Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Have you experienced problems with Sulphites?

eg in red/white wine, fruit juices, some processed foods eg GF beef burgers/ GF bread?

"Sulphites are naturally occurring substances found in some food and drink. They are also sometimes used as a food preservative. Food and drinks that are high in sulphites include concentrated fruit juice, jam, prawns and many processed or pre-cooked meals. Most people with asthma do not have this trigger, but some may. Certain wines can also trigger asthma in susceptible people."


11 Replies

Wines, spirits and Cider tend to contain sulphites, it is knowing which one is to blame that can be a problem however finding out can be fun.


Not if you have a severe allergy like myself - it would put me in hospital if I drank one without knowing x


I'm sensing a theme here Tony ; )

Has anyone had any testing for sulphite problems or did they try the fun route above to suss it out?


I had some testing and was diagnosed with sulphite allergy along with Chronic Urticaria at the same time


I have had my moments of fun being an ex-seaman, but now a coeliac my fun is rather restricted due to sensitivity so how do you test for sulphite intolerance as a coeliac can be intolerant to many things.


Well Tony in the art of research of course I have been experimenting for the group. Red vino with a mate and a severe hot red rash on the neck and enlarged stomach after a glass of sulphite red wine...I hasten to add I've had the red rash problem for as long as I can remember after drinking any wine yet it seems to be getting more severe as does the icky feeling. Has anyone here had sulphite testing? In the meantime I will google away...


To help your research out the first place to look is:

as gluten is responsible for DH as well as an alcoholic flush how do you decide if it is the gluten, the sulphite or the histamine?


Thanks Tony. Very interesting I had seen some online posts years ago that mentioned some wines may contain gluten and had thought it was mumbo jumbo. For simplicity I'm going to run with the advice in your link above that,

'For coeliac disease, assessment of the provided evidence indicates that wines and musts treated with hydrolysed wheat gluten are unlikely to cause an adverse reaction in individuals with coeliac disease provided that the provisional value of gluten considered by Codex Alimentarius for foods rendered gluten-free (currently 200 mg/kg) is not exceeded.'

So if we put to one side the gluten side then it leaves sulphites or histamines. I know I produce a lot of histamines as I've had allergic rhinitis for years. Plus wine has histamines in them. So the tricky bit as you say will be working out whether it's histamines or sulphites. I suspect keeping a list of what I eat and drink and reactions will be the only sure way to whittle it down. As many other Coeliacs have done as well.

In terms of Sulphite allergy testing I discovered that Allergy UK have a very handy guide here:

They pin down the main reaction symptoms as:

'The most common symptoms are wheezing (mainly in asthmatics) and skin symptoms, either from ingestion of sulphites, or skin contact with them from medications, cosmetics or at work or high levels of air pollution.'

As most people know when it's sunny in a big city and hayfever is in full force, wheezing and coughing can be a common side effect of all the pollution and pollen combined.


However, as they note it's often hard to test if someone is sensitive to sulphites.

'...allergy blood tests or skin tests for sulphite allergy are not generally helpful, and negative tests certainly do not rule out sulphite sensitivity. Patch tests can be helpful in patients with eczema / dermatitis.' pays to be a detective...

'The diagnosis is generally made by taking a full history and making the link between the ingestion of sulphite containing foods, drinks or medicines, and the production of symptoms. If the symptoms settle on a low-sulphite or sulphite-free diet, then this would support the diagnosis.

Occasionally, an oral challenge may be performed. The patient is given sulphites in capsule form and observed for the onset of symptoms; any reaction is compared to a similar test using placebo capsules. These tests are carried out under medical supervision.'

They do include a handy list of food additives that contain sulphites,

'E220Sulphur dioxide

E221Sodium sulphite

E222Sodium hydrogen sulphite

E223Sodium metabisulphite

E224Potassium metabisulphite

E226Calcium sulphite

E227Calcium hydrogen sulphite

E228Potassium hydrogen sulphite

E150bCaustic sulphite caramel

E150dSulphite ammonia caramel'

I'm sure many of these are familiar to many Coeliacs that consume processed free from foods especially 'gluten free' bread.


So I'll update on my detective work and I'm curious as to whether any other Coeliacs have already been down this path and found they do indeed have sulphite sensitivity and how they discovered this?


You ought to read Jethro Kloss, Back to Eden. He was a baker and herbalist who said that people were poisoning them selves with these modern breads with baking powders and additives and he predicted that in the future hospitals would be full of people with things wrong with them because of processed foods. He was an evangelist baker who would preach the old testament and Ezekiel in particular: Ezekiel Bread

"Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it..." Ez 4:9

I think that he thought that baking powder was like baking with liver salts (which it is) And I think that sulphites are a similar type of salt to liver salts. And this is why some poeple have problems with sulphites.


I have a severe sulphite allergy, it is terrible when you want to just pop out and get a drink or something to eat, reading labels in shops people look at you silly..... Then trying to explain it in restaurants, I think it's about time it was a more 'published' allergy!


I came across the most stupid thing today - A product that was listed as 'Sulphite Free' but when you read the ingredients it contains Asulfamine K - Do product staff not know what a sulphite actually is????


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