OK, You Can’t Eat Everything

So, I lied – there really are things you can’t eat.  Well – technically you CAN choose to eat them – but we all know what happens then, don’t we?  There are things that are going to make you sick, and we might as well face it – you can find a way to get all the tastes and wonderful, various food types you crave – but some ingredients are definitely not welcome in your body.  I have compiled a list that is as complete and as correct as I can determine with all the misinformation, confusion and conflicting lists out there.  Feel free to ask me to add to this list if you find something I have omitted. I have tried to make this comprehensive and I tend to err on the side of caution, so you may not react to all of these foods, but it is a good place to start when you are first trying to discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Also, many people can ultimately add some foods back in once they improve their health, gut health and reduce inflammation (I know I did!). Some people are ok with high sulfur foods, the more sensitive among us are not. Ultimately there is no one list that can tell you what to eat and what not to, as each of us reacts somewhat differently not only from each other, but also under different circumstances.

Foods high in naturally occurring sulfites and/or sulfur:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Soy
  • Cheese (including sour cream and cottage cheese – but not ORGANIC yogurt or milk)
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs (they are high in sulfur,which the body converts to sulfites then sulfates – well not your body. Some people can tolerate eggs, others not so much.)
  • Maple syrup
  • Black tea – something happens in the fermenting process
  • Black pepper – again, it is fermented and that produces naturally occurring sulfites
  • Vinegar (many people are just fine with an organic apple cider vinegar – I know I am)
  • Fermented foods in general  (I have heard of some folks making their own fermented products, but I am not there yet)
  • Pork (I am not 100% sold on this one, but it is on many lists, so I am adding it just in case)
  • Salmon (again, I’m not sold, but proceed at your own risk)
  • Foods in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) these are high in sulfur and many people react – but some do not – you will have to find your level of tolerance. This includes root veggies in this same family such as radish, rutabega, turnip, jerusalum artichokes (also called sunchokes) and rapeseed (or canola oil). These are also known as crucifers or the cabbage family.
  • Foods in the lily (Liliaceae) family (asparagus, chives, leeks, onions, garlic, lilies – yes some are edible). Again – high in sulfur and you may or may not react – I can eat a small amount of lily but not any garlic or onions, and I find most people cannot tolerate those, which is why I highlighted them on this list
  • Foods in the Rosaceae family – this one I hesitated to include, because only about 50% of the folks I know react to this family – it includes strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, almonds and plums. Check your own reactions on this one – I TOTALLY react to all of these.

Foods with added sulfites:

  • Any wet processed corn product (including corn starch, high fructose corn syrup and some corn flours)
  • Sugar (organic cane sugar is OK – beet sugar is sulfited to bleach it to that “natural” white color)
  • Baking powder (the main ingredient is cream of tartar, which is a powder that is a by product of wine making, so you know there are sulfites in that!)
  • Shellfish – (sulfites are sprayed on to avoid “black mold” – and they do this ON THE BOAT, so unless you get it live, don’t risk it)
  • Dairy products (those vitamins they add? sulfited…..)
  • Potato starch and/or flour
  • Precut, dried or otherwise processed potatoes – (go figure that the potato growers had a strong lobby when we were outlawing spraying sulfites on vegetables back in the 80s!)
  • Grapes (they are sprayed on the vine in the US to prevent mold, which is a “process” so they don’t have to tell you. This includes organic grapes– sulfer is considered OK by organic standards.)
  • Gelatin  (the processing includes sulfites)
  • Dried fruit (you CAN find dried fruit without sulfites, but you need to check very carefully)
  • Popcorn (anything at a movie theater is going to have sulfites, as is the microwave stuff)
  • Caramel coloring (this is produced by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high temperatures and pressures. What is produced is known as 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole. To add to the fun, those are also carcinogens….)
  • Maraschino cherries (the cherries are bleached with sulfites, and then dyed to be that red color)

Foods that may or may not have sulfites:

  • Bread (you have to read the ingredients vigilantly!)
  • Chocolate (check for sugars, flavors, chocolate liqueur, corn or potato starch, milk products)
  • Wine, beer and most spirits  (they do not have to tell you what is in beverages by law, so it is difficult to tell what liquor is derived from or what is added)
  • Frozen fish – sometimes corn starch is put on frozen fish to keep it from drying out
  • Nuts – In the US they spray an anti fungal on processed nuts and often anti fungals are sprayed on the tree when the nuts are growing. This may have sulfites in it.
  • Bottled water (I have also read that tap water has sulfites added to it to prevent rust from developing inside the pipes leading to our homes because sulfites prevents oxygenation. That’s right – the very basis of life is what sulfites prevent – makes you feel better about avoiding them, no?)
  • Molasses (I do not eat unsulfered molasses, but some people can – I find that even the low levels of sulfites in any molasses triggers a reaction.)
  • Canola oil (this one is highly debated, but I cannot tolerate it – I avoid GMO products as much as possible) Canola oil is actually rapeseed oil and it become rancid very quickly. They add “deodorizers” to it so you cannot smell the rancidity. Additionally canola oil goes through a process of caustic refining, degumming and bleaching. I cannot find exactly what they use for this process, but you and I both know what many things are bleached with – and even if it isn’t sulfites, it is some nasty chemicals adding to your toxic load.
  • Salt – iodized salt is sulfited, stick to sea salt)
  • Pepper (anything pre-ground likely has sulfites (to prevent clumping), but if you grind it fresh you should be OK – except black pepper, which produces naturally occurring sulfites in the fermentation process – green and red should be ok, though)
  • Herbs – use organic and whole leaves instead of powdered. Sulfites are added as anti-clumping agents in many powdered herbs and you just don’t know what they are spraying on there in the non-organic variety
  • Yogurt – yogurt itself is OK, just be sure to check for sugars or gelatin
  • Non organic meats (you can get sulfites from whatever GMO feed they give the animals, in some countries it is injected with citric acid to keep it red and then there is this nasty stuff called meat glue used to hold together roasts and such)

Other Culprits:

I admit – there are lots of hidden sulfites in the food (or “food”) we run into on a regular basis. However – some of it isn’t so very hidden. Some of it they tell you right up front – so pay attention and read the labels. Some of the things you need to look for are:

  • Sodium Sulfite   (Na2SO3)
  • Sodium Bisulfite   (NaHSO3)
  • Sodium Metabisulfite   (Na2S2O5)
  • Sulfur Dioxide Gas   (SO2)
  • Potassium Metabisultfite
  • Calcium Sulfite
  • Potassium Bisulfite
  • Calcium and Bisulfite

In Australia there are different labeling laws than in the US, so check for the number codes as well:

220 — sulphur dioxide
221 — sodium sulfite
222 — sodium bisulfite
223 — sodium metabisulfite
224 — potassium metabisulfite
226 — calcium sulfite
227 — calcium and bisulfite
228 — potassium bisulfite

Reading between the Lines:

It would seem pretty straight forward to avoid anything with the word sulfite in it, but it is trickier than that.There are lots of ingredients in your food that can have hidden sulfites because they don’t really have to list ingredients of ingredients, or list sulfites if they are considered part of a “process”. Which adds to the fun. Other things you need to look out for include:

  • Citric acid
  • Lemon/lime juice concentrate (seriously, I don’t know where this stuff comes from, but it is one of the WORST things you could have!)
  • Natural flavorings (yes, sulfites can be considered to be “natural”)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Polydextrose
  • Fructose
  • Caramel color (also called E150a)
  • Food coloring
  • Tea bags – the cloth is bleached in sulfites to whiten
  • The pads that come under packaged chicken – it is illegal to sulfite meat, but apparently this is a loophole
  • Herbal tinctures – I have not yet found ANY alcohol based tincture that does not have its alcohol base made from a corn alcohol. That being said, I make my own using Absolut.
  • Temporary ingredients – companies are allowed by law to use existing labels if they are changing an ingredient short term because the normal ingredient is not available. Yes, they are.

416 Responses to OK, You Can’t Eat Everything

  1. ange says:

    Just to comment on Salmon – I’ve had farmed and line caught salmon, and can eat the latter. I’ve concluded its something to do with the coloured food. So wild caught canned salmon can be okay.

    • Tracy says:

      I have often wondered about salmon, but haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet. I thought it also might be that they feed the farm raised salmon corn and that might be part of the problem.

      • Denise says:

        farm raised salmon are feed fish meal pellets. I know because my husband & son feed farmed salmon. Fish meal pellets are made from ground sardines, anchovies, mackerel and other small fish. I don’t know if the fish meal also contans sulfites but I know food colouring is added to processed farmed fish to change it’s pale flesh to a brighter pink salmon colour.

      • Melinda says:

        If it fresh go for it i have had this alrgy for about 2 years now

    • Martine says:

      In Australia some of the caught seafood which is to be sold as fresh is treated with sulfites onboard the fishing vessel as a preservative. This could explain why sometimes there’s a reaction but not always. Also why you can eat canned and frozen but not fresh.

  2. Keith carver says:

    Wondering if you (or anyone) might know if there is info available as to which national chain restaurants use sulfited foods (produce, potatoes, soups, salad dressings, etc). Seems no matter what I do to avoid, there’s something that frequently hits me by surprise like a ton of bricks, or a ton of sulfites.



    • Tracy says:

      No need for a list – they ALL use sulfited foods. Any precut potatoes will definitely have sulfites. Same with soups and salad dressings. You also have to add in that many people react when they are in a place where foods with sulfites are being cooked. I cannot be in a place that is cooking onions, garlic anything in the mustard or lily families or anything with chemically added sulfites. If I go out to eat I will bet a plain steak with a plain baked potato and add my own herbs and/or salt. Either that or I go for sushi and just eat sashimi – which gets old quick when you can’t have the ginger, wasabi or soy sauce.

      Restaurants are very difficult to go to. I have worked extensively with chefs at a couple of restaurants when it was going to be a special occasion – but it took a lot to be sure everything was safe.

      Hope this helps!


      • Sue Courter says:

        Bob Evans restaurant has listing that tells what allergans are in each menu item. This includes sulfites.

        • Denise says:

          Restaurants in the USA should all have ingredient lists these days. you can always ask for a copy.
          I had to do that when my tongue began swelling after eating 2 bites of Chinese Citrus Chicken Salad from Panera Bread. Although no Sulfites are listed in the salad, there was a disclaimer at the bottom of the paper for allergens; May come in contact with Wheat, Milk, Peanut, Soy, and Sulfites.
          One week later I was baking a Banana Cake from scratch & had the same reaction on my tongue. It turns out that the Lemon Juice from a bottle that I mixed with the mashed bananas has Sulfites!!

      • patsie says:

        tracy, the same for me. it wasn’t this way in the beginning but it has evolved to the point i cannot even be near any place where sulfited food is being cooked or just heated up. when they have potlucks at work, i have to take the rest of the day off. i can’t be in the room with the heated up food. in the past few weeks i’ve lost 14 lbs because all i can eat are fresh picked carrots and tree top applesauce. treetop does not add sulfites to their applesauce or applejuice.

    • Marienus says:

      I have a friend with a severe reaction and we have found that we could talk with the manager in Earls and find something that they could make for her. Communication is the big thing to eating out, try talking to the manager or the cook.

  3. Ana Cartagena says:


    I have had a lot of these symptoms after I eat, especially after I was given medication I was allergic to. Hoping my body will rebound a little bit since it wasn’t as serious a reaction to foods a couple weeks ago. Thank you for this site, it is a great help to not feel crazy anymore. I am fine with cutting out sulfites, but gluten and wheat is a problem too, anyone have ideas for food options when options are so limited?


    • Tracy says:

      Hi Ana –
      I actually gave up gluten a couple months ago as well because I just don’t feel as good when I eat it, so the newer recipes won’t have that. Have you tried rice pasta? Check out my recipe for socca bread – it is made with chickpea flour and is super easy to make.

      And you are definitely not crazy – although this allergy can make you feel like it sometimes!


      • Patricia Brantley says:

        Hi Ana,
        I totally get it, and it’s a pain to read every little fine print label and the companies are so confusing with what they say etc. There are a lot more foods out there now that are being “unprocessed” because the meat companies are realizing that we had all that added nitrites and nitrates etc., when we didn’t have adequate refrigeration (back in our grandparents days). Trader Joes does pretty good labeling things. Watch out for corn because it has all been really messed up by big companies and a lot of stuff that says gluten free will have corn instead.

      • Joëlle says:

        Hi everyone,

        I don’t know if I have already passed this information on (if indeed I have I apologize for being redundant) but I once found this on a potential connection between sulfites and gluten:
        From http://www.sott.net/article/205172-The-Dark-Side-of-Wheat-New-Perspectives-on-Celiac-Disease-and-W
        Here it goes (I quote) “GLUTEN – SULFITE connection

        What gives gluten its adhesive and difficult-to-digest qualities are the high levels of disulfide bonds it contains. These same sulfur-to-sulfur bonds are found in hair and vulcanized rubber products, which we all know are difficult to decompose and are responsible for the sulfurous odor they give off when burned. ”
        Again, I am not a scientist… Really wish I were…

        • Tracy says:

          Hi Joelle-
          Great information, thanks for sharing!


        • Mike says:

          You don’t need to be a scientist to read studies, though having a background definitely helps. Go to pubmed.com and you can find and read through all the studies you want 🙂 especially easy to find an article if you already know the title so if you have a book with references you would like to check into, just pop the name of the study into the search engine and it will pull it up if it’s available

      • Carolyne says:

        The only problem is that rice has chitin-binding lectins that act similarly to wheat in the body- I have celiac and rice turns my intestines to cement almost as badly as wheat. And potatoes have solanine, which I react to as well (throat swelling). I don’t advocate any grains or nightshades as substitutes for gluten. I just make bananas my staple carbs. I react to the sulfites in tofu by body inflammation and headache/sinus pressure, but I’ve never had a problem with fruits.

    • bree says:

      I have the same issues exactly. I use brown rice flour and sargram to make a bread or biscuit that is gluten free yet taste good!

    • Grama Pei says:

      I have much better results with my sulfite allergy if I avoid ANYTHING bleached- sugar, flour, water, etc. Re your wheat allergy, -try a small amount of unbleached flour, organic or home-grown eggs and homemade milk alternative- oat, rice, almond if you can use those, to bake something with being sure to avoid any oils or margarines or greases that contain corn or canola, and use demerara for the sugar. Avoid any other ingredients except baking soda and sea salt. Maybe make a biscuit or whatever,or a cobbler with maybe fruits you aren’t allergic to, unless you have already tried that. SO many baked goods contain bleached flour, which contains sulfites. Yet the docs are dumb about this stuff. (I promise. I am an RN with sulfite allergies, and should know) So they dx us with different intolerances because they just dont KNOW enough to pinpoint the problem. I have been terribly allergic to so many things for 34 years, and it has taken me that long to totally pinpoint the things I am intolerant of in their natural form, and to find safe alternatives. So dont stop trying to ferret out the things you CAN use! And dont take a doc’s word for what you are allergic to. I had my middle child up to the top teaching hospital in our state twice for 8 days at a time when he was a baby with failure to thrive, and they never DID discover what was killing my child- then a nurse, Hillary, called me after we left the second time, and said to not tell the doctor she told me this, but take my child off milk. I did, and he began to grow. Turns out our entire family have intolerances to sulfites to some degree, some worse than others, me being the most sensitive, and after ALL those doc visits over the years for each family member not ONE of those docs said sulfite allergy! not ONE!

      • Kim says:

        I agree with this post. I have had severe allergies for my entire life with testing and shots when I was a young child. I was the ‘test case for children’ in the DFW area during the 60’s. My symptoms did not always flair up when I ate foods I had tested positive to at the specialist’s office. Over the years(40+) my reactions changed from asthmatic to skin reactions. I now have my reactions under control due to carefully watching the sulfites I ingest. I too have eliminated bleached flours, sugars, etc…
        Other items I react strongly to are instant teas and bottled lemon juices.
        Everyone has to find out their own tolerances.

    • Susanne says:

      I also am recovering from medication–sulfa drug Bactrim–and am extremely sensitive to sulfites once again. For 10 years I haven’t had to worry much about sulfites but have been gluten free for most of the past 26 years. To get back on my feet again, I know now that I must only eat boiled grains, such as gluten-free oatmeal, gluten-free brown rice, quinoa that has been rinsed many times, etc. Gluten-free packaged foods seem to have either potato starch or cornstarch which of course contain sulfites. Hope to hear from you. Susanne

  4. Ana Cartagena says:

    Sorry, one more question, what kind of water is safe to drink? The only ones that haven’t bother me is distilled water and the water in the hospital emergency room. I’m trying not to go back there…


    • Tracy says:

      I don’t do any bottled water at all. I live in Chicago and the tap water works well for me here. I know lots of people that swear by reverse osmosis water, but I have not tried it. The people at Ice Mountain have assured me that there are no sulfites added, but frankly, I am always worried that the plastic bottles will be made of corn and sulfites from that will leach into the water, so I just don’t chance it.


      • Geoffrey says:

        I only drink distilled and purified water to be safe. Tap waters vary around the coumtry. Smartwater and Aquafina are good ones when you are out and about. I stay away from spring waters and natural waters.

        • Tracy says:

          I do know lots of people who react to Smartwater – everyone’s reactions are different, take care!!

        • dkaj says:

          Oh, I would be careful with the purified waters these days, they add mag sulfate to them and potassium chloride and the Dasani water is the worst – it also has the biodegradable plastic which has cornstarch in it. Also, I believe Aquafina uses a corn filter. We do ok with Ice Mountain. I’ve heard not so good info on drinking distilled.

      • Grama Pei says:

        Great point, Tracy! I always get a kick out of folks that proudly claim they drink water instead of another beverage because its healthier, then they tip their petrolium-based plastic water bottle up to have a swig! Well-water from an underground well, filtered, (I just use a faucet-installed filter, but it has pretty good filtration,) then boiled, is the best water, only because there is likely no ‘pure’ water left on the planet. (I use a glass pot to boil my water in. I found, at Costco, portable quart-sized glass water-bottles in a rubberized outer sleeve to protect the bottle from breakage. Yes, they are heavier than plastic and are thus unweildy, but at least I can carry it and drink it without it ripping my guts up!

      • Linh says:

        You can get a reverse osmosis soft water installed under your kitchen sink. We have a system for our whole house and it is amazing!

    • Denise says:

      Just a heads up about ice cubes from ice machines. I’ve read that the filters are made of corn husks which have been sulfited so you should avoid ice machines if you’re highly sensitive.

    • Patricia says:

      Not everyone with a sulphite (SO3) allergy also reacts to sulphate (S04), but I do. In my experience water should have a sulphate concentration of less than 10 ppm (microgram per litre) should be safe enough to drink once, but if used daily less is better. In Europe this is usually labelled on bottled water. Up to now, I found Barleduc, Spa, Volvic and Highland Spring to be ok, Evian only as last resort. At home I use an active carbon filters to filter out the sulphate to drink tap water and be able to shower without getting a rash, since it is around 40 ppm. I use a Brita jug in the kitchen a Bobble bottle for on the go and a brandless filter on my shower. I do expect that these filters filter out a percentage of the sulphate in the water, so logically it would depend on the concentration you start with. Usually you can inquire what your concentration of sulphate is at your water supplier. My sister’s tapwater has a concentration of 2 ppm, so it is worth investigating. If you react to sulphate also take care of shampoo, toothpaste and body lotion!

  5. CZ says:

    A really bad medicine to take which contains sulfites is Hydrochlorothiazide, used as a diuretic for high blood pressure. As soon as I quit taking it my ankle swelling went down and so did my blood pressure!

    Can you make any comments about any strategies to get over sulfite intolerance? I seem to have gotten worse as time has gone on…

  6. C says:

    Even after all this time I am confused re
    home grown organic tomatos do they
    contain natural sulphites, I keep seeing confusing
    I do enjoy growing veg in my garden
    Thanks again

    • Tracy says:

      Hi there –
      organic tomatoes don’t have any sulfites, but lots of folks who are sulfite sensitive also have issues with salicylates. You should observe your bodies reaction after you eat anything high in salicylates to see if you have issues there as well. I personally eat tomatoes all the time and don’t react to them.


      • Geoffrey says:

        I found out after ending up in the ER that organic foods are sprayed with sulfur dioxide as a natural insecticide so it is considered organic. The sulfur dioxide can seep into the fruit’s skin etc. So, when eaten, the sulfur dioxide, much like in wine, combines with the water in the membranes of your mouth, throat and lungs. That combination generates sulfites and bisulfites. Don’t eat organic fruits and veggies if you cannot ask the source what they have sprayed on the food would be my advice.

        • Jen says:

          Wow… Wish I could just plant my own… But then some well-intentioned neighbor would end up accidentally spraying my garden with some sort of pesticide. What if you just peel everything really deeply?

          • Tracy says:

            I try to stick to all organic so Idon’t have to worry so much. Peeling helps, but you can contaminate the fruit/vegetable within when you cut through the outside. Also, the pesticides get into the soil and water and will often be drawn up into the foods themselves. Also, you have no idea what you are getting with GMO foods, so I avoid those entirely. I would love to grow all my own food, too!!

          • Tracy says:

            Also – fruit and veggies can be waxed, and that is some nasty stuff: http://pantryparatus.com/blog/wax-on-fruit/

        • dph says:

          OMG. I had never heard that. Maybe that will explain the bad reaction I had this week to organic green beans. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I had used a pre-packaged type rather than the usual “loose” green beans I usually buy. Thanks for the info.

          • Joëlle says:

            Yes, buying fresh, loose, and NOT prepackaged ANYthing has helped us on our sulfite free path. To keep freshly picked beans fresh in my fridge for a little longer, I wrap them in a cloth soaked in cold water, and put that bundle inside a Tupperware type container. This also works well for carrots, celery sticks, fennel.

        • dkaj says:

          I fully agree with Geoffrey. My niece is a horticulturalist in Oregon and I talked with her over Thanksgiving about sulphites and she told me all organic fruits and veggies are sprayed with it. She was involved in the manufacturing process for making it. They use fish oil as it’s carrier. I just bought a can of organic Columbian coffee beans from the store. When I took the beans out of the bag and onto my hand they were shiny and left an oil residue on my hand. Well, first thing I thought of was fish oil and sulphites. I also asked the produce manager at Trader Joe’s if they spray their produce with sulphites. He said they did because it’s organic.

      • Grama Pei says:

        I grow my own organic tomatoes with NO sprays, no fertilizers, and they still put blisters on my mouth, so I am just going to stop trying. Someone told me that if you are allergic to red tomatoes you might be able to eat the orange ones. nope. not me.
        We do need to remember that the immune response of inflammation is directly related to heart disease in later years, or so I have read on medical blogs. Which could be reason enough to avoid anything that might swell us up!

  7. C says:

    I notice you use Honey though I believe
    I react to this. Is it one that is ok for some
    and not others.
    I have been looking on other sites which
    do not offer as much info as others.
    Freely rough at moment due to sinus problems.
    so lots of things upsetting me, oh well these might
    some pass.

    • Tracy says:

      Hey there – I have been discovering that SOMEtimes I react to honey these days. I am starting to pay attention to EXACTLY where it comes from – and I find that the place where it is more urban, or even sometimes when it is from farmland, but still in this area I react. It is not a normal reaction, so I am thinking perhaps it is some sort of pesticides? I am rethinking honey right now…..

      • Barbara says:

        I got you covered on this one… Honey bees generally have to be supplemented with”food” during the winter. Guess what one of our local apiaries use ….. High fructose corn syrup.

      • Grama Pei says:

        Me, too, Tracy. I now only go for Organic honey from the tiny community where I used to live. Fortunately for me, they harvest and use stainless steel tubs, its raw, so they dont heat it, then they package it in glass jars, and maret it through my butcher shop! One of the leading “organic” honey producers here use the huge amount of farmland in our valleys that cover much of the state in a line along our freeway. Then they store it in plastic. Even though its raw, I feel worse when I have used that honey I truly think packaging may have a LOT To do with our allergies and intolerances.

      • dkaj says:

        Beekeepers give their bees HFCS during winter months to supplement their feed in the hives. HFCS is made from corn starch which is one of the derivatives of corn made through the wet milling process. You have to find a beekeeper that does not feed HFCS.

  8. Claire says:

    Just want to say thanks for a great site. I’ve known about my sulphite allergy for just over 2 years (after about 4 years of constant coughing and wheezing) and have eliminated all the obvious sulphites out of my diet. I find it so difficult to find all the hidden ones though, so your list of them is fantastic. Thank you. I’m also dairy free, but don’t find that a problem, but the sulphites drive me mad!

  9. Geoffrey says:

    Thanks for the heads up! I did not realize that the electrolytes were more sufites. That actually explains some congestion I have been having lately. I am into this a little over a year now and it is driving me and my family crazy as we try to adjust. Earlier this week I figured out the iodized salt thing, today the Smartwater thanks to you.

  10. Jen says:

    Carrageenan is a highly sulfated polysaccharide that is used as a thickener in ice cream, gravy, sliced turkey (the kind you mention, Hormel Natural, even has it). I’ve noticed a lot of people with sulfite sensitivities react to carrageenan… But I thought that sulfate was not supposed to cause a reaction. Thoughts? Maybe it’s from the way the carrageenan is processed. ???

  11. Heather says:


    I am just finding out I am having a sulfite intolerance/allergy. I have asthma and it definitely makes my asthma worse. I also have a history of thyroid cancer which leaves me to taking a thyroid supplement. My questions are

    1. What are some good recipes that are not too far fetched. I’m not very experimental with food? I’m really interested in seasonings and salad dressing recipes that could help as I love salads.

    2. Any medicine suggestions. I started having severe muscular pain when taking a thyroid medicine I had been taking for 10 years. Now I’m finding it difficult to use ANY medication and my thyroid levels are very high. My physician said it was “psychosomatic”. So no help there!!

    3. Also any additional suggestions are welcome as I feel excited and overwhelmed that this could be my problem and I could potentially fix it

    Sorry so much typed out here

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Heather –
      Sorry you are going through this, but glad you have figured out what your sensitivity is!

      1. Can you tolerate dairy? I find that a yogurt/buttermilk base with salt and herbs makes a wonderful creamy dressing. Of course you would have to do organic and be vigilant about no added ingredients – carageenan and other thickeners will have sulfites. lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil with herbs and slat make a great salad dressing. Just be sure to go 100% organic with your herbs and stay away from the powdered ones – they often have sulfites added to prevent clumping. Black pepper also has sulfites, but green or red is ok. As far as other recipes – look around at the ones I have posted – most only have a few ingredients – ask any questions you want!

      2. Medicines are so difficult. I don’t know anything about thyroid medication, but I would check into a compounding pharmacy in your area – that way you will know all the “extra” ingredients.

      3. You may want to try getting a genetic test done to see where your pathways are in danger of becoming toxic or comprimised. I did the 23andme test and I learned a lot.

      Let me know what other questions you have!


    • Joanne says:

      Recommendations: a) Get a second opinion about the “psychosomatic” business. B) Also determine exactly and completely what the thyroid medicine contains and how it is prepated. For example learn whether it is or has ever been treated treated with preservatives at any stage in its preparation, etc. Research, research, research.

      In my experience with a multinodular, non-cancerous goiter, I have found using dried dulse, from the sea, provides me with the needed iodine. My internist suggested a support supplement with selenium. All my lab work is within the normal limits according to th endocrinologist.

      It’s wise To be diligent in reading labels and in researching products, their prep, their packaging, their preservation/shelf life, etc. Take care. +Joanne+

  12. Chris says:

    My husband was just tested with 23andme.com also. Several mutations were found including CBS which the Dr wants to start on first. From what we understand the CBS factor is linked to the ammonia & sulfite issues for him. Anyone else have any knowledge to share regarding this? He also has MTHFR factor. Which we will move to next. Does anyone else have any experience with these allergies and consistent CK/CPK blood scores being consistently elevated from 900-2100?

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Chris – I also have a CBS and MTHFR mutations. I am starting with Molybdenum, which has been working really well for me and I just ordered some Methylguard to try to detox my Methyl pathways. Nervous about the detox, but from what I hear it is the right first step. I don’t know about the blood scores though.


  13. Berta Gardon says:

    My son has recently been diagnosed as sulfite sensitive. Where can I find a cookbok
    with permissible foods. All I find are things he can not eat and what about portions ?
    I hope you can help.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Berta –
      Unfortunately I have never seen a list of permissible foods – everyone reacts a little different,so it is different for all of us. My best advice is to use an elimination diet to see what is safe for him. Most people do pretty well with chicken and lettuce to start with. It may be hard to tell at first because he may go through detox now that you are cutting out many of the trigger foods. My detox lasted a solid month and I thought I was going to die every day. Some folks have a much milder detox experience. Let me know if you have any specific questions.


  14. Sam says:

    Thanks so much for this site, I can’t have sulphites and am slowly adjusting but still have so many questions. Do you know if fresh tomatoes have natural sulfites? I have organic ones but they are from holland so I know may be sprayed across the border, I ate them last night and straight away the itching started and the pain under the shoulder blades started 🙁 x

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Sam –
      Glad you are here! Fresh tomatoes don’t have sulphites, but about half of the sulphite sensitive folks I know react to nightshades. I do – I get heart racing and throat swelling. A lot of folks also react to salicylic acid, which tomatoes are high in. Cooking tomatoes reduces that by about half. You also might have gotten tomatoes that were gassed to ripen them – that would introduce sulphites.

      Hope that helps!


      • Sam says:

        Thanks Tracey! I wish they wouldn’t class them as organic then spray them. Do you know if organic hazelnuts are ok to eat? I just had some and feel rubbish again now x

  15. Christine says:

    Thanks so much for this info.

  16. Any says:


    Thanks for the great info! I notice that nobody mentioned an allergy to sulfa drugs. I get horrific mouth sores when on sulfa-based antibiotics. Do you know of any other meds that contain sulfa or its derivatives?

    I’ve been diagnosed with atypical migraines when I ingest sulfites. I get a painful headache on the right side of my head and my face falls on that side as if I’ve had a stroke or have Bell’s Palsy. Has anyone else experienced that?

    Thanks much,

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Any –
      My mom has an allergy to sulfa drugs, and I avoid them just to be sure. I am so fascinated by your migraines. I don’t get that but I get a tingling on the left side of my head and my left side on my face all along the jawline goes numb and the muscles don’t respond right, almost as if I have had a stroke as well! Guess I should update my symptoms list! Thanks for sharing.


    • Mandy says:

      I had a migraine that lasted two days from a small glass of wine. My vision dimmed, and it felt like I was seeing through static. The paint was different than a regular migraine, it was intense and banging on the top right side of my head. With it came nausea and vertigo..I actually fell into a wall, and broke out in hives. I have facial and mouth numbness as well. I actually found this thread as I was searching to see if baby carrots were okay or not..I am in the middle of a reaction right now from them. I am also allergic to sulfa drugs, break out in hives etc. I’m 41..this is totally new to me.

  17. Amy says:

    Hi Tracy,

    It took me a while to get a doc to relate the migraines to sulfites; I was seeing a neurologist who ordered an MRI, CT scan, a spinal tap, you name it. I cut out cheese and wine and felt better right away. I believe I get it from other preservatives such as MSG and its derivatives, so going out to eat is practically impossible.

    Best wishes!

  18. Deann says:


    I have been dealing with a sudden onset of allergies and sensitivities since April. I have officially been diagnosed with mould and dust mite allergies and I find I am sensitive to all kinds of dust, fumes/chemical smells. I have always felt there was also a related food element. I did not test positive for any food allergies but there were still days when I would start to feel very weird after eating. Just recently my allergist commented that perhaps I was developing a sensitivity to sulfites. I began checking labels and things started to fall into place. Then I was having reactions to things that had none of the common sulfite names…. when the last three things I reacted to had nothing in common except salt I decided to check the web. After reading your list of foods and symptoms, I finally feel like the last piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. And then I had a good cry because looking at that list and all things that contain sulfites totally overwhelmed me.

    Thank you for this blog and the information – it has made me feel I am not crazy.


  19. Deann says:

    Hi Tracy

    I have lots of question but one is – is it possible that a person can tolerate exposure to some sulfite but then if you consume a few foods over the course of a day that contain sulfites you are more likely to react to something that doesn’t typically set off a reaction? Does that make sense?


    • Tracy says:

      Yes, that totally makes sense. I will try to explain this. There is a difference between a sensitivity and an allergy. With an allergy it does not matter how much of the trigger food you get, you have the same reaction. Even a minscule amount will cause the exact same reaction as a large amount. With a sensitivity it is more about a threshold level. The more you get, the worse the reaction. An allergy is a histamine reaction. A sensitivity is a metabolic breakdown in which you cannot process the trigger food/chemical. You will get a little sick when you cannot process a little and a lot sick when you ingest and cannot process a lot. Hope this makes sense.


  20. Deann says:

    HI Tracy

    Would you please not post the comment I made from Oct. 10th at 8:55 p.m.?


  21. Deann says:

    Completely – thanks!

  22. Sam says:

    Hi ya, I’ve been trying unsweetened organic cocoa and it seems fine with me, is this safe to have as I keep reading conflicting things annoy chocolate ingredients x

  23. Cheyenne says:

    Do any of you know if canned organic vegetables are sulfite free, im having a hard time figuring this out. Ive been dealing with an anxiety disorder and have read that sulfites can cause this for some people. Thanks!

  24. geoffrey says:

    I have found that Aquafina is the only branded water that is safe for me. Otherwise, I drink generic distiller water. Public water sources vary so much that I have found it better not to drink water out.

  25. Sam says:

    I’m reading so much conflicting information on chocolate, could you shed some light please? I’ve read that organic cocoa contains elemental sulphur and isn’t usually a problem and that it contains sulphur dioxide naturally so is a problem. Also I’ve heard cauliflower and beef contain natural sulphites? Very confused, would appreciate some help x

    • Tracy says:

      Yes, cauliflower contains natural sulfites. Beef is high in sulfur, but not sulfites. organic cocoa does contain sulfur, but not sulfites. Hope this helps!

  26. Deann says:

    I have switched to cane sugar but I’m not sure about organic brown sugar (made from cane sugar). Have you tried it?

  27. Ashley says:

    I am new here but I have been allergic to sulfites for about 10 years now. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to diagnose it at all, and I had to slowly find out myself throughout many trips to the ER with the use of my Epi-pen.

    Two nights ago I had a severe reaction to a homemade soup I made. I was shocked because obviously I knew all of the ingredients I put into it. I did, however, use frozen storebought peas, Swanson’s chicken broth, and and McCormick’s Bay leaves. It was also extremely scary because I am 12 weeks pregnant and I didn’t know what the epi-pen would do to my baby. Thankfully, my baby is okay, but my question is this…

    Do you know if seasonings such as McCormick’s Bay leaves have sulfites in them? They are dried, which makes me think they are treated with something but the bottle says nothing. The only other possible culprits are the frozen peas and the Swanson Chicken broth. Have you had any experience with sulfite sensitivities in any of these things? Any help is appreciated!

    • Tracy says:

      I looked up the ingredients of Swanson Chicken Broth (which was not all that easy considering the fact that they don’t list actual ingredients on their own web page – totally suspect from the get go). That junk is a sulfite nightmare – I would steer clear of it!

  28. Tami says:

    I am trying to figure out if I have a sulfite problem…any advice on how to start? Also does orange juice (organic) have sulfites? Does organic black tea? I am feeling overwhelmed –not even knowing if this is it, even, though I KNOW I’ve reacted to wine and antibiotics with sulfa.


    • Tracy says:

      I was diagnosed via an elimination diet, so you might try that. Orange juice is typically stored for up to a year in vats and loses all of it’s color and flavor. It is then flavored with “natural flavors” which is generally a chemical concoction which was initially derived from orange – thus 100% orange juice – but make no mistake – those are some nasty chemical, not anything resembling oranges. That is why all orange juice tastes the same within brands even though crops are very different year to year. Black tea is essentially green tea that is fermented, and thus will have sulfites in it. Besides – they typically don’t wash tea leaves before drying, so whatever was sprayed on there goes right into your cup. I use organic white tea.

  29. Sam says:

    Ive tried organic white tea too but found i reacted even though i used my own safe milk and water and bags were unbleached 🙁 is it the loose tea you use?x

  30. Sam says:

    Yeah its organic from the clipper company unless the bag material was the problem :/ will retest x

  31. Amy says:

    Hi, I don’t know what kind of reaction you guys get to green tea, if you drink it, but my GI doc tells me not to drink it because it’s a natural laxative. I haven’t looked for sulfites in it.

  32. Kathy says:

    Please tell me ten things I can eat that are sulphite free. Like a breakfast lunch and dinner option and a snacknor treat. Movirbpopcorn almost kills me along with alcohol or juices or cereals. I need an alcohol option I’ve heard ketal one vodka and water is this ok???

    • Tracy says:

      Well, I can tell you 10 things that are sulfite free, but that does not neccesarily mean you won’t react to them. almost everyone I know with this sensitivity has a few random, odd thing they react to that most other folks don’t. That being said, typically safe things would be: chicken, lettuce, rice, oatmeal, mango, avocado, squash, turkey, beets, honey, carrots, celery. Alcohol is tricky – there are many sulfite free options (and Ketel one should be ok along with absolut) but it isn’t quite that simple. The problem with alcohol is that when you drink it, it shuts down your methyl pathways completely, which in turn affects your transulfuration pathways. The same enzyme that is used in the liver to process sulfites also processes alcohol, so although you won’t react directly to a sulfite free alcohol, it makes your body less able to cope with the sulfites you will run into for the next 24 hours or so – and you will run into them through things like car exhaust and other environmental factors even if you don’t ingest any. I always suffer with reactions the day after if I overindulge (you would think I would learn…). Also – you have to be careful with the water – bottled water is often sulfited and filtered water can pick up sulfites from the filter.

      • Denise says:

        I see you have listed lettuce as sulfite-free. Lettuce is the first thing I noticed gave me symptoms. Salads from restaurants and apples made me sick. I later learned that iceberg lettuce is sprayed with sulfites to keep it from browning. I can have other lettuces but not iceberg and sometimes not romaine lettuce. I think it’s the waxy coating on apples that affects me because I’m fine if they’re peeled. I can tolerate some sulfites and foods with naturally-occurring sulfites are okay for me. I learned a tea called Forever Nuts is not good for me. It is made of almonds, dried apple and dried beets. Store-bought prawns usually cost me an Epi-pen.

        • Tracy says:

          Hi Denise –
          All the things you list here are likely to have been treated with sulfites. Although in the US it is illegal to spray salad bars with sulfites (has been since the 80s) the work around for this is to wash the lettuce in a water/sulfite mix. Most shellfish is sprayed with sulfites to prevent black mold, and yes, the wax coating on thin skinned fruit will give you trouble. I am glad to hear you are figuring out what works for you!

  33. Cathie says:

    Thank you so so much. I appreciate your reply more then you know. I will try ketal one and water and watch that I ingest mo sulphites at all that day or day after. Is there any sulphite free spice or hot sauce or anything I can put on salads or chicken or rice for flavor? And is there any treat I can have? Like chocolate or a muffin recipe? Is cilatro ok? And is Serrano’s ok? Day 3 of no sulphites and I already feel better.

    • Tracy says:

      I do a lot of spices, but make sure they are organic – many of the powdered ones have sulfites added to prevent clumping, so be careful. I feel like i can only do pepper in moderation, but I think I may have a small issue with nightshade plants. As far as treats – do a search for desserts on the site and you will find some. The avocado chocolate pudding is simply divine.

  34. Cathie says:

    One more thing…how bad is diet pop or is there any natural soda I can have or Perrier? I miss bubbly drinks? And is sodium benzoate a no no?

    • Tracy says:

      I have not found a soda, natural or otherwise that is sulfite free yet. I got a sodastream and make my own carbonated water and I will mix it with pomegranate or blueberry juice if I feel like something soda like. I suppose if I were more ambitious I would make a ginger syrup and do a ginger ale, but frankly I usually drink water (or wine if I am in that kind of mood – sulfite free, obviously!)

      • Cathie says:

        I thought there was no wine that was sulphite free….that they always have some??? What where???

        • Tracy says:

          There is a winery out there that makes wine that has zero parts per million of sulfites. It is called Orleans Hill. They make a wine calle “Our Daily Red” (also at Trader Joe’s under the label “Well Red”. They also make a cab, a pinot, a blend called Cote Zero and a Zinfandel. They have a special process that removes all of the sulfites. Good stuff and inexpensive – there isn’t a bottle that is more than $14 – and the Our Daily Red comes in a box that is way cheaper than that. I buy mine at Binny’s or Whole foods typically. Just make sure that the bottle says “no sulfites detected” when you shop – it is very different than “no sulfites added”.

      • Laura says:

        Pomegranate or blueberries you juice? Or do you buy organic juice somewhere? Thank you so much for this site.

        • Tracy says:

          This time of year, I eat a fresh pomegranate every day, so I don’t drink the juice, but when I do,I typically buy R.W. Knudson at Whole Foods (if you buy some of the freezer popsicle molds, you can freeze the juice and have a treat when you want something sweet).

  35. Amy says:

    How can you get caffeine, though?? Priorities!!

  36. Amy says:

    You can try vegan wines, too.

  37. Cathie says:

    I’m from Canada so we dont have those stores.

  38. Lucy says:

    Hi All,

    this is a very helpful page as I am becoming more and more allergic to sulphites. Very frustrating and depressing. I think it seems easier to get a list of what I can eat, surely that will be shorter! Anyway we can beat this allergy or get rid of it?


    • Tracy says:

      Hi Lucy – It is hard to get a list of what you can eat because everyone has different reactions and lots of folks have more than one sensitivity. I do know that many people increase tolerance over time with total avoidance, but that is really a case by case basis. Many people find relief by supplementing with Molybdenum of B vitamins, but many do not. You would need to do some testing to see where your deficiencies are – and maybe even some genetic testing to understand your body more. People do get better – maybe not 100% but certainly less sensitive!


  39. Amy says:

    Hi Tracy!

    Thank you for posting all of this information!

    My horrific allergies started in October of 2012 and lasted for a year. I would end up with random swelling all over my body, facial swelling…it was horrible. The only thing that “fixed” it was being put on Prednisone, which I call the devil/miracle drug. In September of 2013, a friend of mine mentioned that I could be allergic/sensitive to sulfites. I lined up my reactions with certain things:

    1. The day after I drank wine
    2. The day after I had my teeth cleaned at the dentist (some fluorides have sulfites/metabisulfites in it
    3. The day after I bleached my teeth
    4. Being exposed to artificial Red 40, which I’m still trying to figure out, but I had to get rid of all my sheets and replace them with Claritin/Hypoallergenic/white sheets and change to All Free and Clear laundry soap and Bounce clear fabric softener.

    I started acupuncture and he mentioned that my symptoms were “dietary”. Since eliminating “garbage” (high-fructose corn syrup, basically ANYTHING in a can, and most dairy, I have dropped 20 pounds, had WAY more energy than ever and RARELY have an outbreak.

    I had one a week ago after eating Babybel cheese and found out that the wax covering MAY have artificial RED coloring in it, which is transferred to the cheese (none of this is mentioned on the website…however). PLUS, I was eating carrots in a bag and was advised to avoid things in a bag. SO, no carrots in a bag either.

    It’s frustrating but I think you will feel better when you avoid those “bad” things. It’s difficult because they are everywhere. I do have a great recipe I use for snacks and do not react to them, even though there’s garlic/chives in it:

    Stuffed mushrooms

    blend parsley, chives and garlic together, add goat cheese, blend, and scoop into mushrooms and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees

    It’s an option.

    I hope this helps. So glad to be a part of this site. Thank you Tracy!!!


    • Tracy says:

      Welcome Amy! I am sorry you had to go through that, but glad you have found some answers that work for you! I love sharing experiences that we all have – the more knowledge, the better!

  40. Rebel Holiday says:

    Thanks for this great info and excellent blog! Wow. So helpful. I just figured out what has been going on with me — sulfite sensitivity — luckily not as rough as some of these stories, but still has been bad enough! This is all very helpful, Tracy. Best, Rebel

  41. Kara says:

    Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for all the great info. I just recently figured out that I was sulfite sensitive. I get contant coughing and pain under lower side rib and back according to the amount I have injested. No doctors could figure it out. But what is curious with me is I get horrid bad breath when I eat any thing with it. Even when I dye my hair or inhale it at a movie theater I suffer with the bb. When I cut out the sulfite foods, no problem but as soon as I eat something containing sulfites again, here comes the pain and bad breath. It has been so stressful trying to figure this all out. Thanks again.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kara – welcome. I get that same thing if I eat a lot of sulfites – I also get sweat that smells AWFUL.I only dye my hair with henna, which seems to be ok for me.


  42. Jenny says:

    I have been working through this process for a while now. I was diagnosed about 2 years ago, but had a really scary reaction this morning. Now, after reading your list I see why! I had Chai tea- Black tea. I usually drink Rooibos tea from Teavana (looseleaf) so it’s not been an issue! Yeah, it was a bit scary. Thank Goodness for Benadryl and inhalers.

    One thing I want to add to your list is anything- ANYTHING- that says “Enriched” it is iron enriched with sulfites (and sometimes the name isn’t so recognizable- but it is a slug repellant and the process produces sulfates). so, I have switched to whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn or rice pasta, and those have really stopped reacting for me.

    I don’t find dairy to be an issue- but I may find it becomes one…. I hope not! 🙁 I wash my hair only with conditioner- make sure you dry your hair or it will look greasy drying on it’s own, found palmolive bar soap at the dollar store is sulfite free and Jason toothpaste is sulfite free too! I am working on finding recipes to try for deodorant and toothpaste, but found a cream Arid extra Dry at the IGA that I don’t seem to react to! 🙂

  43. Alice says:

    Can anyone tell me if all chocolate contains sulfites? or is it just chocolate that has chocolate liqueur as one of the ingredients? I just ordered a bag of enjoy life chocolate morsals which has as its ingredients unsweetened chocolate and cane sugar. Wondering now if it is safe to eat !

  44. Erin Fiddick says:

    I am curious about the Avocado and being able to eat them. I have seen on other sites that avocados and bananas are likely to contain sulfites and to avoid them and things like guacamole. Just wondering if you figure that it is an individual tolerance level thing or do you have more solid evidence that the no avocado rule is perhaps not true? I love them and am just in the beginning stages of assessing my food intolerances. Suspecting sulfites at the moment and just doing some more research so when I go to work in a remote setting, I have some knowledge and food plan in mind – so I can actually eat something!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Eric – There are a couple of reasons why the other sites might say that avocado has sulfites. Both bananas and avocados can be gassed to ripen them, thus introducing sulfites. Any premade guacamole would have sulfites in it through several ingredients – lemon juice, citric acid, onions, spices, etc. There is a lot of misinformation out there about sulfites and because of the two reasons above, lots of folks think avocados themselves have sulfites, but I have found no evidence of that. I agree, that sometimes people can stay below their individual tolerance level with foods containing sulfites and that everyone reacts differently, but I know many people who have no issue at all with avocado, myself included. The best way to tell is an elimination diet, because even if the sulfite level is not an issue with the avocado for you, you may have an additional sensitivity.

  45. Jessica says:

    what are some of the typical reactions you have to sulphites? I have some strange things going on with me and i have had every test under the sun done and everything comes out negative. I have done ALCAT testing as well and even avoiding that foods they mentioned i still seem to break out in hives but i cant tell from what..I know i have an allergy to Sulfur medication which is what leads me to believe i have a sulphur/sulfite issue or an issue with my methyl pathways.

    Does anyone know what fruits have high levels of sulfur/sulfites?

  46. Patricia Brantley says:

    So I have found that I can pretty much eat anything if it is unprocessed or if we cook it ourselves, or Organic. Broccoli however kind of gets me, I’ve tried frozen and fresh but not organic (that’s just because I just figured that one out). I can eat Kale. I can eat apples if they’re organic, but the instant I eat another apple I’m sick and heading for the nearest restroom. I had papaya in Hawaii, what I didn’t know is that they had force ripened it which changed the chemical structure and I had hives all over by the time I got home. Other things we found, once I was referred to a doctor that studied and created a diet plan (not for losing weight all though that is a happy side effect) was soy, wheat, and the biggest one was Corn. I can do organic popcorn or a little, little bit once in a while if I make homemade corn tortillas. Anyway, it has been an adventure. I found this site by looking up frozen potatos because the only thing I’ve added lately is that (from Trader Joe’s) and an almond milk hot chocolate made with 100 percent dutch cocoa. I get really sensitive to the touch and even my little dog or cat can’t stand on my lap without it hurting. But, as long as I stay organic I am okay. Fortunately there are more and more companies out there but it does get a bit frustrating sometimes when you just want to grab something quickly without having to analyze everything. Thanks for the site, we’ll keep checking back often!

  47. Kara says:

    Tracy can you please tell me what kind of water you drink that does not make you react. You will never know how much your comments have helped me. Thanks so much.

  48. Kat Lacinski says:

    I have just begun the sulfite allergy path. I have gotten sick on various things for about 30 years, could never pinpoint a specific food. I have never found food to be welcome in my body because of various reactions. If it is sulfites we’ll no wonder..it is in pretty much everything I was ingesting. Had problems with red wines so I suspect sulfites and began connecting the dots. I have had asthma for about 5 years and has gotten progressively worse. The past three months it has been extremely difficult to control, with constant wheezing and coughing. I have heard the only reliable testing is to ingest a sufficient amount of sulfites to see if it produces an asthma attack. Scary stuff, even in a doctors office. I have also heard of a test called MRT-LEAP test that determines your sensitivity to 150 foods and chemicals, one being sodium sulfite. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thank you!

    • Tracy says:

      I would not do the ingesting sulfites stress test – it seems the height of lunacy to me. You are going to do that to prove to your doc that it is real? I think a more reasonable course of action is to get a new doc! I was diagnosed through an elimination diet and that was very effective. I have heard various stories, but never verified an definitive sulfite sensitivity test. To clarify a couple things – typically white wine has far more sulfites than red. The natural coloring of the red makes it more resistant to spoilage, so there is less need to add it. Also, my allergist informs me that in some instances if you are having a reaction to one food and you eat another non trigger food at the same time, your brain can read them both as triggers – so your finding food unwelcome may have something to do with that as well. Just a thought. Just remember that now that you are going with avoidance you may go through a detox process in which for a short time you feel worse. Mine was awful and lasted about a month. Just stick with keeping your diet clean and it will pass. Good luck – let me know how you are doing, please!


  49. Geoffrey says:

    I have found that distilled water and waters like Aquafina that have a reverse osmosis process they go through are safe. Smartwater, Dasani and many of the others have electrolytes and magnesium sulfate in them that causes me issues personally.

  50. Geoffrey says:

    Be very, very careful with the food tests etc. I never had asthma like symptoms until I got into the foodie and wine scene with my fiancée. Then all the sudden I was having what I thought was claustrophobia and anxiety issues until I had an anaphylaxis reaction that contorted my face to the point I was not recognizable nor understood. I found that the asthma stuff had built up over six months. My suggestion is to detox for six months. Avoid wine, beer, processed foods with hifrutcose corn syrup, sugar in general, dextrose etc. etc. Eat fresh foods known to be low in sulfites. Once you feel normal again and your levels are down, see a doctor about reintroducing foods.

    Good luck. I am on year three.

  51. Arkadii Itsikson says:

    I discovered I had an intolerance to sulphites about 3 years ago after years of suffering the symptoms (sore throat, runny nose). Medical specialists didn’t even come close. I also discovered I have an intolerance to nitrates (in processed meats, hams etc). Codes 250, 251,252. Further investigation showed that most of my bathroom products contains SLS’s (Sodium Laureth Sulphate). Virtually all easily purchased toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, bath and hand soap, shaving cream, after shave and perfume contain SLS’s. So we are absorbing this stuff through our skin as well as ingesting it. I found that by substituting these products with alternatives that are available from alternative food suppliers, I have significantly reduced my problem. Also Pectin, when heated over a certain temperature releases sulphites, so fruit jam can contain natural sulphites after cooking. Coffee beans too naturally contain a layer of pectin which, when roasted converts to sulphite.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Arkadii – what great information on the pectin – I am defintely going to look deeper into this! I love the knowledge sharing, thanks so much!


  52. melissa says:

    I just found your blog today. I suffer from migraines and believe I eat healthy most of the time. I am wondering what type of gelatin you are referring to above in the list of foods to avoid. I use Great Lakes gelatin twice daily for the collagen. Could that be contributing to migraines? I’ve read nothing but good things about it and it’s derived from grass-fed cows.
    thanks so much for the helpful information!

    • Tracy says:

      It is not the gelatin itself that is the extraction method that is the issue. It is typically a chemical extraction that introduces the sulfites. This is a “process” and not an “ingredient” so they don’t have to tell you the sulfites are in there. Can you try to get your gelatin from a home made bone broth instead? They are super easy to make – you roast the bones a bit and then boil them for 24 hours with a bit of salt and you have it! If you have cooked it long enough, the broth will be liquid when hot, but like gelatin when cool. I would never touch commercial gelatin for this reason.

  53. Jenny says:

    Hi Tracy. In my continuous search for a clean diet I’ve read that organic milk is ultra pasteurized increasing the msg content (which may be another sensitivity I’m finding). Can you tell me what type and brand of milk you use? I’m afraid to try almond milk again because last spring my hands and feet blew up in itchy hives and that was the only new thing in my diet. But ya never know…..the search goes on!

    Thanks for all of your help and support. On bad days, I focus on your last comment, “You WILL figure this out”

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Jenny –
      I use SuperNatural brand milk. They heat it to the lowest possible temperature allowed by law. I get their yogurt and buttermilk as well. I would go raw if it wasn’t so hard to get around here! I am sorry you still have bad days – but you really WILL figure it out!!!


  54. Brian says:

    Hello Tracy,
    I have experienced a lot of these symptoms for the last 4 years, and i have noticed that I tend to get them worse after drinking beer, wine, eating garlic, onions, and avocados. I live in Spain, which kind of makes this harder because I have to deal with translating some of these things to look out for on food labels, but that I can deal with. I was wondering though, after reading the list of things that I cannot eat I am left wondering what exactly I can eat, so instead of just a big list of things I can’t eat, it might be easier if you listed the things I can eat. In the meantime, I will go to the doctor and find out if I really have this “sulfite sensitivity” because after the last 4 years of dealing with these issues, I have had many different theories as to what my issues are, so this might just be another theory that isn’t the reality. Thanks!


    • Brian says:

      I am quite certain though that this time my issues might really have to do with a sulfite sensitivity.

    • Tracy says:

      Brian –
      What you can eat is a lot harder than what you can’t. I find that most people have multiple sensitivities so they react to other foods as well. Even if you don’t, every person I know reacts a bit differently – some people react strongly to the chemical sulfites, but not so much to the naturally occurring ones. Some people can eat eggs in baked goods while others cannot eat them at all. Your best bet is really an elimination diet. I have never heard of a reliable test for sulfite sensitivity, so be careful if the doc tells you that you are not sensitive. Of course, they are a bit more willing to consider a sulfite issue in Europe than in the US, so your doc might be on board. The elimination diet is really the best way to discover what bothers you. You may also consider getting a genetic test to understand what your particular genetic personality is showing, which may point you in the direction of more specific tests to see what is going on with your body. I had the marker that showed that I likely could not process sulfites but I also had one that showed that I could not handle methyl donors – which meant the B vitamins I was taking to help with the sulfite sensitivity was making me react. It is a huge puzzle. Good luck on your journey of discovery – let me know if I can answer any other questions.


      • Faye says:

        I also have done a couple of DNA tests, including 23andMe. What marker shows you cannot process sulfites, and which one tells you about your methyl donor sensitivity? I can’t find anything like that. I just got the results back on my MRT-LEAP test, and Sodium Metasulfite showed up as moderately reactive. I am highly sensitive to wheat, rice and maple and my other moderate sensitivities play right into sulfite sensitivity (salicylic acid, cheddar cheese, cabbage to name a few). I have worsening asthma and GERD, both of which developed in my 40s. This is depressing but I am encouraged in the fact that some of the higher sulfite- sensitivity foods I can tolerate. Thank you and others for sharing!

        • Faye says:

          Forgot to mention – anaphylactic reaction to sulfa in 1986.

        • Lea says:

          I thought I have had sulfite sensitivity for 15 years. In the last 6 months I began having horrible smelling gas and allergies despite sulfite free (as far as I know). I had the MRT-LEAP test done and did not test reactive to sulfite. I am in my elimination phase and have not noticed any improvement. Of course what the test shows as my reactive foods do not coincide with what I would react to with sulfite sensitivity. Do you feel your MRT test was accurate?

    • Joëlle R says:

      Hi Brian

      I wrote a reply to your question further down on this post.


  55. Geoffrey says:

    Tracy is correct. Sulfur/sulfite intolerance is one big puzzle. I chased it my whole life and then at 47 years old on a fluke an ER doctor pinned it down while I was having an anaphlylaxis episode. I am three years into an elimination diet and still trying to figure things out. Be mindful that some things can take days for your body to digest far enough along to trigger a reaction.

    My best luck has been to eat unprocessed foods whenever possible, with low sulfur content and no natural sulfites or sulfates.

    As Tracy states, everyone’s journey and tolerances are unique.


  56. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Brian

    As Tracy says, everybody is different, but I am ready to let you know what seems to be fine with my husband. Here we go:
    – fresh fruit and vegetables ( do avoid onions, garlic and the like) I try to buy organic as much as I can. If ever I buy canned vegetables I make sure the only other ingredients are water and salt
    – dried organic almonds and dates, walnuts in their shell
    – unprocessed meats. We live in France and we are very lucky to have a local butcher who sells quality meat and even makes sausages especially for us (i.e.,with no white wine and using my organic spices only)
    – fresh or frozen-fresh fish.
    – green tea, no black tea. whiskey is ok too! Tap water is no problem.
    – unrefined cane sugar ( not white and not caramel colored stuff)
    – I make our own hot pepper sauce by grinding a whole bunch which I then keep refridgerated or in the freezer
    – rice vinegar + a few drops of Japanese “umebosis” seasoning + olive oil makes a great dressing.

    I check all labels and when in doubt write to the manufacturer . Most of them will answer honestly.
    In addition, we have eliminated ALL dairy products from his diet. If you are asthma prone, you definitely should try that. We were also advised to stop gluten. We are still unsure about that as we don’ t know if the problem comes from the gluten or the way flour is prepared. Quite a challenge in Europe!

    What has changed in his health: after a year, practically no more asthma, no more profuse sweating (he couldn’t do any physical work without getting drenched, even though he was not overweight), no allergies, no more teary eyes, and… ( as an added bonus ) very strong healthy nails, which proves that dairy products will do nothing for your calcium.
    Our initial concerns were the same as yours, and I also thought my budget was going to explode. It hasn’t, but I do spend a lot more time cooking and he gardening. I plan my meals ahead of time and waste a lot less this way.

    Good luck with your diet. As Geoffrey pointed out, it’s a lot of trial and error but you will definitely see improvement in your life. There is no other way unless some enlightened doctor decides to side with our cause and does some serious research which would force manufacturers to clearly label their products!


  57. Brenda says:

    Have been on a strict diet (organic beef and chicken and sometimes organic rice cakes) due to sever reactions 4 weeks ago. Any other foods I try start the coughing/choking and extreme itching to flare. Even with this restriction I am having a bad hive rash on chest and elbow areas. I have Mthfr gene mutation TT and will be seeing a specialist on the 23rd of this month but am finding it hard to stay on an even keel. The only other thing I have been doing is drinking 8-10 glasses of filtered water per day. I’m beginning to worry about the water but am really uncertain what I can try. I have problems with sulfa (meds) and sulphites, some salicylates and even low histamine foods now. Are there any safe water filters, the one I’m using is from my refrigerator water dispenser and I can’t find any info about what its ingredients are. Are there any bottled waters without sulfite and other additives? Thanks for any help you can give me

    • Tracy says:

      Hi there – I have a huge reaction to the water that comes out of my refrigerator water filter. I have taken to just boiling my tap water, which at least dissipates the chlorine. It is really hard for me right now – I can’t find a good bottled water, I can’t use carbon filters – so frustrating. The boiling does seem to be helping.


  58. Kassi says:

    O.M.G.! A gathering place for people like me!!! Lots & lots of questions, where to begin? #1: why does it seem ALL my favorite foods contain sulfites??? (Please, please tell me the photo of artichokes on your site is just a fluke…?). So, now I’m quitting my morning cuppa tea, gave up wine (SOOO sad) years ago when I finally pieced this together (docs were, sadly, VERY little help—yeah, I already KNEW I had headaches & chronic urticaria, what I wanted to know was WHY did I have headaches & chronic urticaria???). I see I need to minimize my use of onions & garlic (and I thought garlic was supposed to be a “super food”). I’ve been a label scrutinizer pretty much forever, avoiding all the things with added sulfites, bisulfites, metabisulfites, watch out for Yellow #5, everybody, sodium benzoate is another nasty one. But, broccoli? Cauliflower? Kale? Criminey, these are the top anti-cancer vegs & now I have to give them up, too? And, chocolate…..not CHOCOLATE!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kassi –
      Welcome. To answer your first question – all your favorite foods contain sulfites because we almost always crave what we have a sensitivity to. It will get better the longer you avoid them. I drink Orleans Hill Winery wines. They have a special process for getting all the sulfites out. You can also do Our Daily Red – same winery, different label. Our Daily Red is the same wine and the Trader Joe’s Well Red, just a different branding. Of course that is only red – I drink sake in place of white wine. It is a bummer about the veggies – but everyone is different – some folks can tolerate naturally occurring sulfites just not man made ones – so find out what your body can do! And you can make your own chocolate!


  59. Kassi says:

    Next question: do soybeans actually contain sulfites, or is it just the processed foods (tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, soy milk, etc)?

    As for maple syrup—I found a study online (an actual experiment where they tested the syrup for sulfites) refuting the claim that natural maple syrup contains sulfites. I tend to believe them. Now, “maple flavored syrup”—that’s another matter ALTOGETHER.

    Ok, here’s another BIG question: is it just sulfites, or is it sulfur, sulfites, sulfates, sulfa drugs, and everything else with “sulf” or “sulph” in it?

    Whereas I’ve done well controlling the itching for the past 10 years or so, these headaches have been pretty awful lately. Lo and behold, cutting way back on onions, garlic, black pepper and my morning cuppa has REALLY made a difference. I don’t know if I would ever have known these were my enemies without your website…THANK YOU, Tracy!!! From the bottom of my heart.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kassi –
      I react to straight up soybeans, so I always assumed they did have sulfites. That being said anything fermented will have sulfites, so things like tofu will have a much higher amount of sulfites than just the soybeans themselves. Also, if you are in the US soy is the biggest GMO crop, so who knows what you are really eating. I am fascinated by the maple syrup article you mention. That would be great news! If you can post the link, that would be awesome – I miss maple syrup so much!

      So on to your big question. The answer is – it depends. One of the most frustrating things about this sensitivity is that everyone reacts a bit differently. I am just fine with sulfates, many folks are not. Some people can handle naturally occurring sulfites but not the man made additive sulfites. They say sulfa drugs are different than sulfites, but I know many people that cannot tolerate them. Everyone I know with this sensitivity has just experimented with elimination diets and figured out what their body can and cannot do. I am sorry I don’t have a more definitive answer for you.

      And you are most welcome – I was sick two years longer than I needed to be because I couldn’t get the right information on what had sulfites and what didn’t and I am happy to help others get better more quickly. Knowledge is power!


    • Nicky Clark says:

      I second this thankyou again after accidently stumbling across this article i think it has saved my life as at xmas i wss so poorly # real bad reacyion to meds i tried to tell the doc i cant have sulphites also had a bad reaction to flu jabs yrs ago .I told her i was allergic tp eggs she said no intollerant .I ended up in a and e x poorly x pleased i found some support and a massive help .All of our symptoms are mine Tracey well were .If im strict even the pots have settled and heart irregularities too .Its amazing x

      • Angel Haga says:

        Hi Nicky,
        I can do eggs in baked goods if organic local small farm raised, but still not eating scrambled or such. I also am intolerant of flu vaccinations. Somethings affect, some not. Tracy’s site is an invaluable search point, but as she talks about an elimination diet to help discovery, I won’t repeat it here! Thanks so much, Tracy, for your wonderful work!

  60. Kassi says:

    Here is this about maple syrup:


    • Tracy says:

      Interesting article – I might give it a try. The only problem is that it only tested to 10 PPM – I react down to about 3 PPM. It sort of said there probably weren’t any sulfites at all, but not really. But it would be awesome if maple syrup doesn’t have any – thanks for the info!!

      • Kassi says:

        Yes, there is always that risk. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Let me (us) know how it works out! Btw, the top-grade maple syrup is the stuff that’s lighter in color, not boiled down as long, probably the safest bet… Good luck!

    • Jamie says:

      Coming from someone that can go into shock from sulfite and natural sulfur, I can have the most expensive pure maple syrups. I don’t trust it unless it’s in a clear bottle, light in color and not such thicker than water when moving it around.

  61. Alice says:

    Hello, I was wondering if anyone could tell me if they know if wholes sweeteners brand organic sucanat sugar is safe . It is unrefined sugar that retains the molasses. Molasses I know is high in sulfites. Is sucanat a safe sweetener?

    • Amy says:

      My husband has a sulphite sensitivity that causes swollen red eyes, wheezing, and horrid…ahem…abdominal symptoms 🙂 Foods with naturally occuring sulphites don’t seem to be a problem for him, but anything with added sulphites causes serious misery!

      We’ve found the organic molasses is safe for him. Anything certified organic is not allowed to have ADDED sulphites. So, organic sucanat sugar may be fine for you. We use it with no problems.

  62. kristina says:

    Hey all. Im in the same boat as the rest of you. React to 3-5ppm. Ruining my life. Im on an antibiotic right now thats colored with yellow #10. So you can guess how thats going. I wonder about sulfur dioxide…. i live near steamboat spring and seem to experience extreme fatigue after visiting. Allergic to a freaking town… jeez. Any way. I hate this. It has made me a super neurotic person. Im glad im not alone. I need a support group lol.

  63. kristina says:

    Alice i think the sugar is ok i was under the impression the only molassase that was bad is the sulfured stuff. Organic was ok…. someone correct me if im wrong.

  64. Kassi says:

    I’m on vacation, and found the Well Red at Trader Joe’s——– AMAZING! No headache, no hives, I was really scared to try it but I am truly blown away by the result!

    OK, as for soy stuff, actually tofu is not fermented. But, it’s often made with calcium sulfate along with other things. And, you’d want to be sure it was from organic soybeans. So far as I can tell, the REALLY scary thing about GMOs is that they are primarily invented so they can spray the whole field with RoundUp. So, unless you don’t mind eating poison, you should steer clear. Personally, I’m not much of one for eating poison when I can help it.

    But, another big question:

    Does EVERYTHING fermented contain sulfites? In which case, how would it help to make your own fermented products?


    • Tracy says:

      I have done lacto-fermentation without a problem.

      • Kassi says:

        And, what, pray tell, might lacto-fermentation be???!!?? And, how is it accomplished???

        • Kassi says:

          Sorry, I’m being thick, I can just look it up online… OK, then, what have you tried it with? Veg? Dairy? Sounds interesting, and not terribly complicated. Thanks for the tip!

        • Kassi says:

          Hi, All.

          OK, this may seem extreme….no, wait, you’re all sulfite sensitive, so NOTHING seems too extreme anymore!….but I bought a “soymilk maker”, brand name Joyoung, cost me about $100, best $100 I ever spent on a silly kitchen gadget.

          I now make all my own “milks” and they are truly delicious and don’t contain any of the junk in the manufactured stuff. My most recent one is brown rice, hazelnut, and buckwheat. DELICIOUS! I was making them with soybeans, but learned here that soy may actually be part of my problem.

          A full batch makes about 1.5 liters. To this, I add a couple pinches of salt & about a tablespoon of turbinado sugar, sometimes a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Of course, you don’t NEED to add anything, it’s good plain, too. I’ve used several kinds of nuts & right now hazelnut is my favorite! But cashews and almonds are right up there.

          You can also make this kind of milk without a “soymilk maker”, but it is a lot more work. Probably still worth it if you want to make your own “milks” & don’t want to invest the $100, but I’m telling you, I’m in love with my Joyoung—-I soak my (beans), rice, nuts, grains, for 6 hours or so, then put it in the unit, push a button, and, voila! 20 minutes later I have a batch of delicious non-dairy milk.

          One batch usually lasts me a week or so (I mostly use it on cereal, sometimes just as a beverage, good in baking, too) and I’ve never experienced it coming close to spoiling.

          You can find instructions for making these milks online (of course!), also the soymilk makers.

          Good luck!

  65. Kassi says:

    …I did post that, didn’t I? Does anyone know the answer to the fermented food Q? I’m really curious, but haven’t been able to ascertain it for myself. Thanks~

  66. Kassi says:

    Hm. Maybe nobody knows. Looking online, I’m going to guess it isn’t true that all fermented food contains sulfites. But, that is a guess. I’m no chemist.

    I AM still wondering, however, why the header has a photo of artichokes? Please, please, please don’t tell me artichokes contain sulfites!!!

    I am finding I’m becoming more & more paranoid about what I eat. All my favorite daily or near-daily foods seem to be on “The List”. I’m willing to make changes, but I can’t give up EVERYTHING! Still, a lot of it is fairly easy, simply because of just how miserable these headaches are. At least I’ve managed the infernal hives fairly well. There were many, many frustrating years of trying to track them down.

    I think this sensitivity is MORE difficult than a straight-out allergy. The reaction takes a fair while to set in, in my case the headache very often comes on in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping. Until I saw the much more comprehensive list on this website, I was often completely at a loss as to what I’d eaten/ breathed/ applied somehow. I’m going to say it’s often 12 hours or more before I know I’ve gotten into something I shouldn’t have. Unless it’s something really heavy on sulfites, in which case my skin starts to crawl relatively quickly.

    But, I (very fortunately) don’t have asthma. Because of the delayed nature of the reaction, and the fact that most doctors are going to put it down to “chronic ideopathic” something-or-other, I suspect that many, many more people may in fact be sulfite-sensitive and not know it. After all, when your doctor tells you “most people never learn the cause,” how many people go through the steps of eliminating possibilities until they finally hit on what it is that’s causing the problem? “The doctor said I’d never know” – so just take your pill every day & hope it doesn’t get too bad.

    Then, the fact that even organic produce is often treated with sulfur as a fungicide. So, even ORGANIC food that’s not on “The List” may indeed have traces of sulfur on it!

    Very frustrating indeed.

  67. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Kassi,

    I so agree with you about a lot of people not suspecting their health issues come from sulfites… And I completely understand your frustration. Ever since we accidentally found that sulfites were the reason for my husband’s asthma and multiple allergies (when this medical profession had told him it was pollen, cats and dust mites) things have improved, slowly but very surely and we are still discovering more every day ! Our latest find, which I want to share with you and this community: beware of cosmetics. It seems that every time I used a certain night face cream, it triggered his usual tightness of the chest while in bed. Ok, go ahead and laugh if you want. However, we couldn’t figure out why the asthma would start again on occasion when there was nothing different about our careful diet. Anyway, ever since I stopped using that cream we have been “on a roll” again and he has felt great again for the past three weeks, like he did last summer, and that with mowing our oversized yard and breathing all the pollen that is currently floating in the air. NO MORE ASTHMA! About cosmetics, there is a guy here in France who started a site last year ( les-sulfites.com) and who has a whole chapter on them. So I have switched to plain oil (such as avocado oil) for my face.

    As everybody says, no one person reacts the same way, so until higher authorities (such as the FDA in the U.S. or the EFSA in Europe) start taking this problem seriously , we will be left to share information through places like this great blog (thank you, thank you, Tracy, I need to say it once again ) and unfortunately try things on our own. In any case, I now believe more than ever that our best safeguard against ANY disease is cooking from scratch.

    By the way, thank you Kassi for sharing about the wine. My husband will be going to the States this summer, it would be great if he could have a little wine…

    And to finish, here’s a question for everyone: what can one eat on a plane ?!!!

  68. Tiffany says:

    I have had Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia for about 4 years now. I have been going to a cardiologist and have been taking Atenolol everyday since. It has progressively gotten worse and I never knew why!
    My doctor just couldn’t figure out why every time I ate my heart would just go crazy, I would sweat, my cheeks would swell and turn bright red, the terrible anxious feeling would happen and I would just be exhausted afterwards.
    I knew I was allergic to sulfa and the sulfites in wine but NEVER connected it my heart. All of this time I thought it was my heart and it turns out its been the food allergy!
    Its been a couple weeks now of following the “can” list and I have had no Tachycardia and just a few bouts of check swelling when I eat bread and misc veggies.
    -My question is with bread: Is Gluten FREE the way to go? is this the missing puzzle piece?
    Sorry about the long message. This Site has helped me so much!

    • Dee says:

      I don’t know about gluten, but store bought breads in the package have sulfites in them. That’s why they’re so white and they last forever as opposed to some italian breads and rolls that get hard the next day.
      Pizza too. Some pizzeria’s use dough that contain dough conditioners with sulfites. Home made bread is best. Use either organic unbleached flour or I don’t have any reactions to King Arthur unbleached flour although there’s not much difference in price. It’s just easier to find sometimes. Bread machines are pretty inexpensive now, or you can make something called Artisan bread. You mix by hand and then let it sit. No kneading required.

      The veggies you’re having problems with my be high in sulfur so check out their sulfur content online.
      Good luck.

  69. Sarah says:

    Hi. New to this, coping with the food- my problem is what to drink?! I’m bored of tap water, don’t want to drink too many homemade juices, and am suffering without Pepsi Max (sorry!), fizzy water and squash. Thoughts before I go mad?! Thanks!

    • Tracy says:

      I have a soda stream, so I have fizzy water all the time. I like it with pomegranate or blueberry juice added to it as well. Herbal tea can be nice as well. Coconut water is really good for you as well.


      • Dee says:

        Tracy, what brand of blueberry juice do you use and where do you buy it? I love blueberries and would love to drink something other than water.
        I also love and miss cranberry juice and used to drink it daily. Are there any safe cranberry juices out there? If I could find a safe cranberry juice I’d be happy as a pig in a mud puddle 🙂


        • Rachel says:

          Hi Dee,

          Are you in the USA? As far as I know, organic products except wine may not have sulfites added. That doesn’t mean the fruit wasn’t sprayed with sulfur while growing, but it does make a safer risk to try it.

          I’m not the most sensitive (*knock on wood!*) but have been enjoying a little “Lakewood Organic Fresh Pressed Pure Cranberry” lately, mixed into my water. It’s not from concentrate, and has no sweeteners added.

          You might test out any organic brands your local health-food store, natural co-op, or other hippie haven is selling 😉 I’ve sure changed my tune since I used to think those places were a bit silly!

  70. Dee says:

    Hi all, I’m sulfite sensitive too. It wasn’t easy figuring out what to eat and my diet is pretty limited but I’m getting a little creative with it, and I’m ok with that. I’d much rather be able to breathe. LOL

    I have to vent a little if you don’t mind. Before I realized I had a sulfite sensitivity I was using my asthma inhaler every day. I mentioned it to my dr. and ya know what his response was? He said I was addicted to my inhaler. My jaw dropped. I was using it because I couldn’t breathe.

    It wasn’t until after I ate spareribs with jarred apricot glaze and it sent me to the ER that I realized it was sulfites. The glaze had sulfites listed on the label so it was over 10ppm sulfites. I thought I was going to die. Since giving up sulfites, and SLS products which I react to I haven’t used my inhaler in years.

    anyway, I’m done babbling 🙂 Thank you for listening.
    I do have a couple of questions..

    Does the epi pen work when you can’t breathe due to sulfite reaction? I have them but thankfully, haven’t needed to use it.

    and does anyone know if Natures Promise Organic Vanilla enriched rice milk contains sulfites? I have issues with dairy but I also have problems with high fat content food and drinks. (gallbladder problem) If that rice milk is not good for me, can anyone suggest a non dairy low fat, or fat free alternative?

    thanks, Dee

  71. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Dee
    If you lived in France I would recommend the Bonneterre organic products, they have rice drinks, rice almond drinks, and others which taste wonderful and contain no sulfites. They even have the greatest chorizo sausage, all natural! Only pork and salt. Ok, I know, that doesn’t help you. However I am interested in your question as my sulfite sensitive husband will shortly be spending a couple of months in the States. He too has to stay away from dairy products and he too has stopped using his inhaler… as long as no sulfites hide in his food. Have you contacted Nature’s Promise ? Does anyone else in this forum drink non dairy drinks that have the least possible amount of ingredients and still taste good? And can you find safe raw almonds at places like Whole Foods ?

    Thanks, Joëlle

    • Lindsey says:

      Hi Joelle,

      I found this blog, which then led me to your blog! – thank you so much for sharing your recipes!! I’m an American who just moved to France this year. Had my very first allergic reaction to shellfish in Jan. after eating them all week in Normandy, seemed like I overdid it, and had an anaphylactic shock – since January I’ve not been able to tolerate certain foods, and I may have an allergy or intolerance to sulfite.

      Still seeing doctors to verify my allergies (recently developed one to certain nuts) but hoping to help myself out by avoiding trigger foods. I can’t drink coffee, diet coke, wine, etc and most foods give me terrible problems! At the moment, eggs, spinach, tomatoes and wild rice are my safe foods. White rice and couscous my body can’t handle. Would you have any recommendations about olive oil or oil to cook with that’s sulfite-free?

      I’ll definitely be consulting your blog for advice and recipes! So great to have some guidance about sulfite-free products in France, as I’m not familiar with everything yet 🙂

  72. Joëlle R says:

    Me again

    I just looked up the list of ingredients in Nature’s Promise rice milk and saw… Zinc sulfate. Oops!
    Looking for non dairy drinks I still haven’t found one that contains as few ingredients as possible. Has anyone?


    • Mandi says:

      I’m about to try making my own coconut milk with shredded. My friend does this with great results:)

      • Dee says:

        I made my own coconut milk using Bobs Red mill unsulphered coconut shreds and I didn’t have any negative reactions breathing-wise. But, my stomach couldn’t tolerate the high fat content and it made me feel slightly sick to my stomach. I’m used to fat free milks. Maybe I should try more water and less coconut. It’s a messy job but I used my blender and strained it through cheese cloth.

    • Dee says:

      I just bought West Soy Organic Unsweetened Non GMO soy milk from my local food shop in the US. It’s also available from Amazon.com so that would be great for your husband if he can tolerate it.
      The ingredient list only has 2 ingredients. filtered water, and whole organic soybeans.
      I haven’t gotten up the courage to try it yet though. It comes in those containers that don’t need to be refrigerated until after opening.

      Has anyone tried Westsoy Organic Unsweetened soy milk? I’m going to call the company and see if there are any sulfites in it.

      • Dee says:

        ok, just called West Soy company. They’re a division of Hains btw.. and the rep there looked it up and read that there are ‘no added sulfites’sin their organic unsweetened soy milk. I didn’t ask about the sweetened soy milk though.

  73. Astaire says:

    Thanks for the info! I’ve just discovered that sulfites are added to our foods extensively-unbelievable! Thanks for your comprehensive list.

  74. Pingback: Sulfites | My Porphyria Blog

  75. Shelia says:

    Hi, I have been sulfite sensitive for over 20 years – even before there was such as thing. I am not as sensitive as some of you on some thing but am on others. I have read through most of the posts and have a few things to add that I did not see – or maybe missed. Red dye- and sometimes yellow dye. I do not eat things with lots of dye in them. Such as maraschino cherries. And Fireworks. When I have gone some fireworks displays – and you see that black cloud that is afterwards- that is sulfur and I have to go in the house or be able to get inside somewhere. One time I kept a wet rag over my nose and then got to the car as soon as I could. OR if people light matches for a birthday cake. I have to leave. And dried cranberries are starting to be put in green salads now. Anyway. nice blog. Learned a few things even after all these years.

    • Tracy says:

      Good catch on the fireworks, it hadn’t occurred to me. I don’t eat things with dye in them, either, but I have not seen anythinginking them directly to sulfites – I will do some research! Thanks for the information!


      • kassi says:

        Yellow dye #5—-avoid it like the plague! It’s in everything that looks a little “TOO” yellow or green. I can always count on it to give my skin the creepy crawlies for a couple of weeks. And, of course, a fierce headache.

      • Joëlle R says:

        My husband realized over the winter he should avoid using our fireplace. We were trying to save on our gas bill, but it seems the wood fire triggers something just like fireworks for Shelia. I guess we’ll stay away from Bastille Day celebrations!

    • Kimberlea says:

      I too suffer from sulfite sensitivity that has worsened over the last few years. I have a BS and MS in science so I did my own research/experimentation when several doctors could not tell me why I was experiencing severe rashes. The maraschino cherries are processed by bleaching them white with sulfites and then dying them all the same red color. Those seem to be easy to avoid. It is all the other hidden sulfites that are making me crazy!

  76. Kassi says:

    Hey, I don’t know why, but a long post I just wrote about non-dairy milks ended up waaayyyy up on this page….. so if you’re one of the people interested in non-dairy milks, backtrack a little & you’ll find it…. (or maybe Tracy will have fixed it & put it at the bottom…????)

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kassi –
      It is way up on the page because you put it in as a reply to another comment from back in mid may. If you repost as a stand alone comment, it will end up in the right spot.


    • Dee says:

      Kassi, It took some doing, but I found your post on how to make milks using the Joyoung Soy milk maker.. Maybe I”ll get one and make myself rice milk. At least I’ll know what’s in it before I drink it and there’s no fat in rice so it shouldn’t upset my gallbladder.


      • Dee says:

        ok, I made the rice milk using a plain old blender and it worked fine. The rice milk looks somewhat like milk, but it’s tasteless.

        So, my question is.. I bought organic vanilla extract that contains no alcohol, but it does contain glycerine. Has anyone had a problem with glycerine? As usual I’m afraid to try this so I’d some opinions first. thanks

  77. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Kassi

    A thousand thanks for the VERY useful information. We will definitely invest in this “soymilk maker “. With it it seems we will be able to replicate the Bonneterre drinks. My personal favorites are: 1) a rice almond mix, and 2) a millet almond and hazelnut mix, which I love!

    Again, thank you!

  78. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Dee
    I don’t know about glycerine but why don’t you try a mix of rice and almond (or hazelnuts) ? And what about a little agave syrup maybe? True, plain rice milk made with with a blender has no taste: we have tried it too.

  79. Dee says:

    just a little fyi..

    If you long for home made bread without kneading and fussing over it, look up “Artisan bread” recipes online. You don’t need a bread maker or even a mixer with dough hook although it is a little easier.

    The recipes use flour, water, yeast and salt. Just mix, let it rise for 2 hrs. or use it right away, then refrigerate dough til needed. Of course, you can also add stuff to the dough too.

    I make rolls, bread loaves, and pizza crust out of it. The dough keeps for 2 weeks but mine never lasts that long.

  80. terri says:

    I have been lving with a hive outbreak for allmost a year and have decided to try the sulfite allergy foods. Thank you for this blog

  81. Joëlle R says:

    Hi Tracy ( and everyone )

    I have a question: has anyone out there in the U.S. found a “safe” brand of potato starch ? We are going there for a couple of months and I will need it to do some baking. Thank you all for helping !

  82. Kathryn says:

    I’ve been suffering from sulfite allergies for over 3 years. I see everyone recommending Aquafina bottled water, but I also recommend Crystal Geyser. My tap water has tons of sulfites in it and so does the filtered water at my work. Also, I’ve noticed I react to food and beverages that list filtered water in its ingredients. You never know what the filtered water in those items is filtered with, could be sulfites.

    • Joëlle R says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      A question (I hope you answer it): do you cook everything with bottle water then, as opposed to tap water?

  83. Sharon says:

    I also have sulfite problems for the last eight months and trying To find receipes that are sulfite free. Most receipes have natural sulfite ingredients listed. I am also looking for bread and cookie receipes. They all mention yeast or baking soda..aren’t these sulfite ingredients? Thanks for all the input..sure appreciate all the help!!! By the way, do macadamia nuts have sulfites? I have read conflicting thoughts on this.

    • Tracy says:

      Baking powder has sulfites, not baking soda. I have trouble with yeast, but don’t think it is a sulfite issue. I have not heard about macadamia nuts, I will do some research!

  84. Joëlle R says:

    Hello Sharon,

    I read up on baking powder recently and found out that it is basically baking soda + cream of tartar + starch and I believe this is where you will have problems as regards to sulfites. Here at home I systematically replace baking powder with baking soda (but be careful, you should use a lot less, I personally use about one third of the original required quantities) and my latest culinary adventures have led me to keep it aside until I have made the batter (rather than mixing it with the dry ingredients), add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to activate it, and then mix the foamy result into the batter. My gluten free muffins and cakes rise beautifully and now that I use the lemon juice they don’t have that special, not always pleasant, baking soda after taste at all.

    Some sites explain the difference between the two; here is one of them:

    Hope this was helpful.

  85. Kathryn says:

    Hi Joelle,

    Yes, I use bottled water whenever I need water in a recipe, including cooking pasta, etc. in it. It seems to really be making a difference.

    Thanks, Kathryn

  86. Linda says:

    So I bought a bread machine, does gold medal enriched unbleached unbromated bread flour have sulfites?

  87. Dee says:

    Thanks Rachel. Yep, I’m in the good old USA. I’ll look for that brand and give it a try.

  88. Joëlle says:

    Hi Kathryn,
    Thank you for answering my question. We are now avoiding tap water and it does seem to make a difference. But it doesn’t make things easy…

  89. Stephany says:

    Thank so much for this. I just started having reactions two weeks ago, one that was really bad after drinking a glass of wine which included throat closing. I also once before got a couple hives from dried coconut and have put the two together. After a blood test I found that I am gluten and lactose intolerant and going sulfite free on a 4 day rotation diet. This has been very difficult as I live overseas in the Middle East and travel to exotic countries 3 times a year ( I love to travel to try the food, but now my ingredient list only has about 30 items on it…and I don’t trust restaurants). I am having daily reactions and water that I can drink can be hard to fine. I have lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks and just struggling with daily migraines and throat swelling. I also don’t trust the medical system here which makes me nervous.

    Do inhalers help when your thwart swells? What is a safe brand?
    Does benadryl help anyone with respitory reactions?
    What do you take for migraines?

    What flours are safe…I can get bobs red mill here but that is about it.
    Are unshelled organic nuts okay?

    Has anyone tried 100 percent agave…tequila?

    Thank you so much…I will be askig many questions as this is so new from eating anything and everything to be limited on so much…and overseas away from a local whole foods.

  90. Amy says:

    This is a fantastic blog! I’m working on a blog post about discovering my husband’s sulphite sensitivity. I’ll be sure to link to this blog as a resource.

    It took us 17 years to figure out what was wrong with my husband and his symptoms escalated from mild, to then severe abdominal problems, and then to wheezing and swelling around his eyes and needing to carry an epi-pen. It was very scary and frustrating.

    • Joelle says:

      Hi Amy
      It took us over 20 years to figure it out… Same symptoms for my husband as yours, plus asthma, plus unexplained profuse sweating… I can ‘t wait to see your blog. I’m planning to start one on sulfite free, gluten free, dairy free food and tips, but not until next summer. It’s taking me a long time to get recipes right and to find the time to type them, take photos, etc. I just hope to be of help for other people with similar problems.

      • Amy says:

        Sounds like a neat blog idea Joelle! I pick away at mine when I have time, which is often only once a week but the content is slowly building up. I also post dairy free recipes as several of us are allergic to milk (and we gave up all animal products this year). I haven’t finished my post about our experience with sulphites yet, but you’re giving me a nice push to work on it this week 🙂 Good luck with your new blog.

  91. Jacques Coulombe says:

    Be carefull if you have a severe allergy or have hereditary angioedema (HAE), sulfites & sulfates in other word avery food containing sulfer, The EPIPEN contain sulfer (sodium metabisulfites) , this nearly killed me on May 20th, 2011.

  92. Courtney says:

    Great list! What about coffee?! I read on another website that coffee can have sulfites. Just curious if anyone knows?!?! Thanks in advance to your reply!

    • Arkadii Itsikson says:

      Hello Courtney
      Coffee has a natural Sulfite layer in the bean which is accentuated in the roasting process. So the stronger you have your coffee the more sulfites you ingest. Cold process coffee reduces the problem.

      • Courtney says:

        Thank you!! My coffee isn’t strong when I make it, but I cannot tolerate my grandmother’s or really anyone else’s b/c it is Soo strong!! So glad to know why!!

  93. Joëlle R says:

    Hi everyone,
    Well today I learned something I thought I should share with this community: beware of “fake” honey. Instead of real honey coming from a real hive where real bees labored for months, what you get in a store may well be made from white sugar (hence sulfites) with some kind of flavor added. We never suspected it until, well, the inhaler was needed and we did some research. Here is a link to a blog where it is clearly explained:
    Once again, make sure you are wearing your reading glasses when shopping!

  94. Joëlle says:

    Hi Courtney

    Coffee has not been a problem in our household. However, if you read up above, sometimes tap water can be, in which case you have to make it with bottled water.

  95. elliedeee56 says:

    Amy and Joelle, As one who can’t tolerate dairy either, I’d love to see your blogs when they’re up and running.

    • Joëlle says:

      Hi elliedee,

      I don’t know if you keep up with the info on this forum, but I have finally started my blog. For now it’s in French (sorry about that) and it doesn’t have many recipes posted yet but it might give you some ideas. Of course you will have to adapt the recipes to your own tolerance levels; for instance I occasionally use a little onion (but that can be skipped) and you can substitute rice cream for soy cream if you are allergic. In any event, as you know, before you use any packaged food, you need to put on your reading glasses and find the list of ingredients… A real challenge sometimes! The blog address is:
      My only purpose is to share what works for my husband’s health. It was so hard at first for us (2 years ago now), that I just want to be helpful to others with the same problem. Even if they are in French, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out the recipes!

  96. Amy says:

    Hey there, mine is already up and running. There are a few dairy free posts. Just have a look at the labels on the sidebar for the dairy free stuff. Four out of six of my family are allergic to milk, one is also lactose intolerant, and we switched to a plant based diet early this year so none of us consume dairy products. I hope you find some useful info 🙂

    • elliedeee56 says:

      I’m a total ditz and can’t find my away around message boards 🙁

      Can I have a link? please?

      • Amy says:

        Fellow ditz here, I replied in the wrong place! It’s thisallergicfamily.blogspot.ca

        I haven’t done much writing about sulphites yet. There are 14 food and contact allergies between the 6 of us so I’m working my way through the list. Lots of writing to do still!

  97. Joëlle says:

    Good for you, Amy! What’s the address? Mine won’t be ready until next summer I think, especially as I am planning to have a bilingual version ( French and English ). But the encouragements I’ve received so far are pushing me to get moving faster! ; )

    • Amy says:


      Hope it’s helpful, I still have a lot of writing to do 🙂 Making a bilingual blog is a great idea! My boys have just started studying French this year.

  98. Sharon Johnson says:

    I have sulfite allergies and need recipes that are sulfite free. I will be going for further tests as it is getting worse. I am confused by the responses concerning tap versus bottled water. It seems some people vouch for one or the other. Is boiled tap water best but what about when traveling? Thanks for the response!

    • Tracy says:

      I thought tap water was ok for me, but discovered that I was reacting to it.I haven’t yet found a filtered water that works for me, so I have switched over to 100% spring water and that seems to be working for me.

    • Joëlle says:

      This must depend on the area where you live. For instance, my husband just spent two months in the Providence, RI area. He found that the tap water there was definitely having an effect on him and when he switched to bottled water ( NOT filtered water, such as the Coca Cola bottling company’s, which contains added sulfates, see the Time magazine link http://time.com/3029191/bottled-water-ingredients-nutrition-health/ ) he stopped having asthma. He got Poland Spring, which naturally contains sulfates too, but at a very low level (according to the label, between 1.8 and 3.6 ppm) and it seemed to work for him.

    • Patricia says:

      Not everyone with a sulphite (SO3) allergy also reacts to sulphate (S04), but I do. In my experience water should have a sulphate concentration of less than 10 ppm (microgram per litre) should be safe enough to drink once, but if used daily less is better. In Europe this is usually labelled on bottled water. Up to now, I found Barleduc, Spa, Volvic and Highland Spring to be ok, Evian only as last resort. At home I use an active carbon filters to filter out the sulphate to drink tap water and be able to shower without getting a rash, since it is around 40 ppm. I use a Brita jug in the kitchen a Bobble bottle for on the go and a brandless filter on my shower. I do expect that these filters filter out a percentage of the sulphate in the water, so logically it would depend on the concentration you start with. Usually you can inquire what your concentration of sulphate is at your water supplier. My sister’s tapwater has a concentration of 2 ppm, so it is worth investigating. If you react to sulphate also take care of shampoo, toothpaste and body lotion!

  99. elliedeee56 says:

    The main thing is to avoid processed foods and use organic. As far as recipes go most of the time I can take a regular recipe and use only organic spices, organic ingredients and it’s ok for me. Don’t use bottled spices that are not organic because some of them contain sulfites as a preservative.

    I use a combination of tap water and spring water. I boil pasta’s or potatoes with tap water, but I drink spring water.

  100. Amy says:

    Oops sorry, I thought clicking on my name would take you to my link but maybe I’m wrong! It’s http://www.thisallergicfamily.blogspot.ca.

    I should mention that my husband’s sulphite sensitivity definitely isn’t as severe as some of the comments I’m seeing on this blog! He can’t have anything with added sulphites for sure (sulphured dried fruit is horrible) but he can eat foods like garlic and even organic apple cider vinegar is fine for him. I haven’t written much about the sulphite issue yet – our family of 6 is dealing with 14 different food and contact allergies, sulphite sensitivity, and lactose intolerance. I’m slowly blogging my way through the list, lol!

  101. Kimberlea says:

    I have read and reread this blog and found it very informative and helpful. I am encouraged to not be standing alone with my sensitivity as my family and friends are probably tired of hearing about it and discussing it with me. Thanks so much! Please keep posting and sharing.

    • Tracy says:

      Welcome, Kimberlea – you are definitely not alone. It is so hard when others don’t understand what you are going through. This is a difficult sensitivity to have not only because you feel so crummy, but also because sulfites are in so many things that you just can’t avoid them! We are always here to discuss the issues (or if you just need to rant)

  102. Sharon says:

    Thanks for all of your help Tracy! I have had trouble with bottled water lately and sticking with tap for now. Is distilled better to use when traveling? What meat besides chicken is safe? I was able to eat sirloin but reacting now 🙁 What veggies? I am now down to cooked carrots. What kind of lettuce can you eat? Thanks again!!!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Sharon! Some bottled water definitely has added sulfites (and other chemicals). I know lots of folks that have luck with distilled water (but I have not). At this point I only use pure spring water – Fiji is my favorite. Even if I didn’t react to distilled water, I would stick with the spring water because of the trace minerals. I can eat organic red and green leaf lettuce and organic iceberg. As far as other veggies, I eat cucumber, celery, corn and sweet potatoes in addition to carrots. Hope this helps!


  103. Cathy says:

    I just read thru the blog, I have anaphylaxis to sulfites and found the information extremely helpful. The lists on the website are great.
    Thank you all for sharing.

  104. Kristine says:

    I find that coffee machines used in schools or airport lounges cause issues. They mix water with powdered milk that foams with instant coffee.

    Also my symptoms include back of knee swelling in the lymph area, tongue swelling and right side liver pain. I often break out in rashes on my tummy or over my liver area. Does anyone else have this?

    • Ashley says:

      Yes! I break out in rashes on my stomach!

      Good to know about the coffee… I travel A LOT so I am going to have to be very careful. And I <3 coffee. 🙁

  105. Laurie says:

    Wow Tracy my husband found your blog after I suffered a terrible migraine from drinking Dasani water. I have suffered for over 10 years with migraines from food sensitivities. A process of elimination lead me to realize that every time I ate something that contained High Fructose Corn Syrup or Citric Acid it caused me to get a headache within minutes. These headaches usually turn into a migraine. In the past I researched how HFCS and CA are processed, trying to figure out what the commonality is. I can’t tell you how many Doctors have looked at me like I am crazy. Finally after discovering your blog we have figured out that my problem is the sensitivity to Sulfites! The tolerance levels that you discussed above makes so much sense! It all adds up now. I could never figure out why sometimes I could drink a beer and be fine and other times get a headache. Most of the foods listed on this blog I have experienced some sort of sensitivity to at one time or another. Suffering from headaches almost every day and migraines at least 10 times a month has made me wonder if I should just quit eating (No really). I have visited several Neurologists and have finally figured out that Sumatriptan takes away the migraines but have never been able to figure out what I can do to prevent them. My husband loves to cook and we purchase vegies during the summer from our local farms so eating whole foods has made a huge difference in my life, but there was still that unknown factor of where all these problems were coming from. Almost every time we eat at a restaurant I end up sick.
    Your blog has given me hope that I can possibly control some of my Sulfite intake. For example, my supplements all have gelatin in the tables, yikes!
    I have also recently discovered soy lecithin on the list of ingredients that causes me headaches.
    Have you discovered any supplements that help Sulfite sensitivities?

    • Tracy says:

      I take molybdenum as a deficiency in this mineral is linked to sulfite sensitivity. I get mine online from a company called Mineralife. It has helped me quite a bit. B12 deficiency is also linked to sulfites sensitivity. I regularly take epsom salt baths to increase my magnesium and also to absorb the sulfates (which we need to maintain health but is typically converted from sulfites, so if you are limiting those, you will be deficient in sulfates).I add baking soda to the water to increase the already present detox effect. I also hear that chlorella can help.

      • Joëlle says:

        Hi Tracy

        I have often wondered, what difference have you noticed since taking molybdenum? Has your tolerance level improved? What I’ m looking for is something for my husband that would allow me to use more natural sulfites ingredients in my cooking.

    • Ashley says:

      I relate SO much. Oh my goodness. I alrady have a long list of foods that trigger symptoms for me but NOTHING has been as DEBILITATING as sulfites and sulphur dioxide. I recently went on a business trip and after eating a salad with dried apricots, a glass of red wine (I know!) that night and Dasani water the WHOLE trip because that is what was in the hotel – I literally felt like I had been hit by a truck. No one understands these migraines and extreme joint pain, muscle fatigue and DEPRESSION. It was so so so so horrible the worst I have ever felt thus far from food sensitivities. That was well over a week ok and I am just now starting to feel somewhat normal. Not to mention the EXTREME bloating and swelling. 🙁 I am hoping now that I am more aware I will be able to prevent this and get rid of the dark bruised circles under my eyes. I never new about the citric acid! Learning a lot from this site.

      • Tracy says:

        Ugh – I am so sorry you got hit so hard! My dark circles under my eyes have pretty much disappeared, so there is hope! The sulfites will build up in your system, so the more you ingest, the worse it will be – take care to stay under your threshold!

  106. Ashley says:

    Holy moly. This is a lot to take in :(((( Maple Syrup of all grades?

    I am kind of getting the grasp of all of this but I am very worried about traveling which a do a lot for work 🙁

    Any suggestions?

    I am already free of gluten, soy, corn, dairy, yeast, nuts, peanuts, legumes, vinegar, sesame seed, flax and mustard (there’s more but those are the big ones)…

  107. Ashley says:

    Oh – also, what about coconut that is unsulphared and organic?


    • Tracy says:

      Coconut itself should be fine as long as it is organic and nothing added! I drink coconut water to get my potassium and use coconut oil all the time.

  108. Elliedeee says:

    Hi Joelle. Thanks, I actually ‘saved’ the link to your blog yesterday but I haven’t had a chance to look it over thoroughly yet. The first thing I did was check out the recipe section. You’ve got some nice recipes on it.

    I have Google, and for those that don’t understand French, “Google translate” will translate it for you.

  109. Joëlle says:

    Thank you Elliedee for visiting my “humble Internet abode” with its very few recipes. I checked Google translation and as a result had to specify a couple of things on my pages: what I call “farine de manioc” is tapioca flour (not starch); also I am not sure what kind of potato starch you can find in the U.S. that would not have been made without sulfites. Anybody know? If you do please reply…

  110. Ashley says:

    Great Lakes grass-fed beef gelatin doesn’t use sulfites in production!


  111. Sharlean says:

    Hi all I am just about to embark on the sulphite free diet as I have discovered they are a trigger for my hemiplegic migraines (these cause stroke like symptoms!)… I am already gluten free and so it’s not going to be easy but thank you so much Tracy as your website has been so easy to navigate and the comments have really been helpful!!

  112. didi says:

    Hi….I waz just reading an article by Dr. Rosemary Waring from university of Birmingham. She is the only Dr I have heard of who has done extensive research on sulfites and sulfates…I am quite excited by all this info I am positive you will find very interesting and hopeful. Let me know. I too suffer big time…getting started myself

  113. Bill Bate says:

    67 without too many health problems so I think myself lucky, however of late I have not been feeling well at all, seen doctors, Cardiologist, Chiropractors, You name it but every now and again I suffer from the same problems after eating or drinking something. A Glass of wine, tonight it was a Restaurant meal of Pasta and cheese Pizza in an Italian Restaurant.
    Jittery, heart races out of beat, hot perspiring, urinate a lot, short breaths, am I going mad.
    Lots of Drinks of water and two hours later I appear to be settling down again.
    I have been hospitalized twice and they could find only heart Arrhythmia, which settled on its own after a few hours.
    I am taking a few heart drugs now like beta blockers but still these episodes happen after eating certain foods … I thought that I might need to see a shrink before I happened onto your site.
    Can you encounter this problem at my stage of life, is it a common problem ?
    Is there a list of foods which are safe ?
    Your list of don’ts appears to cover just about everything that can be eaten.
    Thanks for reading this Plea.

    • George says:

      I’m 79 and have been experiencing sulfite reactions for 6 or so months. My symptoms include palpitations and nasal membrane swelling an bleeding. No breathing problems. Most alcohol, especially cheap wine like Beringer White Zinfandel, is really bad for me. I read on one blog that Super B Complex Vitamins help some folks. Also, on this site, some folks say antihistimines help, if taken beforehand. It doesn’t work for me as I don’t have any breathing problems. My doctor also recommended taking Pepcid AC 40MG beforehand. I have had some success with that. The following link is pretty good, as it is practical. Sorting out the damaging foods is frustrating. The USDA doesn’t help much. The food industry protects themselves. Good luck with the battle. George http://holdthesulfites.com/ok-you-cant-eat-everything/

    • George says:

      Bill, What a hoot! I forgot what website I was on & referenced this one. Lots of websites with the same info. This one is pretty good. Sorry for the goof. George

  114. Joëlle says:

    Hi Bill
    I am sorry to hear you too are having problems. You seem surprised that they are only showing up now, but they may have been lingering all along. We only realized that the main trigger to my husband’s asthma (as well as other symptoms which I detailed in a one of my comments up above) was sulfites after he turned 61. Maybe your body, like his, was just on overload for too many years. You are now worried about food, which I can completely relate to. My only advice is to use unprocessed foods (besides eliminating wine and maybe onions too) and do your own cooking. Of course this means major changes in your life but it does bring about great improvements. Following this blog is very helpful too especially if you live in the States. Tracy has done a great job. Good luck, don’t despair!
    P-S: if you can read French I just started a site where, if you click on the tab “dans mon placard” (in my pantry) you will see how you can substitute many of the usual ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen, for healthier ones. Happy cooking!

  115. Billie Bickford says:

    A local business called Tendercrop Farm raises its own hogs/pigs. Interestingly, they are fed soybeans. In all probability this is a common feed in the hog/pig raising industry. This would explain the presence of sulfites in pork.

  116. Vickie says:

    I was diagnosed today i have asthma chronic rhinitis and lactose intolerance. I am presuking a vegan lifestyle is out of the question?! What can i actually eat because all ive eaten today is bread. Please help.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Vicki –
      I think a vegan lifestyle would be very difficult at this point. Everyone reacts a little differently, so I think your best bet at this point is to try an elimination diet and see what works for you and what doesn’t. A lot of people find lettuce, cucumbers, chicken and turkey to be safe foods (but not everybody). Some people do well with beans and rice, others not so much. It is really going to be a matter of testing for you now. I do ok with chicken, turkey, duck, goose, milk, lettuce, cucmbers, avocado, tomato, bananas and corn – but that is just me. It took me a long time to figure out because I was reacting to tap water and drinking it all day long. It is a process…..

      • Vickie says:

        Thank you for your reply
        I am lactose intolerant everything seems to contain either lactose or sulphites i cabt eat meat without gravy so i wouldnt waste it like that. I haven’t eaten at all today minus one satsuma i just feel stuck i cant see a dietician until june and my doctor is worse than useless.

        I dont know what to do or where to turn im hungry im tired im thirsty and i dont want to be sick

  117. Joëlle says:

    Just to emphasize what Tracy said: watch out for tap water. For my husband’s health I use it less and less too. Whatever you buy, cook it yourself (I would say turkey, chicken slices from the deli should be avoided). And relax. In time you will know what is best for you and you will feel better, I promise!

    • Jeff says:

      I am learning that even some filtered waters are no safer than the tap water. Depends on how their filtered and the company. Even some bottled waters add ingredients back in and apparently have sulfites.

  118. Kathy says:

    I have recently found that charcoal water filters are made with coconut shells which have been treated with sulfites at harvest.

    • Tracy says:

      Yes – I can’t do any kind of charcoal filter. I got the Big Berkey filter that has 4 ceramic filters in it, and that seems to work great.

      • linda says:

        Finally targeting sulfites, after many years of hell, trying to figure out what reacting to
        I have trouble with all charcoal, but use the berke, I didnt realize there were ceramic filters, but they have activated charcoal in them, you dont react cause its
        different than the regular filters?

  119. Joëlle says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have just started translating the recipes in my sulfite-free cooking blog into English, in case you are looking for ideas. These have worked for my husband, maybe they can be of help to you. I am hoping to have most of them translated and adapted (because of the ingredients and the Celsius/ Fahrenheit differences) by the end of summer.

  120. Nancy says:

    This website is awesome!!! But I wouldn’t be able to eat very much of anything! If I want to feel fine! Not only are sulphites on the top of the list not to have for me but I am allergic to potatoes,corn, bananas,oranges,mushrooms, soy, celery I should live in a bubble!

  121. shaunamom says:

    Just thought I’d add in – I believe pistachios can be problematic as well. I haven’t looked into it, only reacted a number of times, and then came across a little blurb mentioning sulfites can be used to bleach the shells.

    Haven’t looked into it much, just thought i’d pass it on!

  122. Clare says:

    Thank you to everyone who contributes to this site it is so helpful! I am salicylate and sulphite very intolerant, severely asthmatic and very fed up! At moment seem only to be able to eat oats rice chicken peas organic yoghurt organic butter papaya and camomile tea. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for how to manage lunch when not at home? I live in the UK – are there any “chain” restaurants that can be trusted to serve simple, haha, food? Does sensitivity diminish ? Can anyone recommend allergist/ dietitian or anyone else who can help? My GP is great very sympathetic and will refer me but don’t know who to ask to see-thank you in advance x

  123. Deedee56 says:

    I make my own bread so there are no preservatives and I know what’s in it. I make soups using organic beef or chicken and add organic veggies. I make chicken and rice which I love. Those can all be eaten for lunch. I’ve been sulfite sensitive for years and my asthma was really bad before I gave up sulfites. Now there have been years where I haven’t had to use my asthma inhaler. As far as restaurants go.. I wouldn’t even chance it. I find the servers are very sympathetic but once the food arrives it’s a different story. last week I went to an even and ordered plain chicken and they served it plain, but what they didn’t tell me was that they marinated it. It didn’t look right to me so I had my husband taste it and it had other flavors in it from the marinade so I didn’t eat it. I’ve ordered plain pasta in restaurants and quite a few times I’ve gotten pasta that’s obviously had the sauce rinsed off of it. I just bring my own food now.

  124. Clare says:

    Hi DeeDee56 thank you for your reply- what is your bread receipe? Have tried some from other sites and reacted to them-I would be grateful if you could post it? Can’t really do soups as am sal sensitive so veggies are out for me. Yes you are right re eating out and that is exactly what happened to me today! Just struggling with what to do if I go out with folks for day and we all need food? Guess as this is all new to me it seems a little overwhelming? Was hoping there might be a way of still eating out with friends and family……. Do you take your own food in to restaurants or call ahead and check its ok or just stay away? Sorry seems a simple question but trying to get my head round all this and am grateful for support! Thank you

  125. Joëlle says:

    Hi everybody
    Besides these foods my husband has also been able to enjoy organic cured ham (ingredients: pork, salt), lamb and duck (bought fresh from the butcher’s) and preserved duck (ingredients: duck, duck fat, salt). We have also had luck with frozen fish. What won’t do though is grapes, even organic. I am told that they are still sprayed with sulfur based products and other things which obviously don’t agree with him. That’s too bad. But life without his inhaler has sure been good!

    • Jeff says:

      Be careful with the Pork. Usually high in natural occuring sulfites (so I have read) and it tears me up. Even organic!

  126. Jeff says:

    In my case, if I am correct, sometimes I dont realize (guess cause I always feel rough) that I am getting some sulfites, and it builds up in my system and I get in big trouble. Then when I finally find the culprit, it takes long time to get them back out, its almost seems that even simple exertion or even stretching muscles can stir them up in me, like a never ending supply of them till I get them cleared out some. Exercise is a big no no for stirring it up.

  127. DeeDee56 says:

    Hi Clare, It is overwhelming when you first find out you’re sulfite sensitive. I lost 50 lbs when I first found out because I was afraid to eat anything. Of course, now I’ve gained it all back because there are a lot of things I can eat. You’ve just got to cook from scratch and be a little creative. Below is the link to the recipe for the dough that I use. I keep it in the fridge and make rolls, or make a pizza, or calzone out of it. All basic bread recipes have the same ingredients. Could you be reacting to the Brand of flour maybe? I use either organic and I’m ok with King Arthur white flour. It has to be unbleached. I’ve tried less expensive brands of unbleached flour and I’ve reacted to them. Don’t eat store bought bread. There’s only one restaurant that I feel comfortable eating at and I usually order a plain grilled steak, baked, or sweet potato and I’ll pick at some salad. I found when you do go to a restaurant it’s better to go when they’re not too busy. I have called ahead to restaurants or catered affairs and they’ll usually give me a steamed chicken cutlet, baked potato and steamed vegetable. I have to stress that I want it absolutely plain. They’ll usually ask me what I’m allergic to and for years I told them sulfites, but they never knew what I was talking about so now I just tell them I’m allergic to food additives and preservatives. If I’m going out for the day I bring my own food. I actually bought an insulated bag, but it looks like a purse. I’ll usually bring a chicken cutlet with strained organic baby food pears, or applesauce on a homemade roll with me. I fry chicken cutlets too. I use plain Jason brand bread crumbs. They don’t bother me either. I buy only organic chicken, and grass fed beef. I make mini pies to take with me. I can eat red apples but I think you can only eat Golden delicious. You can make a pie out of them. Just cook them first before you add them to the crust. I make butter cookies using my dairy free margarine. Aren’t there any vegetables you can eat? What are you eating now? Can you eat rice or pasta? You can also make pasta from scratch too if you can find a flour that is ok for you.


  128. Jeff says:

    If anyone knows, I am trying to find a shower filter thats good for reducing sulfates/sulfites without…..putting more out like the calcium sulfite types. Anyone use one thats good and they trust?

  129. Clare says:

    Hi DeeDee56 thank you for the link- it’s so kind of you to reply! I will try your receipe tomorrow- I miss bread loads and toast! Am very happy to cook from scratch as I love cooking baking and preserving and think that am too new to this to try at the moment coz it just seems depressing! Still cook ” normal” food for my kids etc every day but for me am just sticking to chicken rice and peas and porridge with papaya mango and pomegranate. Haven’t tried pasta yet- seem to reCt to so many foods that am playing it safe- am also on antibiotics for next four months so am trying not to upset my digestive system so eat lots of homemade organic yoghurt! Thanks for taking the time to reply- knowing other people have overcome this is very cheering!
    Regards Clare x

  130. DeeDee56 says:

    Hi Clare. I think it’s smart to stick to what you’re eating until you get off those antibiotics. Those meds can really do a number on your body and your stomach and I think it would be difficult to tell which foods you’re sensitive to because of sulfites, or just because your body is out of whack from the meds. Meds often contain sulfites too. Don’t worry. You’ll be eating well soon. You’ve just got to be a little creative with substitutions when cooking. I can’t eat eggs and a lot of recipes call for eggs, so I substitute organic baby food strained pears, or applesauce for them. I buy the baby food jars because they’re smaller and it’s less waste for me. I also buy them to eat as a snack because I am trying to lose weight. You can’t make an omelet out of them.. Lol.. but I make cakes, cookies, and pancakes using them. I put a little butter and organic sugar on top of my pancakes, or I’ll simmer organic blueberries, or other fruits and make a syrup out of them. You can also substitute flax seed in recipes for eggs if you can tolerate flax seed. I dip chicken cutlets in the baby food strained fruits and then roll them in bread crumbs. I make my own gravies. I think I had it a little easier than most in a way because money was so tight when I was growing up and even after I got married that I had to learn to make foods from scratch because I couldn’t afford to buy processed foods. It’s kind of ironic but now that I can afford to buy ready made foods and afford to go to restaurants I can’t because of the sulfites..

    Another thing I have problems with is sulphates. That’s the ingredient that causes soaps to lather. My head would get sores in it after shampooing, my hands would get itchy after doing dishes but I didn’t even think of sulfates. Then I noticed after brushing my teeth my face would get really red and that scared me. I thought it was my blood pressure so I went for a check up and was fine, then I realized it was the sulfates in the toothpaste. After I switched to a sulfate free toothpaste, my face doesn’t get red after brushing my teeth. I often wonder what would have happened if I continued to use a sulphate based toothpaste and soaps. I don’t know why my face got so red afterwards. I need to live in a chemical free world….

  131. Sharon says:

    You have crafted a super informative piece on sulphites, thank you, most appreciated. I would like to throw in my recent experience. Having just switched to an all organic diet, in part due to my partner having Colon cancer and part because of my sulphite allergy. I have discovered that organic garlic must contain high amounts of sulphite! The reaction I had was one of the worst since discovering my allergy and Subsequently avoiding sulphites. Conventional garlic never affected me…pesticides subduing the sulphites?? Who knows, but it seems if I am to continue using garlic, I may have to go back to the conventional type.

    • Tracy says:

      It is rare that I hear of someone who reacts more strongly to an organic product rather than a conventional one. I am most surprised because it is garlic – often garlic is treated with anti fungals and additional sulfites to prevent mold issues. Everyone is different, it may just be that you are more sensitive to naturally occurring sulfites and the organic garlic has a higher concentration of those. Not quite sure, we all react differently. Just keep paying attention to your reactions and stay safe!

  132. Jeff says:

    Nothing surprises me on organic, I just took a bad hit from what was supposed to be organic grass fed beef. But Garlic is really high in sulfur! It is a problem for some.

  133. Carter says:

    Thank you so much for your amazing life changing website! I know I’m sensitive to sulfur and feel like there’s definitely been some sources of sulfites that I’ve overlooked that have been continuing to make me sick. Would be so incredible if you could answer a few additional questions for me…really trying to understand all this stuff…

    1) Are all vitamins sulfited? Or just vitamins they add to things? I like organic coconut / almond milk and fear those vitamins are sulfited. I also take vitamins / herbs / supplements in general for health. Are those sulfited, too?

    2) I’ve made my own fermented foods. Do those have natural sulfites or just the store bought kind?

    3) Is all vodka free of sulfites or just Absolut?

    4) How do you get around the sulfited tap water? I filter all of my water through the Berkey water filter.

    5) Is all charcoal sulfited? Seems like some wouldn’t be bc not all coconut is sulfited. Does charcoal always cause a reaction?

    6) Are unbleached tea bags sulfite free?

    Thank you very much for your time and help.

  134. Carter says:

    Thank you so much for your amazing life changing website! I know I’m sensitive to sulfur (CBS mutation) and feel like there’s definitely been some sources of sulfites that I’ve overlooked that have been continuing to make me sick. Would be so incredible if you could answer a few additional questions for me…really trying to understand all this stuff…

    1) Are all vitamins sulfited? Or just vitamins they add to things? I like organic coconut / almond milk and fear those vitamins are sulfited. I also just take vitamins / herbs / supplements in general for health. Are those sulfited, too?

    2) I’ve made my own fermented foods. Do those have natural sulfites or just the store bought kind?

    3) Is all vodka free of sulfites or just Absolut?

    4) How do you get around the sulfited tap water? I filter all of my water through the Berkey water filter, but I have been using the black elements with the ones that filter out fluoride. Are the ceramic ones better?

    5) Is all charcoal sulfited? Seems like some wouldn’t be bc not all coconut is sulfited. Does charcoal always cause a reaction?

    6) Are unbleached tea bags sulfite free?

    7) I’m confused about powdered spices. Are they safe if they are organic and powdered or do any sort of powdered spices potentially pose a risk (i.e. I would need to write the company to find out if sulfites are added.)

    Thank you very much for your time and help.


  135. Hi can any one tell me if they ever get a bad taste In their mouth I get it 2days after having brandy and coke it’s horrible lasts a couple of days haven’t drank for a while as I can’t stand after effects and I only have 2or3 yesterday I had salted cashew nuts nothing in them only salt and I have that taste does any one relate to this any soft drink in pub I can have my daughter is getting married soon I would like to celebrate a little with somethink thanks in advance

    • Joëlle says:

      Hi Lesley,
      For a fuzzy drink when others are guzzling down champagne my husband has Perrier! That’s what he did when our son got married two years ago. Congratulations to you and have fun at the party.

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  137. WHITNEY says:

    Amazing site! It’s wonderful to be able to find so much information in one place. I also recently purchased a book from an Aussie bloke called The Sulphite Connection. I’ve just started it, but think there could be a lot of useful information for those of us struggling with sulfite allergy/sensitivity.

    My question is in regards to cooking methods. I eat mostly organic poultry and sulfite free veggies, but my husband and I love to grill and usually cook these items on our charcoal grill. Could the charcoal be contaminating our food with sulfites? And if so, does anyone know of a safer alternative to use with our charcoal grill? I’ve been google searching, but haven’t found a great answer yet. Are wood chips a safer alternative?

    Thanks for your input!


  138. Joan Wick says:

    For about 3 to 4 years I have noted my stool having a terrible odor AFTER eating
    green vegetables. I have asked nurse, doctor & they just look at me like I am
    having mental problems. I also developed large bags under my eyes during
    sleep, for more than a year. Without going into detail, I discovered that the
    Swiss Chard I was growing/eating has been the culprit. After just a couple
    of weeks without eating it has made a terrific difference.
    Now that I have read this site I see the light, the odor did smell like a putrid,
    strong sulpher! I am going to stop eating dried prunes as well, and am
    hoping that my problem will be under control. Already the swelling under my
    eyes has disappeared, so I don’t have to be embarrassed when meeting my
    I need to read all the comments over carefully & hopefully learn more that
    will help me personally.
    I share this because of all of you – unselfishly sharing your experiences.
    Thank you,


    • Tracy says:

      I have the same exact reaction with cruciferous vegetables. I get the bruised eyes and swelling ( along with a racing heart ad high blood pressure). I hope this isn’t TMI, but I also sweat and it smells like garlic and onions when I get sulfur rich foods. I hope you find great health, Joan! It is possible if you listen to your body! Please let me know if you have questions or want to talk. It can be trying and I am always here!

  139. Bettina says:

    Hi everyone! I just spent 45 minutes reading here with my jaw dropped. First of all, Tracy thanks SO much for creating this space to educate us, and give us a place to vent and get help. I appreciate everyone that has contributed their stories and knowledge. I am just now discovering my issues through an elimination diet (after 45 years of crazy, random symptoms). NO physician has been able to help- but they’ve sure offered a lot of pills. :-/

    My tipping point was this past April. I was getting extremely ill with wheezing and asthma after a day and a half of wine tasting! (NOW I see the connection, but even two days ago I didn’t!) I had an anaphylactic episode and used inhalers and antibiotics after being diagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia. I couldn’t figure out how the tail end of a cold had suddenly taken such a sharp turn for the worse, and I could hardly breathe for days. It was terrifying.

    Something happened inside of me after that episode. I became a 4 year old: “Why? Why? Why?” WHY do I have an autoimmune disease? Why do I get terrible “allergic” reactions to things I’m supposedly not allergic to? WHY does my body respond in such an inflammatory fashion, so often and easily? With that, I had the realization that I must become my own researcher, and devote myself to doing the work that I’d wished a trusted physician could have done. I decided to educate myself as much as possible on allergies and the immune system to solve my problems. Make it a full time job, if necessary.

    I decided to treat it as a summer project: Project Bettina. 🙂

    I have devoted literally months to reading, and have spent a vacations worth of $ on books. I am beyond thrilled to *finally* be figuring this out, even though I realize what a long road is still ahead. I’ve discovered I’m also sensitive to glutamates and many amines, and nightshades seem to be OUT forever. But that’s ok…it can all be figured out.

    In the first 8 weeks I was focusing on learning about my newly defined ‘histamine intolerance’- but then had a terrible sulfite reaction yesterday….and here I am after folks on another support board steered me in the sulfite direction!

    Anyway, hitting the bottom of the well with that frightening crashing and burning in April is proving to be a blessing in disguise. I am finally connecting the dots! It feels so good.

    It takes a Village, and thanks to all of you for being part of that. XO

    • Tracy says:

      Welcome! I am so sorry you are going through this! We are a community here, but I am always loathe to welcome new members, knowing their pain and wishing it was easier! I am so happy for you that you are taking charge of your own health, no matter how difficult. Every persons reactions are different, so if you want to discuss specifics, please PM me. I am always happy to talk. This issue takes a lot of processing, and I am here if you need me.

    • Faith says:

      Hi Bettina,

      I would highly recommend trying molybdenum supplements. They really helped me out! After 2 weeks, I was back to eating foods with sulfites in them again. You can’t take “too much” molybdenum for too long though so I wouldn’t recommend taking them longer than 2 weeks.

      I hope that helps you.

  140. c says:

    I am allergic to sulphites and salicylates
    and decided to dip in to this site again,
    Please take care when prescribed antibiotic
    I had my worst reaction with them ended
    Up in A&E.
    I eat fresh nothing frozen chicken,beef,white
    potatoes, golden delicious apple,butter milk
    sugar rice cereal.use sunflower oil,water and odd cup coffee
    You can email a lot of companies re further info,

  141. Juan says:

    Hello….my mother is allergic to sulfites, she also suffers from other allergies and one of the many side effects of her condition is constipation. Most laxatives present some form of sulfites. Could you tell us which ones don’t have it????

  142. c says:

    Just been dipping in to 2013 post re tomatoes
    The contain naturally salicylates, I grow them for family along with other veg which are no nos
    though unable to eat them myself. Many people who are have sulphite allergies do have salicylates allergy.
    I tried gluten free,still same probs so it was the wheat,
    If I eat even my home made bread I react.

    So like many others I eat repeatedly the same small types of food,even on holiday as I go self catering.
    We just have to learn by trial and error,maybe rebel
    from time to time,to eat what we know we can tolerate

  143. Maria says:

    Does anyone have sulfite reactions to salt? I use Morton’s Canning and Pickling Salt because the only ingredient is salt; there is no added iodine or anti-caking agents like in Table Salt.

    Could there still be unlisted sulfites in this salt? I have tried sea salt in the past but I get itchy from it. I may have an allergy to it so I can’t really eat it, so I am really hoping the regular salt I use does not have any hidden sulfites.

    • Maria says:

      I think I may be reacting to the salt but for health reasons I can’t just stop eating salt. I have to eat a lot of salt to keep my blood volume up.

  144. Maria says:

    Are organic nuts and organic nut butters safe?

  145. Joëlle says:

    My husband seemed to be fine with Trader Joe’s raw almonds. True, things could be different from one batch to the next depending on the supplier. Same with almond butter. I also used cashew butter, bought at Trader Joe’s also but can’t remember the brand.

  146. Bec says:

    Sulphites are present in Maltodextrin!!!! That explains why the cocoa mix – cocoa, sugar and maltodextrin – made me ill. So glad I came across this site.

    I was looking to find out it sulphites increased in older eggs, after I ate an egg this morning where the yolk seemed cloudy, smelt ok, but tasted AWFUL when was then followed by my throat swelling up.
    Not fun.

  147. Michelle says:

    Hi all, i am allergic to sulfites and sulfur dixoide. I live in South Africa can anybody help me with any pain killers I can take that does not contain the above. Does anybody know where in South Africa we can get sulfite free food.

    • Joëlle says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I don’t think anybody here will be able to point you to ready-made sulfite-free food. But you can cook a lot of things with fresh produce, preferably local and organic. Good luck!

  148. Byron says:

    Why are these idiots putting sulfates on all our food.There are other ways to prevent fungus other than toxic means. They want people to be sick. What a bunch of greedy evil monsters!

  149. Sarah DiGloria says:

    I have discovered within the past year or so, that eliminating sulfites from my diet has improved my skin health (rashes so bad I had been put on prednisone before), heart health (racing heart, feeling of sickness, and then needing to sleep off an allergic reaction after eating has been drastically reduced) and overall, eating clean has increased my general feeling of wellness.

    It’s been a challenge, though, and my family is sad that I can’t enjoy the same things they do when we eat out, etc. I’m just so happy to feel healthier that I frankly don’t care that I can’t have many of the same dishes I enjoyed before. But I keep finding that even things I thought were fine might not be (even natural peanut butter [why???], jelly with ingredients I thought were ok like fruit, sugar, pectin, citric acid) and I keep having reactions.

    The skin rash I get after ingesting sulfites lasts a week or more. Really frustrating.

    Is there a test that can help me pinpoint what is my tolerance level? Is there a way to test foods to see what the level of sulfites is in them?

    Thank you,

    • Joëlle says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I confirm: sugar (at least white sugar), pectin, and citric acid can all cause reactions. Same with tartaric acid (it took us a while to figure out that one). As a result, I don’t buy anything with “acid” listed on the label. Make your own jam, with agar-agar; it’s easy and you can control how much sugar you put in it. Our current jar has marmalade made from –believe it or not– cooked beet and orange, both organic. And use some baking soda instead of baking powder or cream of tartar. Just remember to activate it with a little lemon juice (freshly squeezed), it takes away the funny taste and works wonders.

  150. c says:

    For the person who mentioned eating even home grown tomatoes they contain salicylates naturally maybe you are allergic to that many of people the sulphites allergy are. Tomatoes are one of my worst now though I still grow them for family

  151. Carter says:

    Hi there! You have coconut listed as a source of naturally occurring sulfites. However, my understanding was that coconut is low sulfite naturally, but manufacturers of coconut products tend to sulfite it: http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/chelationnetwork/food/high-sulfur-sulphur-food-list/

    Which is correct?! Thanks for your help and extremely enlightening website!

    • Tracy says:

      Good catch – I put coconut on there a few years back when I was still sorting out all the misinformation and I was conservatively going with the better safe than sorry strategy. In the meantime, however, I have discovered that coconut itself does not have sulfites, but that it is just very commonly added. So, thanks for the vigilance, I have updated the list to remove coconut.

      • Carter says:

        Thank you, Tracy! I’m so relieved since I love coconut and have found some good unsulfited sources of it. Also I wrote Whole Foods the other day, and they confirmed that none of the products they carry have added sulfites. They have agreements with all of their providers that they will not buy products that are sulfited. So, thankfully, when I shop there, I now just have to worry about naturally occurring sulfur / sulfites which is less of a headache.

  152. Sarah DiGloria says:

    Thank you for the response!

  153. Carter says:

    Also, do you now feel like charcoal filters are safe from sulfites given the fact that naturally occurring coconut is safe? Or is there still potential for charcoal from coconut to be sulfited? Thank you for your time!

  154. Geoffrey says:

    I have tracked this thread for years and probably never commented, BUT be careful at Whole foods. I have a sulite and sulfur intolerance, knocking me out of the organic food selections. Their conventional foods are often organic (sulfur dioxide treated) foods that have a disqualifying event disqualifying them from being “organic” . So, they are still a threat to me and you if you suffer from the same plight.

  155. Joëlle says:

    This is great news, thank you for letting us know!

  156. Maria Daugherty says:

    Hi Tracy, I just discovered this site and have questions !! Since moving to houston texas from California, I have a chronic problem with Hives and headaches. Doctors ( including basic food and environmental allergy testing) have not been helpful in finding a cause I also have had Psoriasis for 35 years which has gotten worse as well. I have always drank alot of wine over the years, as well as alot of food items on your “do not eat” list. I am going to reduce the sulfites in my diet and try the wine you have recommended. Do you have any opinions on taking probiotics? I had a breakout of hives after starting them, but it could of been any number of things as well. I’m sure hoping that changing my diet will help subside my symptoms!! Thanks for all the info you post 🙂

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Maria –

      I am a big fan of probiotics. I wish I could take them, but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. I seem to react to all that I have tried. It is tricky to know what to take, though. If you have not found one that you don’t react to, I think your best bet is to get a genetic test and see what your gene personality says about what you are likely to tolerate and what you are not. And definitely try the wine – I am having some tonight – Saturday night woo hoo!


  157. Wendy says:

    Any advice on how to begin an elimination diet?

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Wendy,

      An elimination diet can be hard, but it is a good first step to recovering yoour health. You really need to cut out all the potential triggers you can think of. When I started mine, I cut back to organic chicken, lettuce, lemon juice, cucumbers, bone broth, beef, salt and water. It made for some interesting breakfasts. The really hard and frustrating part for me was that I went into a detox when I cut out all the sulfites, so I could barely eat anything, and yet I was still reacting. I found that putting baking soda in my water would help with the heart racing issues. It took me about a month to feel better (but boy, when I did, it was AWESOME). Once you get through that first push, you just start adding foods back in and see what you react to. I am rooting for you!

  158. Stephany says:

    Hi I have two questions.

    Does anyone have a good doctor in the US? I’m from Virginia, but willing to travel. I just need to find someone that will help me sort out if this is sulfites and really just a doctor that will listen. I had one try to give me an anethesia with sulfite and even called me ridiculous for requesting to know what the ingredients were.

    Also, I am traveling soon and their is a hot spring bath, but it has sulphur….is this safe?



    • C says:

      Sorry they did not furnish you with details,my dentist knew straight away I would not be able to have tooth extraction in his office.
      I had to have this carried out in hospital as the numbing injection contained sulphites,so injection had to made up day before by manufacturer without,had to be used with 24 hrs. I live in UK where something like this is taken seriously, full back of hospital just in case I reacted to anything else. I wish u well keep asking questions

    • Carter says:

      Dr. Ted Butchart (naturopath) of Staunton, VA
      Dr. Deidre Donovan (integrative MD) of Charlottesville, VA
      They are both excellent.

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  160. Donna J Crabb says:

    Very difficult in Canada to find an MD that knows much if anything about sulfites

  161. Faith says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve had a sulfite allergy for a while and recently REALLY IMPROVED my sulfite allergy by taking molybdenum supplements. I started with 500 MCGs and then moved down to 150 MCGs. The results were amazing! I’m now able to have bbq sauce again, sodas with sodium benzoate, items like pickles with yellow #5, latkes (with sulfites), etc. I just wanted to share this with everyone so that I can hopefully help one or more of you out there “cure” your sulfite allergy. If you google sulfite allergy and molybdenum, you’ll see that there is a lot of research out there that show that molybdenum deficiencies often contribute to sulfite allergies. I hope this helps someone!


  162. Jasmine says:

    This is a great site. Thank you ALL for posting and sharing your experiences!
    I have had problems with hives for a few years now. Went to 2 different allergy docs but only detected the common allergies we humans have: mites, dust, etc. Initially, I took zyrtec to ease the itch and that would stop the hives for a few days, but as time went by, I had to take zytec more often. Then, about 1 year ago, after I recovered from a bad flu, I noticed the hives did not occur during that time cos I did not drink my usual 1/2 glass of red wine. That’s when I started to suspect I’m allergic to sulfites in red wine! So I stopped red wine and was fine for a while. Recently, about 1 month ago, my hives reappeared, even without red wine! So I’ve been reading up on sulfite allergy and discovered (to my dismay) the MANY food items that either have added sulfite or natural occurring sulfite!
    Has anyone been to a good doc to perform a sulfite allergy test?

    • Sarah DiGloria says:

      I found a wine distributor who specializes in no sulfite, low sulfite, and organic wines. The level of information is wonderful. I have tried several of the Stellar (South American) wines and I’m very pleased to be able to enjoy a glass of wine again!
      tritonwines dot com

    • Kirk says:

      No test available for sulfites. We have been to the Mayo Clinic a couple times and many other name places. In eight years have figured out more on our own than any of the white coats have.

      • Jeff says:

        What about testing for sulfites in your urine? Did the Mayo at least do that??
        I know you can do it with test strips on your own.

  163. George says:

    My problem is sulfite sensitivity rather than sulfite allergy. One BIG problem is a reaction to High Fructose Corn Syrup. With that I get severe nasal swelling, crusting and bleeding and what seems to be palpitations, but not heart related. I fins I generally cannot eat ice cream, candy, cookies, etc. Thankfully, Corn Syrup is usually labeled. I have read where Super B Complex Vitamin has helped some folks with Sulfite allergy, maybe because it that pill has molybdenum in it. I’d like to hear from other folks who have sulfite sensitivity vs sulfite allergy. While similar in some aspects, sensitivity needs its own dialog on insights, counter-agents, etc. for specific help. Anybody out there frustrated by Sulfite Sensitivity vs Sulfite Alleergy?

  164. Stacie says:

    I’m so happy to have found this website! It’s going to take me a while to read all your helpful comments. I have one question that I don’t think has been asked…I get burning sensations in my mouth, mostly my tongue and soft pallette. My nuturitionist thinks it might be a sulfite allergy because I’m allergic to sulfa. Does anyone else get this?

  165. Debbie says:

    Does anyone have any idea why I would be reacting to lemon juice and honey? I fresh squeeze the juice myself from organic lemons that I scrub the heck out of. The honey is raw from Tropical Traditions. I cannot figure this out. I have already given up coffee and hot cocoa in the mornings. Thanks.

  166. Donna J Crabb says:

    Perhaps the bees are eating the wrong thing? (different food, different seasons….)

  167. Debbie says:

    I have a whole house filter system purchased from Aquasana. They have told me that their system does not use sulfites and my water should not contain any.

  168. Clare says:

    It Amy be a reaction to salicylates- sulphite sensitivity and salicylate sensitivity often go hand in hand- coffee and lemons and honey are high in them. There is a really helpful salicylate website called salicylatesensitivty.com which may be of help

  169. Stacie says:

    So, all starches contain sulfites? What other hidden places do you find sulfites?

  170. Joëlle says:

    Are you really sure about all starches containing sulfites? Has anyone contacted any of the food companies?
    Here in Europe, one company has assured me that their organic potato and corn starches contain no sulfites. It seems to be true: I have used their products for three years now and my husband has never had any problems, which is a blessing as we have to be careful with so many other things, such as dextrose, corn syrup and other additives which are a definite no-no.

    • Tracy says:

      I don’t think all starches have sulfites. Potato starch is one that has it added more often than others to keep it from turning brown, but it is certainly possible to get it without. Corn is also one that can be a big culprit. I use arrowroot regularly without a problem. Typically I buy Bob’s Red Mill products and do well with them.

  171. Faith says:

    I just ordered it online via Amazon. You can also find Molybdenum supplements at Vitamin stores. I would recommend 150 mcgs every 3 days since we only need 45-50 mcgs in our body daily. I hope that helps!

  172. C says:

    Re potato starch could it be if they use white skinned spuds itmay be ok? I use Arrowroot instead of corn flour for sauces etc,

  173. Clare says:

    Could you let me know who the company is that has non sulphited corn starches etc- I live in the uk
    Can anyone recommend/ does anyone use a dietitian/ doctor who specialises in helping people with sulphite& salicylate intolerances? I have both
    Many thanks

  174. C says:

    I too live in UK. I was referred to a large teaching hospital
    By gp. Somewhat helpful though I think I learnt more by doing my own research, and sites like this excellent one.

  175. Joëlle says:

    I don’t know if you can find it where you live or if you can get it online, it’s Bioculinair. It’s made by a Dutch company called Joannusmolen, address Hulsbos 3, 5431 NZ Cuijk, the Netherlands. Their products are organic. Good luck.
    I also use arrow root but have never tried it when making bread. There’s something to look forward to: yet another culinary experience ! ^^

  176. Jeff says:

    What about testing for sulfites in your urine? Did the Mayo at least do that??
    I know you can using test strips on your own.

  177. Joëlle says:

    Thank you for this priceless piece of information.

  178. Cornel says:


    Can you please tell me if all of the egg has sulfites, or just the yolk?

    This is a very important question for those who practice bodybuilding and need large amounts of protein.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Tracy says:

      Hi Cornel – I am sorry to say that not only does the whole egg have sulfites, this whites are much higher in sulfites than the yolks.


      • Jeff says:

        As far as I understand it and as it is normally stated, its sulfur eggs are high in, and not sulfites as a normal content. Unless of course the eggs are from chickens fed a feed full of sulfites.

  179. C says:

    I can no longer eat eggs and we keep our own hens
    So no longer enjoy something I know is fresh and what they eat.

  180. Joëlle says:

    Hi everyone,
    It seems a lot of people on this forum are concerned about eggs. I tend to agree with Jeff on this one as my husband is able to eat them (I buy organic) without any reaction. My feeling is that some of you may just have a separate egg allergy, in addition to sulfite sensitivity. The other thing is, as sulfites are added to food in order to kill bacteria, they may well also destroy some of the good gut bacteria we all host, which in turn may throw our immune system off. But I am not a scientist, and once again I wish someone out there would do some sound research on all this.

    • C says:

      My hens are reared organically,I React!
      Though I can eat chicken, beef. White potatoes peeled golden delicious apple peeled,milk cream butter and rice cereal.
      Believe me I have free eggs to hand. Which I used to love.if i could I would eat them.
      People on this site have spent hours researching also
      talking with manufacturers.
      I think I have read that our bodies change sulphur into
      Sulphites perhaps someone can confirm or deny.
      I have read so much

      • Tracy says:

        Yes, the path goes sulfur to sulfites to sulfates, and you can react at any or all of those stages. It just depends on your body. I find that more people can’t eat eggs than can, so I don’t think it is a separate allergy, just a matter of how different individuals react.

        • Joëlle says:

          Ok, so I guess my husband is one of the lucky ones. Very difficult to cook certain things without eggs… In his case basically he reacts to any chemical preservative or additive, as well as wine/vinegar/onions. That makes life easier for us.

      • Joëlle says:

        Have you been tested for egg allergy, C ?

        • C says:

          No,I was tested for shell fish
          Came back negative so I delved further some are sprayed whilst still on board fishing vessels also some ice contains sulphites.
          We just have to keep trying to add things back into diet which I do, as at 7st 8 l do not wish to lose more weight. This is 3 yrs down the line of working out my problem.it gets very boring at meal times.

      • Jeff says:

        Exactly right Tracy

  181. I was told by allergy clinic I had a sulphite intolerance after I questioned my reaction to alcohol particularly wine .Had reaction to flu jab and anisthetic .and after a resent bout of flu #antibiotics and steroids same as I had in 2009 wen my allergy to almost everything started .After a reaction to antibiotics diagnosed epstein barr rash all over after first tablet , sick collapse gastric issues #antibiotic induced cholitis ?? Possibly hospital on fluids unable to eat .Even tooth paste made me wheeze and mouth wash ..Months of agony and uncontrolled asthma went private told leaky gut syndrome .so followed heal a leaky gut diet .usual llergens in food sensitivity test egg white not yolk oddly ? Wheat dairy seafood even peas massive list .almost cut out everthing so back to basic clean eating ..stuck to it for 3 yrs no booze too now since another reaction to antibiotic and a lapse in clean eating for a year my lungs are sensitive to any perfume in the air deodorants constantly breathless .Now my heart is affected ./ abnormal heart rythme .Feeling like im dieing come across your site as I started with throat swelling sensation almost all my body was hot and inflammation in all joints hip knee kneck pain in shoulder blade ..feeling like my memory was that of a 90 yr old geriatric. THE liquid viamin drink clearly stated sulphites as in content .after I took 3 spoons of antihistamines and lots of hinhalersheart racing feeling drained started googling sulphite aallergy .luckily I came across this site and a few other hold the sulphites ..I have followed Traceys rule and it appears my allergy is similar I kept telling my gp I seem to be allergic to everthing .So frustrating as gp appears to lack understanding tho an asthmatic himself ..I thought today I will try eggs as after I removed it before after a yr I was able to tollerate it ..Now aftwr taking my inhalers snd antihistamines struggle to swollow throat swollen n sore darent take any more inhalers as heart racing feel terrible that was a mistake .After such a good week although other than stick to basics like chicken carrots cucumbers organic rice crackers and coconut water .after yrs of drinking bottled water I now cant as makes me wheeze 10 min or so after too . .This site has probably saved my life as tomatoes garlic broccoli I now realise irritate not only my breathing .but gastro issues .im waiting for a scan as gp thinks gall bladder I think now its the sulfites causing this pain as its reduced no end .I was told soy was one of my allergens too I have found organuc things I can tolleraye but still early days .Starting home made chicken broth as I hear it helps heal a leaky gut the reason I think we have the sensitivity .# done nothing but read for weeks lol x Im hoping my heart is able to heal now x

    • Clare says:

      Poor you! I am salicylate and sulphite intolerant and have very severe asthma which is worsened by them. I have found that when things are bad if I stick to the following foods my body starts to feel better quite quickly- it is quite tough but worth it to feel well. I eat oats cooked in water with peeled pears for breakfast and decaf coffee from Nescafé- no sals or sulphs. Oats are high in molybdenum which helps you process sulphites. For lunch I have a peeled fresh carrot half a tomato a chicken breat baked in. A little sunflower oil and two sticks of celery and a cup of camomile tea. For dinner I have more chicken white boiled rice peas- from frozen and for pudding organic fat free yoghurt with half a peeled golden delicious apple and if I’m hungry some uncooked oats mixed in . I also drink lots of tap or boiled water. Ice cubes and coolers sulphite the ice so that will make you cough/ react. If your mouth is sore dip toothbrush in a little sea salt and brush your teeth with that and use no soap or shampoo other than unsulphited ones. I can’t use moisturisers etc so I but organic first press sunflower oil and use that instead – the smell is nice and if you warm a few drops on your hands and then use it it’s fine in your face.
      If you stick to this kind of diet for a few days you should start to feel some improvement. I then find I can eat some papaya and sometimes mango – only a little and also sweet potatoes and old white potatoes sometimes and very occasionally dark 70% chocolate very occasionally. Neat Gina do neat vodka are OK for a treat but can play havoc with asthma and I use fresh lime juice to flavour water- don’t use lemon it’s high in sals.
      It’s all a bit overwhelming at first but stick with it and when you start to feel better let us know and if you have a bad day post on here – someone will always sympathise and understand how tough it is!
      Hope you are feeling bit more well
      Best wishes

      • Jill betteridge says:

        Hi Clare, like you have recently discovered sals and sulfite problems after keeping food diaries for 40 yrs. I also live in uk. I am glad to have found this wonderful site. I am seeing a nutritionist who believes i have had a leaky gut for years and has put me on a no sugar diet. She believes that this could allow my gut to heal and relieve my sensitivities. I am willing to try anything. 3 months into the no sugar and cutting out salicylates , but only this week cutting out sulfites because didn’t see the connection until now, i have less skin crawling, less chapped lips, much less body pain including migraines, lower right pain in stomach mostly gone although react with bloating, wind and pain if I eat wrong. Eggs put me in the loo until they’re gone from my system. My general itching and are more controlled. I haven’t been able to tolerate dairy for years and have organic rice milk from waitrose with oats as a fill up twice a day as I am now thinner than I already was! I found canola oil knocked me for six. I was so fatigued as is the case when I eat something wrong. Sweet potato, also a no no for me. I have just tried some frozen salmon with peeled white pot, celery, carrots, piece of marrow small, green beans with arrowroot sauce made from juice of rice bran oil used to cook the fish in. This is my first try at the salmon bought from a frozen fish only supplier. So far so good as I usually react with skin crawling within the hour if it’s no good for me. Having been to the doctors with itch and hive probs over the years without help it seems we are on our own and I feel I could teach them more than they know about all this. Sorry to go on but it’s good to share sometimes with people who don’t think you are a batty old woman! Jill

  182. Jeff says:

    Eggs can be a no no, high in sulfur, whites more than the yellow (last I heaard), sulfur converts to sulfites in the body, so keeping to low sulfur foods is good idea.

  183. C says:

    Have u wondered if u are also reacting to salicylates, found in a lot of veg naturally
    As are sulphites,carrots r a no no for me as r cucumbers and coconut
    Not sure how u make chicken broth with so many items needed that contain sulphites. Please don’t stress yr body out too much.

    • Tracy says:

      I know many, many people that react to salicylates as well. It is a very common cross reaction with people who have a sulfite sensitivity. I make bone broth only and do not add any other ingredients besides water and salt.

    • Nicky Clark says:

      Thankyou im still working it all out .Not sure what the stal thing u said us ??

  184. Patricia says:

    Dear Nicky,

    I hope you will feel better soon, it sounds like you are struggling. Please be careful with your asthma inhalers, since a lot also include sulphates (SO4). Ventolin and Atrovent for instance have salbutamol-sulphate as active ingredient. Since you react to toothpaste (usually contains sodium-laureth-sulphate) and bottled water, it sounds like you react to sulphates as well as sulphites. This means nearly all shampoo, liquid soap and body lotion is probably also a problem for you.

    Take care,

    • Nicky Clark says:

      Thankyou for all your replys .Yes i dont add anything but pink salt to bone broths .After following your advice and diet tips of things to avoid i am a lot better .Gallbladder scan showed 2 small polyps .Im still working whats ok or not .x some foods i did eat i have stopped aftwr reading about SIBO diet too .I think i will adk genetics to test enzyme thing x

      • Nicky Clark says:

        My inhalers make my throat swell/sore and feel like i cant swollow but still stop asthma attacks along with antihistamines .x x if i am strict with this diet my asthma is more controlled x

  185. Sarah DiGloria says:

    I have found that African Black Soap (it’s a bar of soap) is awesome. No sodium laurel/laureth sulfate. You can get it at Walmart, about $5 a bar, lasts forever. Very soothing.

    Loreal makes a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that I tolerate OK, I just minimized time on my scalp and skin and rinse really well. The African Black Soap (by Shea Moisture) is the best for everything else, showering, hand washing, face washing, etc.

  186. Karen says:

    Hi – My doctor recently suspected that I have a high sulfite intolerance. I suspected it myself for a while when even one glass of my favorite red wine would set off a headache but I didn’t realize until recently ALL the different foods/sauces/spices/supplements/prescriptions that contain the compound. I have been taking a DIM Plus supplement for estrogen support which is Diindolymethane and 100 mg powder blend of cabbage, spinach, and broccoli. I’m assuming this is pretty high in sulfites? I can’t find anything on this supplement to be sure though. I am just curious about your thoughts. Thank you!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Karen,

      Both cabbage and broccoli are high in sulfites, so I would imagine it would be a pretty high sulfite supplement. You might want to try the Orleans Hill red wine to see if you have the same reaction. It has no sulfites detectable. If you don’t react to it, that would be a pretty good indication that it is the sulfites in the wine. Incidentally, white wine is typically higher in sulfites than red, and the pigmentation of the red wine provides it some protection against turning, and so it needs less preservatives than white.

  187. linda says:

    Thank you Tracy so much for this site. After trying every diet possible and so many doctors, I stumbled on this and all the things I am sensitive to or were suspicious of, have sulfites in common. Been on diet for 10 days and have some relief.
    2 things, I also unfortunately also have bad multichemical sensitivities.
    To help this I had ordered all organic bedding etc and was shocked when I reacted just as badly to all of them: organic hemp, wool, cotton. Until now I couldnt imagine what they had in common to everything else. But now Im thinking sulfites for all the bleaching processes?
    Second, I feel more sensitive than ever as I keep finding more places to get rid of things. Is this common, to react even stronger at first?

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Linda,

      The time my symptoms were the worst were in the first 30 days after I stopped eating sulfites. I assume it was the detox, but it was just awful! It could definitely be the bleaching process – they don’t have to tell you what they do to treat the fibers after harvest and since sulfites can be naturally occurring, they could easily be doing that. Sigh

  188. C says:

    This is s question really I read not on here,about a charcoal internal detox.
    Can this really possible they mentioned wood also coconut charcoal.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi there,

      I know many people who successfully use charcoal to reduce severity of reactions. The theory here is that the charcoal absorbs the toxin and then it can be eliminated quickly, thus reducing the reaction. This does seem to be very effective for many people. I have heard debate on what might be better, wood or charcoal, but honestly I don’t think it matters once it is down to the charcoal form. I think most people feel more comfortable using the coconut shell as they consider it more of a food item than wood and so it is more popular. However, I find that the wood is cheaper as the demand is lower – and I wouldn’t eat coconut shells either! Do be sure you buy the food grade, whether you go with wood or coconut shell.


  189. Lindsey says:

    This has been such a relief to find, thank you SO much for sharing!!!!

    I had a question about olive oil. Do you have recommendations? I cooked some organic/farm chicken with “bio” oil and had a reaction. It could very well be the chicken, but I may try out a different olive oil and see if that helps.

    Thank you so much, can’t wait to keep reading!

    • Tracy says:

      There have been a lot of issues in the past few years with olive oil that has been blended with other oils and sold as pure olive oil. so be careful. I am wary of anything from Italy now because apparently the Italian mob is heavily invested in this scam and so it is not certain of the quality of oil from there. I personally use Spectrum and sometimes 365 brand, both of which tested very pure.

  190. Clare says:

    Waitrose and sainsburys pure virgin olive oil is fine for me in tiny amounts-

  191. Joëlle says:

    Hi Lindsey, I am so sorry that you had such a bad reaction. It’s always a throw of the dice when it comes to seafood, which my husband loves. When we spend time by the sea, (in Brittany) I try to buy fish caught locally, but even then there is always a chance that it may have been in contact with sulfites.
    As to regards to olive oil, we have been using Leclerc brand (“Biovillage”) from Tunisia, and also Cauvin organic olive oil. I just read Tracy’s comment about Italy and that might explain why my husband recently reacted to Italian frozen organic green beans when he never had problems with freshly frozen organic beans in the past, whether ours or locally grown. Looking back on it, he said they were, I quote, “too bright green to be sulfite-free”.
    I hope my recipe ideas help somewhat. Hang in there.

  192. Clare says:

    Suncream / sunblock
    Hi I am salicylate and sulphite intolerant- either give me an asthma attack in large amounts and in small quantities make me wheezy.
    Can anyone out there recommend a sun cream make that is OK?
    Am off to California in July – very excited- but think I won’t be able to wing it like I can in UK where I live!!
    Very appreciative of your help, as always

    • Jill betteridge says:

      Hi Clare, bit late but only just discovered this site. I have found a sun cream in waitrose called ultrasun once a day for very sensitive skin . It says no preservatives . It is for the face 30 spf £20 but it’s the only one I have found. It is in the white box with pink edging. Be careful as there is another similar which contains salicylate products. I am also researching other cosmetics and awaiting a reply from a company which produces a good barrier cream to use on the face before applying makeup. Jill

  193. Mona says:

    Dear Tracy,

    What about natural organic pop corn i pop myself at home? Its ok isnt it?

    • Tracy says:

      Just be careful what you pop it in. I sue organic ghee and it works great!

      • Mona says:

        Thanks 🙂
        I used old fashioned butter without vitamins. I use to buy milk (almond and cow) with vitamins sometimes but it doesnt cause me any troubles.

  194. Mona says:

    I have a question, dear ones 🙂

    I dont eat bread since i know im very very sensitive to sulfites and maybe even allergic. (high heartbeat and breathing symptomes)SOOO

    here’s the big question because im tired of eating always the same things.

    I’ve found a bread that contains only VERY natural ingredients, even not whitened flour, sea salt and no yeast but leaven made of wheat flour.

    Do you think leaven instead of yeast is ok for me?
    thanks so much 🙂


    • Sarah says:

      So I love bread.
      So we found a local health food store. They sell wheat. They have a grinder and they grind the wheat (soft white wheat, hard red wheat, etc). We store it in the freezer, to preserve as many natural vitamins and such as possible.
      I have found that the homemade bread we make with this flour is totally 100% fine for me. Wheat flour, vegetable oil, water, yeast, cane sugar; I’ve never had a reaction from homemade bread made with these ingredients.
      Good luck! I’m lucky my husband loves to make bread!

  195. Joëlle says:

    Hi everyone,
    In case some of you are, like us, also gluten-free, I have finally come up with a recipe for bread without any starch. It has teff flour, rice flour, oats, chia, flaxseed, yeast, and applesauce. Here it is:

    Also, I don’t know if I have mentioned it here, but I contacted Stop and Shop regarding their Nature’s Promise frozen shrimp, and they assured me that they didn’t contain any sulfites.

  196. Kathy Simon says:

    I’m 65 and I’ve reacted to “fresh” pork (cooked) since a toddler. My grandfather would bring a fresh pork roast from the meat market and my grandma would cook it the next day for a family dinner. At some point I realized that everytime I ate pork roast at grandma and grandpa’s house I got terrible headaches. My mom noticed that I’d stopped eating the meat put on my plate and wanted to know why.

    When I told her why, of course she told me that wasn’t possible. Of course it was possible! Many decades later a migraine specialist told me that if the pork was aged several days the chemical that was in really fresh pork would breakdown and would probably not cause migraines. Don’t know if that is really true, but I limit my pork consumption to frozen brats from our local farmer and can handle one now and then.

    Here comers some more proof. My youngest is adopted from China. He too gets migraines and his BIGGEST food trigger after soy sauce, is fresh pork. He’s 18 now and does not dispute his need to steer clear of our fresh, farm raised pork, or limit it to a single, modest serving.

    I think pork needs to be on your list and to stay there 🙂

  197. Karen says:

    I LOVE Braggs Apple Cider vinegar. It’s the way vinegar should be/ with the “Mother” meaning the part that ferments the apples, unfiltered. I myself, as well as other customers who come in to the health food store in which I work cannot handle the filtered or distilled kind in grocery stores. I have a sulfite AND gluten sensitivity. Are they allowed to add sulfites in the distillation process? Or could it be that they just don’t use organic apples?

  198. Zarina says:

    Omg!!!! Thanks a lot for your page site!!!!! It’s great!!!!

  199. Collette Friessen says:

    I feel so blessed to have stumbled upon this site! Had my first ever anaphylaxis reaction yesterday at 0300 and was rushed to the ER. Couldn’t swallow, hardly talk, but no breathing issues – thankfully! Dr didn’t know what was wrong, but got situation under control. Spent rest of day trolling the internet and landed here. Read all the comments and was shocked! I had never heard of this before, but it explains so much! My plan is to spend the next few weeks staying away from sulfites and sulphur as much as possible. I’ll keep all posted as for me this came out of know where. However, I will state that it was a French Onion soup 2 days prior followed by a couple glasses of white one day following that was probably my trigger. Love that you all have shared your experiences here, what you’ve tried, what works, and what doesn’t. I’m just starting this adventure and this blog makes it easier to start. The shampoo thing amazed me! Explains why my daughter has severe dry scalp which she scratches until it bleeds. Definitely putting her and I on sulphur free stuff!
    Tracy, you’re a blessing to have initiated this and I am truly grateful! Thank you all and more to come!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Collette – Welcome.I am happy to help you find your path to health! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

  200. Lexia says:

    After many years of frustrating and unproductive doctor visits I have finally figured out through my own relentless research, food diary, and elimination diet, that I can’t eat salicylates and sulfites. Since I’ve stopped eating them my migraines have gone away and my breathing has improved. What I really need now is some hope that things will get a little better. I know I’ll never be able to eat mass quantities of salicylates and sulfites but if I just knew there could be some improvement that would be so helpful. This website is a godsend and helps me feel that I’m not so alone. I’ve started taking Molybednum, B12, magnesium, and chlorella. Any encouragement would be appreciated.

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