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Meet the Hydro-Haters: The People Who Refuse to Drink Water, No Matter What

The world is full of Odell Beckham Jr.'s, regular folks who risk severe dehydration (and nasty orange pee) to avoid H20 at all costs

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hates water so much he’ll fight through painful cramps rather than hydrate. “When you get that stomach — it’s all slushy,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to stay hydrated, but sometimes I just gotta get an IV.”

Lori Cheek, however, has him beat: She’s landed in the ER three times due to severe dehydration — she simply refuses to touch the stuff. She’s been carted off in an ambulance after fainting at the gym, after suffering a panic attack and after experiencing extreme exhaustion from a minor cold — but she says she still won’t fall for Big Water’s scare tactics. “Even if there are absolutely no other options [besides water], I usually just opt to not drink anything,” she tells me.

Overall, I spoke to plenty of people who simply don’t drink water. Most hate the taste. Some grew up on juice and soda. Others depend on flavor enhancers for every glass they’re forced to down. Yet more have coffee with their workouts. A few have wine.

“Adequate hydration is necessary for literally every aspect of your physical health,” dietitian Kelsey Peoples says. “It helps your body regulate its temperature, allows your kidneys to filter waste appropriately and is needed for regulation of muscle contractions, normal heart function and brain function.” Moreover, people should be drinking “about 1 milliliter of water per calorie they consume — so someone on an 1,800-calorie diet should get at least 60 ounces.”

The hydro haters know this — they just hate water too much to care. So how did they come to hate water so much, and what do they do to, you know, not die? Some answers below…

Lori Cheek, creator of the dating app Cheekd

I can only drink it when I’m about to seriously dehydrate. I can’t describe the taste, but I dislike it so much that when I know I should be drinking it, I have to force myself or convince myself I need it. If I do drink it, I almost have to shoot it so I don’t taste it — like I just try to get it over with.

Moreover, I put all sorts of stuff in it to make myself drink it, like Emergen-C, Crystal Light and other flavored hydration tablets, because I can barely force myself to drink it plain.

Even if there are absolutely no other options, I usually just opt to not drink anything, which is how I’ve gotten myself in trouble hydration-wise — I’ve ended up in the ER three times over the past 20 years from dehydration! The first time, I was at the gym and should have been hydrating while working out but didn’t. My heart started racing, and I got really lightheaded and got rushed to the ER.

The second time, I had a really bad cold and wasn’t hydrating. The third time, I went into a full-on panic attack because I couldn’t breathe. All three times were terrifying, and I didn’t know what was wrong until I got to the hospital and hooked up to an IV, which cured everything. I needed liquid.

Chris Riley, owner of the food blog the Daring Kitchen

I’d rather quench my thirst with castor oil than have to take a sip of water. I remember really not liking it from about six or seven and tended to drink a lot of milk as a kid. I’m now in my 30s, and it makes me feel sick to the stomach when I see people constantly “hydrating” with big, huge bottles of mountain-fresh spring water (shudder).

For me, it’s the taste, or lack thereof, that I find so unappealing. Especially if it’s straight out of the tap: It has a very metallic and almost moldy taste to it. Although it’s not so bad with bottled water, it’s enough to put me off. I’ve kept myself alive by adding Robinson’s Fruit Shoot to nearly every drop of liquid I’ve consumed.

Plus, I drink quite a bit of milk every day. If I’m on a long car journey, I’ll bring a large bottle of diet soda, so I’d say I keep hydrated regardless.

Basically, I’d rather be a bit thirsty than drink water. Now, if I were stranded in the Mojave desert for two weeks with no liquid refreshment and I was about to die, then I’d probably take a glass.

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Alex Schmiggy

I hate drinking plain water. The taste is different everywhere you go, and it feels slimy doing down my throat. And so, I’ve found lots of ways to get around having to do so: I brew tea and chill it to make an icy brewed beverage. In the summer, I brew my tea outdoors under the sun. It’s easy and tastes better than plain water, or I use Nuun or Emergen-C. Some people are probably against these products, but they flavor my drinks and have vitamins.

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Khalilah Long, communications manager in Washington, D.C.

When I intend to go get a drink of water, I opt for juice or wine instead.

For example, I love yoga. But instead of water, I’ll bring a glass of merlot for breaks. Don’t judge!

Water tastes like nothing. Why would I drink nothing? What’s the point?

Ever since I can remember I’ve disliked water. I started drinking Kool-Aid for the flavor or soda when we had it in our house. Water was just so boring, tasteless and never quenched my thirst. I remember being at Girl Scout camp at 10 years old, filling my canteen with water, going on a hike, and at the end of the hike, my canteen was still full of water. I was so surprised that all the other girls drank all their water. Yuck!

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed negative repercussions. I hate to be too personal, but I’ve noticed my pee is very yellow. My mother says it’s because I don’t drink enough water. And I’ve been told the reason my skin gets oily is because I don’t drink enough water. Still, it hasn’t urged me to commit to drinking more water.

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Jenny Powers

I’ve hated drinking plain water my entire life. As a kid, I always drank juice, the sweeter the better. Back then, parents assumed all juice was healthy so I was able to get away with Hawaiian Punch, Capri Sun, all that stuff. Once I was around 8 or so, I started with soda, and most of my life, I drank Coca-Cola. But once I realized how bloated it made me and how much weight I was putting on, I quit cold turkey and moved on to Diet Coke, which tasted like poison. I thought it was good for me, being “diet” and all, and it was still better than water.

A few years ago, I began seeing a nutritionist who told me to cut out all carbonated drinks and to switch to water. I wanted to cry. I hate water. “It tastes like nothing,” I told him. It doesn’t matter if I add a wedge of lemon or lime or even cucumber, I still hate it.

I buy three or four bottles of MiO water enhancer at a time. I mainly drink the fruit punch flavor and always carry it with me. I use it in the house, on the go in a water bottle and at all my meals.

I will only drink plain water at the gym or if I’m dying of thirst and there’s nothing else available. It has to be really hot weather and really cold water for me to really want to drink it. To me there is no flavor, just a temperature. I taste the cold or warmth of the water. That’s about it.

The only water I can’t stand is Evian. It has a greasy kind of taste to it. If Evian is all that’s available, I’d rather go without than drink it. Last week I had a personal training session at the gym and grabbed a bottle of Evian, I took a sip and had to swallow it in a gulp like medicine. I then threw the rest away and went without water during my workout.

Alberta Sequiria, writer in Massachusetts

If it’s loaded with ice cubes, I can take it. My mother also hated it, so that might’ve led to my parents not having me drink water daily at a very young age.

I’m told by my doctors how important water is to our system: It cleans your system out of bacteria, keeps your bowels moving, cleans your skin and even keep you from getting bags under your eyes. Most importantly, for me, being a diabetic, it flushes the sugar out of my body and prevents kidney stones. Still, I’ve had numerous procedures with kidney stones and frequently get leg cramps from not having enough water in my system.

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Kristy Finch, media director in Chicago

Totally agree with Odell Beckham on this one. I hate drinking water. I’ve worked out my entire life but never drunk water before, during and after my workout. I’d get made fun of at my gym because I would come into workouts with a venti six-shot Americano from Starbucks. (There’s water in coffee… right?)

It’s tasteless. Water serves only as the conduit of flavor for coffee, juice, lemonade, cocktails, flavored water, tea, etc. I guess I’d compare it to eating a chicken thigh as opposed to a chicken breast. Thigh has so much flavor; breast has no flavor. So why eat the breast?

Because water is “supposedly” so good for you, I tried to drink water with lemon in it, but there was no way I could drink eight glasses a day. I’d drink it slowly throughout the day, then, after a few days, just give up on the mission completely. I’m not sure I could drink eight glasses of anything in one day.

I’m 56 years old and consider myself pretty healthy; so does my doctor. I weigh 118 pounds, I exercise five to six times a week — never drinking water before or after, unless coffee counts. People think I’m younger than I am, and I feel great.