PM

I like pretty much all my beverages room temp, except beer, which I rarely drink.

0
E48833ca4e98b24f35191a02e84cc262

on June 14, 2011
at 04:59 PM

Meghan

I have a somewhat similar problem. I rarely find myself wanting to drink any water. Even at times when my mouth is dry, any water i do sip ends up giving me a a grainy feeling in my throat(probably the fluoride and/or minerals in the water), and i usually end up with nasal congestion afterwards. I quench my thirst with fruits and my beloved young coconut water(mad expensive though) which leave me less bloated and do the trick. Whenever i do drink water though, as with you its either after a quick workout or late at night in total darkness. i find drinking water that is room temperature has helped ease the nasal congestion post-consumption. i sometimes look up the temperature of the water source where i live(Potomac River) and gauge my drinking water temp around the same range, but these might be a little extreme..

Maybe you are already hydrated enough as it is through the foods you are consuming and are putting your body water levels at an excess, which might be why your spitting so much.

0
25329057c9d5f6364a74787c8c2302e7

on June 14, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I agree with RN. But try a few different things. MetroMint is a bottled water that is flavored with mint leaves only. You could try that as a segway. Perhaps if you break out of your chronic dehydration using Mint and Lemon water, your aversion will go away and you can go back to plain water. Also try mixing up the temperature. My girlfriend loves slightly warm tap water, which I maintain tastes awful. I prefer very cold.

You could also try mixing in a little unsweetened tea to give the water some flavor.

Lastly, forget sipping. You are just lengthening the unpleasant experience. Ever drink crappy tasting protein shakes? The easiest way is to suck it up and pound the whole thing. Try downing a large glass like you are a college senior and it is some luke warm PBR. Get it over with and get yourself hydrated.

Alex from PaleoPax

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