By Gerald W. Deas, M.D.
When I was a kid, growing up in Brooklyn, and the weather would begin to change to a cool and brisk autumn air, I recall that this was a signal that my mom would begin to can many fruits and vegetables. The canning process was done in the most sterile way to prevent any bacterial or yeast invasion. These morsels of food were stored in glass containers and not the plastic one in use today. I can’t remember her ever using anything but natural spices to enhance the flavors.
It seems like this type of canning process long has been forgotten in the average household and has been substituted with plastic jars and preservatives, namely, sulfites such as, sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite and potassium metabisulfite. I know these are strange names to you. That is why you must read labels carefully on food products for there are a ost of foos that you eat each day that may contain these sulfite laden chemicals.
It has been shown that there is a link between sulfites and asthma, hives, nausea, diarrhea and even respiratory failure. I am concerned also that traces of sulfites can possibly cause unexplained chronic coughs, muscle pains and weakness, headaches, loss of taste and smell, unexplained muscle weakness and a host of other symptoms that have not been listed in medical literature. Often, many symptoms that are unexplainable are treated with drugs that may calm the symptoms but not cure the condition. The ingestion of sulfites in many cases could be the cause of the above symptoms.
The FDA has listed a guide of foods and drugs that may contain sulfites:
• Alcoholic Beverages—Beer, cocktail mixes, wine, wine coolers.
• Baked Goods—Cookies, crackers, mixes with dried fruits or vegetables, pie crust, pizza crust, quiche crust, flour tortillas.
• Beverage Bases—Dried citrus fruit beverage mixes.
• Condiments and Relishes—Horseradish, onion and pickle relishes, pickles, olives, salad dressing mixes, wine vinegar.
• Confections and Frostings—Brown, raw, powdered or white sugar derived from sugar beets.
• Modified Dairy Products—Filled milk (a specially prepared skim milk in which vegetable oils, rather than animal fats, are added to increase its fat content).
• Antiemetics (taken to prevent nausea), cardiovascular drugs, antibiotics, tranquilizers, intravenous muscle relaxants, analgesics (painkillers), anesthetics, steroids and nebulized bronchodilator solutions (used for treatment of asthma).
• Fish and Shellfish—Canned clams, fresh, frozen, canned or dried shrimp, frozen lobster, scallops, dried cod.
• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables—Sulfite use banned (except for fresh potatoes).
• Gelatins, Puddings and Fillings—Fruit fillings, flavored and unflavored gelatin, pectin jelling agents.
• Grain Products and Pastas—Cornstarch, modified food starch, spinach pasta, gravies, hominy, breadings, batters, noodle/rice mixes.
• Spreads—Jams and jellies.
• Nuts and Nut Products—Shredded coconut.
• Plant Protein Products—Soy protein.
• Processed Fruits—Canned, bottled or frozen fruit juices (including lemon, lime, grape and apple); dried fruit, canned, bottled or frozen dietetic fruit or fruit juices; maraschino cherries and glazed fruit.
• Processed Vegetables—Vegetable juice, canned vegetables (including potatoes), pickled vegetables (including sauerkraut), dried vegetables, instant mashed potatoes, frozen potatoes and potato salad.
• Snack Foods—Dried fruit snacks, trail mixes filled crackers.
• Soups and Soup Mixes—Canned seafood soups, dried soup mixes.
• Sweet Sauces, Toppings—Corn syrup, maple syrup, fruit toppings and syrups, high-fructose corn syrup, pancake syrup.
• Tea—Instant tea, liquid tea concentrates.
Make sure, if you have any unexplained medical conditions that may be caused by “out of sight sulfites,” to read food and drink labels before making them a part of your diet.