Are potato chips triggers for sulfite allergy?

Fact Checked

Many individuals believe that they have sulfite allergy but it is actually sensitivity to the preservatives utilized in beer, wine, medications and other food products. An actual allergic reaction occurs upon exposure to the allergenic proteins.

The sulfites present in processed foods help maintain color, extend the shelf life and inhibit growth of microorganisms. If the individual is suspected with sulfite allergy, it is vital to carefully read the food labels. Sulfite allergy does not have a cure even today, but avoidance is always the main precautionary measure.

Close look on sulfite allergy

Reactions to sulfites are triggered by consuming sulfite-containing foods and oftentimes inhaling sulfur dioxide produced by sulfites. Those who have sensitivity to sulfite usually experience asthma and it is uncommon for an individual without asthma to react to the preservative.

A sulfite reaction triggers symptoms that range from minor wheezing to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. In rare occasions, a reaction to sulfite can trigger anaphylaxis which involves a drop in the blood pressure and constricted airways.

Sulfite allergy
A sulfite reaction triggers symptoms that range from minor wheezing to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

Remember that anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that can develop within seconds or minutes after being exposed and requires immediate medical attention.

Can potato chips trigger symptoms of sulfite allergy?

Potato products such as those that are dehydrated, peeled, mashed, frozen and pre-cut varieties are considered as potential sources of sulfites. In addition, even tortilla chips and potato chips are likely sources.

Nevertheless, potatoes that are freshly cut do not contain any preservatives. If an individual wants to eat potato chips, it is recommended to prepare your own. You can utilize a mandolin to slice thin layers. Heat canola oil in a cooking pan and once hot, place a single layer of the potatoes in at a time. Once they turn golden brown, remove and sprinkle with salt or other flavoring as desired.

Other possible sources of sulfites

Most of the foods that contain sulfites are processed goods which include the following:

  • Cereals
  • Baked goods
  • Deli meat
  • Condiments
  • Snack foods
  • Dressings

Before eating a particular food, it is vital to carefully check the labels for potential components that can trigger sulfite sensitivity.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms of sulfite allergy include the following:

  • Hives
  • Flushed face
  • Swollen face, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • Distress and anxiety
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Once you suspect that an individual is allergic to sulfite, an allergist should be consulted. The assessment involves a “challenge” in which sulfites are gradually administered in small doses. If the individual reacts to a dose, the lung function is monitored and the effects are reversed with bronchodilator medications. If the doctor prescribes adrenalin or epinephrine for sensitivity, it must be on hand at all times in case of emergency.

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