Home » Foods » What are sulfites in wine for?

What are sulfites in wine for?

The sulfites in wine they are considered as a food preservative widely used in babies, since it has the ability to preserve the flavor in wine.

This compound can be found in a wide variety of beverages and foods, although they are mainly associated with wine. In turn, they are also related to certain side effects based on wine consumption, such as the dreaded headache. What is true in all this?

In this article we will review the different trials of the scientific community about the sulfites of wine. Among the first conclusions is drawn that this compound may have some contraindications in certain people, but not in others.

In some people, there is a good tolerance to sulfites, but others may suffer mild side effects, such as stomach pain, hives, or inflammation.

What are wine sulfites?

A sulfite, whose chemical name is sulphur dioxide, is a chemical compound linked to sulfite ion.

We can find it naturally in some foods such as eggs, fermented products, black tea and nuts such as peanuts.

On the other hand, we can also see it as a preservative in a wide variety of foods such as soft drinks, juices, jams, sausages and everything that needs to be packaged and a minimum period of conservation.

The sulfites contained in wine are used by winemakers to encourage the reduction of oxidation of the wine. In addition, this compound has antimicrobial potential, being able to reduce the development of bacteria and extend the shelf life of the product.

The main use of wine sulfites is to prevent its oxidation, maintaining its freshness and original flavor for as long as possible.

Possible side effects

We have commented before that not everyone tolerates well the intake of sulfites, including those of wine.

In general, there is no problem in taking them and they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but they can be linked to mild side effects.

According to the University of Florida, near the 1% of the population is sensitive to sulfites, and almost 5% have associated asthma processes. [See University of Florida article]

This means that people who already suffer from asthma can see the symptoms aggravated by the compounds of sulfites in wine and other foods.

These compounds can also cause headaches in those who are sensitive. A study carried out in Lisbon (Portugal) showed an increase in the number of people suffering from headaches for the consumption of wines with a higher concentration of sulfites compared to other wines with the minimum concentration rate. [See information]

Of course, it is not only the sulfites in wine that are the possible causes of headache, since we can find in this product other causes such as alcohol (the main cause), flavonoids, histamine, etc.

Among the side effects associated with the consumption of sulfites would be the following:

  • Headache
  • Urticaria
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Anaphylaxis

Tips to reduce sulfite consumption

Effects of sulfftite on wine

When we have already had several episodes with the symptoms described above, it is time to stop or reduce the adverse effects.

Wine, in itself, contains small amounts of sulfite, but the problem, in this case, is in the artificial addition that is made. Many wine producers have started producing wines that they do not contain added sulfites.

It is important to know that red wine, as a general rule, contains fewer concentrations of sulfites than white wine. In turn, you also have to reduce the intake of canned foods or pickles such as dried apricots, pickles, soft drinks, jams, juices, etc.

The product label must be well specified in the presence or absence of sulfites. We can find it with several different names, but they mean the same thing, such as sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite and potassium metabisulfite.

About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

Leave a Comment