SULFITE BREAKDOWN

Monday, August 24, 2020

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. 

SULFITE REGULATIONS:

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.

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)