Where Do I Go From Here?


The most dangerous sulfited foods are white wines and dried apricots. If you do poorly with both wine and dried fruit, a sulfite problem is strongly indicated. If wine and dried fruit don't cause you much trouble, you probably don't have to worry about sulfites. When you suspect a sulfite allergy or intolerance, the logical thing to do is try avoiding sulfites. If this helps you to feel better, you have made a great discovery. Sensitive people have many different reactions to sulfites and sulfur dioxide including typical allergic symptoms like hives, rosacea, facial swelling, throat constriction, leg cramps, digestive upsets, headache and allergic shock. Many diseases are complicated by sulfites including asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, G6PD deficiency, heart arrhythmia, irregular blood pressure, thyroid and liver problems, Marfan syndrome and Behcet's vasculitis. If any of these symptoms or diseases is not under control, you might try avoiding the major sources of sulfite as suggested by the following chart.

Easy List of Foods to Avoid

Age

Avoid for Reduced Sulfite Exposure

All Instant potatoes, dried fruit, lemon juice concentrate, molasses, taurine, biotin, fastfood french fries, hash browns or pizza, plus any food with a label that declares sodium sulfite, bisulfite, metabisulfite or sulfur dioxide.
Infant Formula made with corn syrup, corn syrup solids or maltodextrin, cereal made with dried fruit, juice sweetened with white grape juice
Child Super size colas, gummy worms, coconut candy and fruit roll-ups
Adult Wine, beer, wine vinegar, guacamole, coconut drink, sulfa drug, MSM


This chart will not eliminate sulfites and sulfur dioxide from your diet but it will reduce your daily sulfite load and the allergic stress you place on your body. Many allergic diseases like asthma are strongly associated with sulfite sensitivity. In a Japanese study at Doai Memorial Hospital, 65% of asthmatics displayed a heightened sensitivity to sulfites even if sulfites didn't trigger asthma attacks directly. This suggests that sulfites may be deeply involved in the allergic cycle of chronic disease. If your family history puts you at risk for developing allergy, asthma or other chronic conditions, avoiding sulfites may be a prudent preventative measure.

What can you eat? The following table is a list of foods which are usually sulfite safe and very low in natural sulfur dioxide. If you read food labels to avoid the major demons and eat mostly safe foods, you are on the path to an elimination diet. Once free of sulfites, you can establish a base from which new foods may be added and tested one at a time.

List of Sulfite Safe Foods

Meal

These Foods Reduce Your Exposure

Break Shredded wheat, puffed rice, white bread, milk, orange juice, coffee, sugar, cinnamon, honey, milk or cream
Lunch Plain bagel, margarine, butter, kefir cheese, avocado, sprouts, tuna fish, plain yogurt, white or sourdough bread, chicken topped salad, rice vinegar, Burger King Whopper without onions or cheese
Dinner Salad topped with meat or chicken, rice vinegar dressing, spaghetti with plain basil sauce, chicken basted with fresh lemon, frozen or fresh squash, carrots, okra, corn, eggplant, green beans, baked potato with butter, Ore-Ida frozen french fried potatoes, plain rice
Dessert Plain yogurt (no starch, no gelatin) sweetened with honey, Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream (not Dreyer's and not reduced fat), shortbread cookies, plain sugar cookies, fresh peaches with milk or cream
Snacks Dates, pineapple, macadamia nuts, fresh fruit (except grape), Ritz, Triscuit, plain potato chips, plain corn chips, plain pita chips, Fritos


If avoiding the major sulfite demons improves your health, congratulations. Keep up the good work and be very careful to let your doctor know you have a sulfite problem. Double check to be sure your doctor does not prescribe a sulfa drug as medication. Classical sulfa drugs are antibiotics like Bactrim and Septra used to treat strong infections. But they have other uses too, like Celebrex used to treat arthritis or hydrochlorothyazide (HCT) used as a diuretic. Carefully read the prescription inserts before taking any new drugs. The claim by most medical professionals that sulfite and sulfa allergy are unrelated is simply not supported by the experience of those that write to my website. And most definitely, I am sensitive to both.

If avoiding the major demons is helpful but not enough, you may wish to visit the No Sulfites Store. Here you will find additional information and some handy items for people with more extreme cases of sulfite sensitivity. These include supplements that can increase your tolerance and a book for the very sensitive. If you have questions regarding sulfites, I am happy to answer email.

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