Sulfite-Free Diet { Ask the Readers}

Along with the other features I have planned for 2013, I also hope to bring back my Ask the Readers feature. It never really went totally away, I just stopped posting it as often. For this year though I hope to share a couple of Ask the Readers questions a month.

I love learning from all of you and Ask the Readers is a great way to share our knowledge with each other and brings a sense of community to this site that I love.

If you have a question you would like to submit for my Ask the Readers feature, you can find out more information and submit it here.

Now for today’s Ask the Readers question. This question come from one of you. This is a subject I am clueless on, so I am hoping some of you might be able to help.

Does anyone eat sulfite-free? If you do, do you have a good resource for finding a safe food list. It seems extremely complicated, however my husband is supposed to try a sulfite-free diet to see if his severe asthma and allergy symptoms improve.

Do you have any thoughts, tips, or resources for eating a sulfite-free diet that you can share? 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I would be interested in this. A friend of mine told me he has a friend that gets migraines if he eats anything with sulfite in it. Since I have suffered for over forty years with migraines maybe it might help me. I do look at some labels but I’m not very good at it.

  2. It can get quite complicated, but the simplest guide I’ve come across is the following:

    ALWAYS TELL A RESTAURANT YOU HAVE A SULFITE ALLERGY. The chef can most usually adapt the ingredients to make it safe for you. This means not eating in places where they pre-prepare the food (e.g. McDonald’s, Chinese Buffet, other fast food)

    WITH Sulphite:
    Dried fruit (except for dark raisins and prunes)
    Fruit Products like concentrates, syrups, purees and non-organic jams.
    Dehydrated vegetables and dehydrated meals for campers
    Non-organic soup mixes and sauce mixes.
    Shrimp is often sullfited if bought packaged (if it’s fresh, always ask)
    Cheap bread and rolls made in big batches (use a sulfite-laden batter softener)
    MSG (most often in Asian foods) ALWAYS ASK- every restaurant doesn’t use this
    Grapes (non-organic)
    Vinegar and things with vinegar in it (mayonaise, ketchup, mustard)
    Commercial pre-prepared potatoes (like fast food french fries)

    Wine and alcohol
    Commercial fruit drinks
    Commercial orange drinks

    IN PACKAGED FOODS, ALWAYS READ THE LABELS. Sulfites are often hidden by manufacturers using different names. These include:
    potassium bisulfite
    potassium metabisulphite
    sodium bisulphite
    sodium metabisulphite
    sodium sulphite
    sodium dithionite
    surfurous acid

    Hope that helps. You can see how complicated it can be. It’s a problem for me when I eat at someone else’s home but isn’t usually a problem if we go to a good restaurant. At home, I use ‘whole, unadulterated foods’. Real food doesn’t have to be organic (I just like it better).

    • Thanks for taking the time to share that.

    • Sulfites are in everywhere snd hard to avoid label resding is a must. And even tjough fresh fruits and vegtables are not supposed to be sprayed… just err on the side of caution. In reference to your food list I have been advised by my allergist that all shrimp is sulfited on the dock so it is never a safe choice for silfite sufferers. I am very allergic to sulfites, I will not eat any grapes even if organic. Be careful with the raisins because grapes have natural occurring sulfites and they do not have to label them for silfites if they are sprayed in the process of growing them. Wines are almost always dangerous. Please be very careful. Sulfite sensitivity is a very slippery slope. One thing you can do is keep a good journal of everything you eat and any reactions you have later. It may help you pinpoint specific triggers to avoid. My personal list is way too long but my reactions are severe enough that I have little choice. I know this post is a little old but I hope it helps. If you want to get a deeper understanding of the sulfite problem go to Or google the words headache asthma fries and a cola.

    • don’t forget Sulfur dioxide

  3. Michele ºÜº says:

    My response isn’t so much about the sulfites as it is about a diet example. One year I tried the Blood-type Diet by D’Adamo, to lose weight. As with all diets, I lost 20 pounds and then tried to find a way to make it liveable for me and my family because it is about lifestyle changes and me not eating pizza again is not a realistic lifestyle change, but I digress. I followed the diet for a year and then decided to try something else because I missed pizza and other foods and needed to lose more weight BUT what I found in looking back over that time period was that I did NOT take a single sudafed/anti-histamine the entire year! It wasn’t until I had some stuffiness and a headache brewing after changing up our diet that I realized I hadn’t had a single issue with stuffiness the whole time I was eating for my blood type (which is A-, btw). I was simply astounded!!! Problem is that many foods I love are foods that I should avoid for my blood type. Ugh! That was several years ago and this year, I intend to see if can figure out which foods are causing these symptoms.

    I hope this real life example can be some help. D’Adamo’s book is “Eat Right for your Type”,

  4. I’m not yet good at it, but I have been trying to avoid sulfites, as I really think they give me headaches. I have found a few other dried fruits at Whole Foods that do not use sulfites. I have to read every label! And there is also an organic wine that has no sulfites. I was going to start having a glass of red wine at night but still haven’t tried it so I can’t say if it’s good or not. I keep trying to make as much homemade items as I can so thank you, Lynn, for the Cheeseburger Helper!!


  5. Thanks Elizabeth for the list of things, really appreciate it. And thank you for the input from the other girls.

  6. Be aware of sulfites in condiments. Eating in a Japanese restaurant has landed me in the hospital twice. It’s not the food that made me sick, but the stuff that comes with the meal – soya sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, vinegar or lemon-based flavourings. It seems sulfite consumption over time has a cumulative effect. For example, one day I had breakfast at a fast-food place. I had hashbrowns made from frozen pototoes, sandwich bun made with dough conditioners (sulfites), processed cheese, then followed that up with dinner at the Japanese restaurant. That combination lands me in the hospital every time. But if I’ve been eating sulfite-free most of the day, I may just get a belly ache from my Japanese meal.
    Cooking sulfite-free is more work but the food tastes much better. You must chop your own garlic and ginger, squeeze your own lemons & limes and make tomato sauce from scratch unless you can find preservative-free tomato sauces (Cortina canned tomatoes imported from Italy are good).

  7. Hello I do eat sulfite, milk Free because I have allergies and asthma, yes it does help your asthma its been two and half years now and I feel so much better, rough going with the food but gotten a lot better.

  8. I have sulfite and dairy allergies I been eating sulfite free for two years it gets better and better for me, we do have to cook from scratch but I like cooking just need new recipes to learn, my asthmas has gotten better and I feel better, if there is anyone out there who wants to share recipes would like share.

    • Hello Anna,

      I am new to this whole no sulfites thing and I am trying my best to be good but I’m tired of having salad with just olive oil and chicken and burgers with no seasoning. I’m of hispanic descent so onions and garlic are a staple in just about every dish and I love it so…I’m sure you can imagine I’m sufferring without being able to eat them. I am so glad to have found you cause I’ve been on the hunt for sulfite freerecipes for weeks. I greatly appreciate your help with some recipes. Many thanks and blessings in advance.



  9. I also live with sulphite and lactose intolerance I am lucky because I don’t have asthma so a sulphite reaction will probably not kill me. I carry an epi-pen and an antihistamine I like Benadryll I’ve never had to use my PEN.. I have also had laminated cards ( business size) printed up with the different sulphite names so when I go into a restaurant I simply hand the server a card and it makes the whole issue easier .
    I have learned to order foods without a lot of sauces and creams because they are usually preserved therefore have sulphites ,it’s a common preservative it’s also scary to find that a lot of servers and some restaurants don’t even know what sulphites are. I have learned to read labels and simply avoid all wines and food cooked with wine I do however enjoy a drink with vodka and mineral water. Fresh fruit and vegetables are by law sulphite free in USA and Canada
    I’m not sure about elsewhere. Any food prepackaged is suspect when I’m just not sure I try a tiny taste on my tongue
    I can usually tell in no time if I can eat it or not. There are also salade dressings that are preservative free and they are quite good. It’s a learning process and frustrating at times . but so far o.k Marnie

    • what salad dressings do did you find without sulfites.

    • Hello Marnie
      I know I’m posting this late but I too suffer from sulfite allergies. Also tree nuts, lactose intolerance, melons and many other allergies like bees, pollen, mold etc. I was going to get an epi-pen but read it contains sulfites. So you might want to double-check with your doctor.

  10. I’ve had a sulfite allergy for 11 yrs . I’ve notice the list that some people left , I gave up all alcohol and caffeine .i only use fresh veggies and the only thing from a can would be beans. Only organic brown rice because I had a reaction to regular brown rice.absolutely no pop ,or any sugared drinks or sugar period. Brown rice syrup is a good substitute. All shellfish contains sulfites,it us formed on the exterior of the shellfish this also includes calamari. No preserved meats your ham ,bacons sausages . But not only do you need to worry about what you eat, you need to be careful of medicines as well no NSAID ,and always let your pharmacists know about your sensitivity to sulfites . I will post recipes for you at a later time but I’ve been checking out other sites and you really need to be careful of some of the recipes because some are not sulfite free. Hope this helps

  11. I’m living with my newfound sulfite allergy. At least I now have an explanation for why I’ve felt sick so often for so long. Appreciate reading all your comments and welcome more at my Web resource for sulfite-intolerant people. So much to learn and I find a lot of conflicting information online. Also, my doctors including allergist are no help.

  12. Alicia Miller says:

    I have a sulfite allergy for the last 20yrs. I get asthma symptoms if I eat certain foods The only solution 20yrs ago was asthma medication and no test for sulfite allergies. 10yrs I had enough of asthma attacks and allergy pills, I decided to work on the foods I ate and permanently removed the offending foods. It worked but other food intolerances did not subside. I just lived with it. Recently my gallbladder failed and now the foods I couldn’t eat years ago I can now eat again. I also discovered what I thought was a harmless nickel jewelry allergy actually affected my system internally too depending on what foods high in nickel I consumed. Which at the time, I was a vegetarian. All leafy green veggies are high in nickel so I was filling my system with toxins instead of healthy. I removed those foods and my symptoms disappeared. In conclusion nickel is nickel sulfite. And is made sense since I was allergic to sulfites , nickel sulfite would be one too. I hope this helps others who are in my same predicament. I eat extremely cautiously. No fast food or the reactions just suck. Sometimes I need steroids but those have sulfites too. Benedryl which is suppose to stop an allergic reaction actually gives one to those with asthma, says it right on the box. Dr’s suggest I use this until I remind them what clearly written on the box. You really have to do the research yourself for your own body, don’t always count on Dr’s to do it. Good luck to you all.

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