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Sulfites are a natural bi-product of fermentation that is present in all wine. Sulfites are a common antioxidant and preservative found in many commonly consumed foods.


Certified Biodynamic wine may contain up to 100ppm.

Certified Organic wine may contain up to 100ppm for red wine and 150ppm for white wine.

United States requires wine to be less than 350ppm, and any product over 10ppm must be labeled with "contains sulfites."

Australia prohibits more than 3,000ppm for all products.

To put that into perspective, 20ppm is roughly equivalent to adding one teaspoon of water into a 55 gallon drum.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

WHAT ARE SULFITES ​"Sulfites are inorganic salts that have antioxidant and preservative properties. Many compounds capable of producing sulfite, called sulfiting agents, have been used as food additives since antiquity to help prevent enzymatic and nonenzymatic browning; control growth of microorganisms; act as bleaching agents, antioxidants, or reducing agents," and more. (1) ​ ​ SULFITING AGENTS: Sulphur Dioxide Sodium Sulphite Sodium Hydrogen Sulphite Sodium Metabisulphite Potassium Metabisuphite Potassium Sulphite Calcium Hydrogen Sulphite Potassium Bisulphite Sodium Thiosulphate ​ ​ SULFITE USES: To prevent browning on fruits and vegetables To prevent melanosis on shrimp and lobster As a conditioner in bread dough To bleach some food starches and cherries As an antioxidant in cosmetics and personal care products To maintain the stability and potency of some pharmaceutical medications To discourage bacterial growth in wine To fumigate houses by the Ancient Greeks To sanitize wine vessels by the Ancient Romans

OTHER FOODS THAT MAY CONTAIN SULFITES: Bread Crumbs -- Cheese -- Chips -- Coconut -- Deli Meats -- Flour -- Fruit Bars -- Frozen Fruit -- Fruit Juice -- Gravy -- Ice Cream -- Jello -- Milk Chocolate -- Molasses -- Mustard -- Packaged Meat -- Pasta Sauce -- Peanut Butter -- Pickles -- Pie Crust -- Pizza Dough -- Pre-Cut Vegetables -- Protein Powder -- Sausage -- Shellfish -- Soda -- Starch -- Sugar -- Vinegar -- White Chocolate ​ ​ OTHER PRODUCTS THAT MAY CONTAIN SULFITES: Anti-Aging Cream -- Blush -- Body Wash -- Bronzers -- Eye Drops -- Facial Cleansers -- Hair Bleach and Color -- Hair Spray -- Local Anaesthetics -- Lotion -- Perfume -- Self Tanning Products -- Topical Medications -- Vitamin B Complex ​ ​ PRODUCTS WITH NATURALLY OCCURRING SULFITES: All Fermented Products -- Asparagus -- Chives -- Corn Starch -- Dried Cod -- Egg -- Garlic -- Leeks -- Lettuce -- Maple Syrup -- Onion -- Pectin -- Salmon -- Soy Products -- Tomatoes ​


WINE HEADACHES​ There are multiple reasons for headaches occurring upon consumption of wine: ​ ​ DEHYDRATION Alcohol naturally dehydrates the body due to the need for water to flush the toxins from our liver. If adequate water levels are not consumed, the body uses water already within the body. As the body becomes depleted of its water sources, a headache will begin to form. To prevent dehydration, for every serving of alcohol, consume 8 ounces of water. ​ ​ HISTAMINES People with common allergies may have headaches upon consumption of wine due to the release of histamines. Grape skins have allergens on them and through the process of winemaking the skins may come in contact with the juice. More allergens are released into the juice with longer skin contact, resulting in higher levels in red wine than white wine. Histamine blockers are helpful for people who have wine headaches due to allergens. ​

RESIDUAL SUGAR Sugar, more so when combined with alcohol, puts a toll on the body's digestive system, resulting in a need for high amounts of water. If adequate water levels are not consumed, the body uses water already within the body. As the body becomes depleted of its water sources, a headache will begin to form. Click here to learn more about residual sugar. ​ ​ SENSITIVITY TO TANNINS Sensitivity to tannins is common for many people who develop headaches more with red wine than white wine. People with sensitivity to tannins may also have headaches after consuming coffee and tea. Click here to learn more about tannins.SULFITE SENSITIVITY "Asthmatics that are steroid-dependent or have a great degree of airway hyperreactivity may be at an increased risk of having a reaction to a sulfite containing food". "Adverse reactions to sulfites in nonasthmatics are extremely rare." (1) "Sulfite sensitivity has also been linked to allergies. It is generally not found in persons who are both non-allergic and non-asthmatic." (2)



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

National Center for Biotechnical Information

The Asthma and Allergy Center (2)

University of Florida - Sulfites: Separating Fact From Fiction​ (1)


Date Published: August 24, 2020

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