Every type of sulfite has its own code: E220 for sulfur dioxide, E221 for sodium sulfite, E222 for sodium bisulfite, E223 for sodium metabisulfite, E224 for potassium metabisulfite, E226 for calcium sulfite, E227 for calcium bisulfite and E228 for potassium bisulfite. Only since the late 20th century, however, have we begun to connect sulfites to their health side effects. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Not only wine contains sulfites. About 5% of asthmatic population exhibits symptoms of sulfite allergy. If sulfites are a problem for you, it should be noted that white wines generally have more sulfites than reds. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Owing to these circumstances, FDA in 1988, made it mandatory to include a statement ‘contains sulfite’ on all the wine labels. This article uncovers some myths about sulfites in wine. The maximum legal limit in the United States is 350 mg/l. These cookies do not store any personal information. Cordials, fruit juices, beer, wine, soft drinks, instant tea. Symptoms you should watch for include typical asthmatic or allergy-style suffering: hives, headaches, itching, sneezing, coughing, swelling, as … Problematic side effects caused by sulfites are generally found in those with sulfite allergies and, especially, asthma. Although wineries have been using sulfites to preserve wine for 200 years, even the ancient Romans and Greeks used sulfites to sterilize. A well made dry red wine typically has about 50 mg/l sulfites. However, not all health hazards reported could be linked to sulfites. Some people lack the enzyme that breaks down sulfites in the body. Although many foods contain sulfites, wines are the most common source of sulfites. Headaches associated with wine, but not sulfites, seem to be associated with the histamines, tannins or grape skins. However, no studies prove the link between sulfites and headaches. If the headaches were due to sulfites, then white wine should induce even more severe headaches. In the absence of this enzyme the person cannot synthesize sulfites, which may lead to several allergies. Sulfites are sulfur-based preservatives that are used to prevent or reduce discoloration of light-colored fruits and vegetables, prevent black spots on shrimp and lobster, inhibit the growth of microorganisms in fermented foods such as wine, condition dough, and maintain the stability and potency of certain medications. Other potential side effects of sulfites have been reported as well, including hives, swelling, stomach pain, diarrhea, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction (1 Trusted Source). You've probably heard of red wine headaches and the suspected culprit, sulfites. For wine, there are “sulfite-free” options on the market, which means that there’s less than 10 mg/L of sulfites present. If you’re sensitive to sulfites, you’re more likely to experience breathing problems than headaches, though. That seems to be the question plaguing the minds of many wine lovers. What are the side effects of drinking wine with sulfites? Thus, even if you go for the finest wine available you can be sure that it contains some amount of sulfites in it. Also, wine is likely to spoil within 18 months, if it has not been preserved using sulfites. If you are an asthmatic with a known sulfite allergy, avoid wine entirely or consult your physician prior to drinking it. The most common side effect of sulfites in wine is an allergic reaction, or an aversion to excess sulfites. Surprisingly, sulfites in wine are surprisingly lower than a lot of processed foods. However, this picture is slowly changing as wineries in Europe have now started to adhere to international standards regarding sulfite content. Other liquids. Asthma-like symptoms are the most common reaction to sulfites for the small percentage of people (about one in one hundred) who have an adverse reaction to sulfites. Sulfites are naturally found in grapes, onions and other fruits. Oftentimes, ‘wine headaches’ are wrongly attributed to sulfites. If you’re still on the fence about sulfites in wine, know this: wine contains 10x fewer sulfites than most dried fruits! But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Hives, flushing, and rashes are a pretty non-specific reaction to irritants. Thus, it can be concluded that sulfites have nothing to do with wine headaches. While their reputation as the migraine harbingers isn't exactly deserved, they can cause other serious problems. The sulfites and histamines in wine might cause adverse effects, and they are the chemicals typically responsible for allergic reactions. Solution: Buy More Wine! 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