Last updated on November 3rd, 2022 at 02:19 pm
Have you ever wondered, “Why Does My Mouth Taste Sweet After Working Out?”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been slightly freaked-out by that sweet taste in my mouth.
Some workout days you taste it, whereas other days you don’t.
There’s no rhyme nor reason to it, but it does seem strange.
In truth, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, and I’ll reveal this to you now.
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Why Does My Mouth Taste Sweet After Working Out?
The main reason your mouth tastes sweet after working out is because you’re going through ketosis. This typically happens when the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, so it burns fat instead. This causes a build-up of ketones in the bloodstream, which is what produces the sweet taste in your mouth. There are numerous causes for exercise-induced ketosis. These include your diet, whether you ate before your workout and what you ate, potentially if you took a pre-workout drink, and the intensity of your training.
1. You’re Going Through Ketosis
The main cause of that sweet taste in your mouth will be ketosis.
This is not something that most of us non-Keto dieters are used to, but it can definitely happen.
Ketosis is simply a process that the body goes through when it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy.
Obviously, we need to fuel our workouts, and this is typically done through using our glycogen stores.
As you perform certain exercises, glycogen binds with water and makes its way towards the muscles that are being worked.
However, you may get to the stage where your glycogen stores are used up (more on this in a moment), and therefore the body uses fat stores for energy.
As the body burns fat it produces ketones, which it will then use for energy.
Furthermore, as ketones build up in the bloodstream this produces a sweet taste in the mouth.
Okay, let’s look at some of the reasons why you may be going through ketosis.
2. Are You on a Low-Carb Diet or Cutting?
One of the main reasons you may be going through ketosis is because you’re on a low-carb diet.
You may be doing this for health, illness, or aesthetic reasons.
So, as an example, if you’re diabetic or prediabetic you will be avoiding certain types of food.
Basically, items like rice, pasta, white bread, refined cereals, and sweets will be off the menu.
In effect, you’ll be cutting a lot of carbs out of your daily life.
Then again, perhaps you’re looking to lose weight, burn excess body fat, or simply at the cutting-stage of your workout and nutrition goals.
When it comes to losing weight and burning fat many people turn to a variety of diets, such as paleo or keto.
The same can be said if you’re cutting, you will typically limit the amount of carbs that you eat during this stage of your nutrition.
All of these factors will have an impact on the carbohydrates available in your body to be used for energy.
So, it generally won’t take long for the body to burn through your glycogen stores when working out.
And this of course will send the body into ketosis.
3. Did You Eat Before Your Workout?
Okay, I’m sure there are many of you who aren’t on a low-carb diet and you’re not cutting either, and yet you experience this sweet taste in your mouth after working out.
However, ketosis isn’t simply a process that low-carb dieters go through, it can occur for any of us.
Remember, your body will go into ketosis once it’s used all the carbohydrates stores for energy.
So, there will be times that this can occur for us “normal eaters”.
From a personal perspective, I have often completed a workout fasted, and it may even have been a good 12 hours since I had my last meal.
So, if this is the case for you as well, depending on the type of workout you’re doing, you could be burning all your glycogen stores very quickly.
If you’re lifting weights this transition to using fat stores for energy can often manifest itself with the shakes.
Basically, you find yourself shaking during or after a set.
We typically believe this is happening because it’s a particularly hard set, but it could be a sign that you’re going into ketosis.
You can of course counteract this by taking on some carbs before and/or during your workout.
Again, depending on your workout, something like a banana or a glass of orange juice may suffice.
So, if you’re not on a specific low-carb diet, think about consuming a small portion of carbs prior to your workout.
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4. How Intense is Your Workout?
So, I’ve mentioned that you’ll start burning fat for energy once your stores of carbohydrates have been used up.
This can happen, even if you’ve eaten beforehand if your workout is particularly intense.
Funnily enough, I was reading more about this topic online and came across a couple of forums where people had experienced this “sweet taste in the mouth” phenomenon.
One person had just completed a P90X workout, whereas the other had smashed out a huge leg session.
I’m talking heavy squats, leg presses, and leg extensions, with a huge amount of volume.
Both of these workouts were extremely intense and therefore required a lot of energy to fuel them.
So, it is perfectly possible to have eaten beforehand, but then use up all your carbohydrate stores quite quickly.
Once again, the body will go into ketosis and this can lead to the sweet taste in your mouth following your workout.
5. Did You Consume Pre-Workout?
Funnily enough, while reading more about this subject I did come across someone on a fitness forum who had another theory.
The guy in question explained that not only did he have a sweet taste in his mouth, but a sweet smell also seeped through his skin following his workout.
His reasoning was due to his pre-workout drink.
I can’t say that I subscribe to this theory.
Admittedly, pre-workouts are typically full of artificial sugar (so carbohydrates) and caffeine.
So, in effect, this should be enough to avoid ketosis.
However, once again, it does come down to whether the person in question has eaten anything else beforehand and the intensity of their workout.
No matter what, you will always initially burn your carbohydrate stores for energy.
But, how long these last comes down to a variety of factors.
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6. Check With Your Doctor
Clearly, giving medical advice goes beyond my area of expertise.
However, there is one more obvious reason you could be going into ketosis, diabetes.
A type 1 diabetic is unable to metabolize ketones.
So, unfortunately once any carbohydrates have been used for energy, ketosis occurs.
But, a type 1 diabetic will simply see an accumulation of ketone acids in their bloodstream.
This may well explain the sweet taste in your mouth, but it’s not a healthy state to be in.
Then again, a type 2 diabetic may experience ketosis, ketoacidosis, or even severe hyperglycemia.
If you find that you frequently experience this sweet taste after working out it may be time to book an appointment with your Doctor.
This is especially true if none of the other factors above apply to you.
So, as you can see the main reason you have a sweet taste in your mouth after working out is because of ketosis.
This typically occurs when your body has used all it’s carbohydrate stores and is now using fat stores for energy.
Perhaps you’re on a low-carb or cutting diet.
Then again, maybe you are training fasted, or simply didn’t take on enough carbs before your workout.
Even if you did eat a decent meal beforehand, an intense workout will soon use up all your glycogen stores.
Finally, if this is happening on a regular basis I would recommend that you book an appointment with your Doctor, even if it’s just to rule out anything untoward.
While I’m on the subject of “weird things” occurring you’ll want to check out my article about working out making you feel hornier.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.