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Do You Have a Sulfite Sensitivity?

According to the FDA, 1 out of every 100 people has a sensitivity to sulfites, a sulfur based preservative that occurs naturally or may be added to food. A sensitivity can develop at anytime, and reactions can be mild or life threatening. Symptoms of a sulfite sensitivity can include difficulty breathing, chest tightness, nausea, hives or even anaphylactic shock.

In 1986, the FDA banned the use of sulfites on fruits and veggies that would be eaten raw, but they are still found in many processed foods. Some shrimp and lobster contain sulfites to prevent black spots from forming, and they are also used to condition dough, and maintain the stability and potency of certain medications. Some other common foods that contain sulfites are baked goods, soup mixes, jams, molasses, grape juice, pickled foods, bottled lemon and lime juice, maraschino cherries, and dried fruit.

Look at the ingredients and you may see:

sulfur dioxide
sodium sulfite
sodium bisulfite
potassium bisulfite
sodium metabisulfite
potassium metabisulfite

Most (except for a few) wines contain sulfites. Yeast naturally produces sulfites during fermentation and most winemakers add sulfites to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. All wines made in the US require a sulfite warning label, but there are no such rules for wines made in other countries.

Fit's Tip: If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to find out more information about sulfite sensitivity.


Join The Conversation
ccy ccy 9 years
I get a terrible rash from head to toe when I consume too many Sulfites. Sulfites/Sulfa are in many Urinary and Kindey infection medications. That's how I found out I was allergic.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
YES. Sulfites/sulfa equals death for me. Sulfites slow slow, painful death. Sulfa fast painful death.
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
A few years ago I stopped being able to drink most wines . A friend of mine in the wine industry told me it was sulfites and recommended a few sulfite free wines. I never would have thought of wine as being something that has any kind of preservative or harmful chemical, but I guess you have to be careful of everything you put in your body.
Dany222 Dany222 9 years
Thanks for mom has terrible sneezing reactions when she drinks wine.
sammyli sammyli 9 years
Fitsugar, I'm so glad you mentioned this! I have an intense sulfite allergy - horrible hives and I'm stuck in bed for days if I eat food with sulfite.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
No...I don't think I got this...
gooniette gooniette 9 years
When I went to Italy, the wines there didn't have sulfites, which meant no wine headaches. Very nice. : )
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I think my mom does. Win makes her seriously ill. It's a bummer
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