The dangers of sulphites

So what’s the big deal with sulphites? They are yet another assault on our toxic load that our bodies (more precisely our livers) must deal with. Our liver has so much work to do, it is forever working overtime! You may be having problems with them and not even know it.

Sulphites/sulfites are both naturally occuring and a food additive that Health Canada lists as one of the top ten priority food allergens. Sulphites do not provoke a true allergic reaction involving the immune system, but will cause similar reactions in sulphite-sensitive people – such as:
skin, digestive or respiratory problems, headaches, weakness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat and more. Sulphite reactions are more likely to occur and can be more serious in those with asthma.
Sulphites are a used as a preservative and prevent discolouration in foods, prolong shelf life and maintain potency of some medications. You are likely to find them in products such as;

  • bottled lemon and lime juices
  • vinegars
  • wines and beers (even non-alchoholic)
  • condiments
  • processed potato products, including french fries
  • dried fruits (ie. bright orange apricots)
  • canned and frozen fruits and vegatables
  • fruit fillings and syrups
  • jams, jellies
  • cereals, crackers, granola bars, muesli
  • deli meats
  • dressings, gravies, sauces, soup mixes

Sulphites/sulfites or sulfur dioxide are used as a preservative in wine. They have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Red wines contain naturally occurring anti-oxidants acquired from skins and stems during fermentation, so there is no need to add sulphur dioxide to them, but conventional winemakers often add it anyway. White wines and rosés tend to have greater amounts of sulphur dioxide added because they are missing naturally occurring anti-oxidants – they are not left in contact with their skins after crushing. This means they are more prone to oxidation. Sweet wines contain the largest dose. Organic wines are not allowed to contain added sulphites, but may contain naturally occurring sulphites (a byproduct of fermentation) at less than 20 parts per million. Wine made from organic grapes may contain added sulphites, so it is important to note the distinction between organic wine and that made from organic grapes if you want to avoid sulphites.


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