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What Foods Trigger Asthma Attacks?

What Foods Trigger Asthma Attacks?


An asthma attack can be triggered by foods containing sulfites, such as packaged shrimp, lobster, frozen French fries, soup mixes, trail mix, cookies, relish, raisins, pasta, gelatin and wines.

Even some fresh fruit like imported grapes can contain sulfites.

More Info: Sulfites are preservatives. They are chemicals used to make foods look vibrant and fresh even if they are aged. They masquerade under the names “sulfur dioxide,” “sodium sulfite,” “sodium bisulfite,” sodium metabisulfite,” “potassium bisulfite,” and “potassium metabisulfite” on food labels.

After eating foods with these ingredients, people who are sensitive to sulfites might suffer labored breathing and wheezing. Some people are more affected by sulfites than others. The Food and Marketing Institute reports that 8% of asthma sufferers experience severe attacks after eating foods with sulfites. Sulfites can also bring on asthma attacks in people who have never experienced asthma before.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration banned merchants from spraying sulfites on most fresh fruit and vegetables in 1984. Imported foods are not included in the ban. The FDA also forbade restaurants from using sulfites on buffets, salad bars, and other menu items that same year after studies found a link between the additives and asthma. However, sulfites are still widely consumed in processed and packaged foods.

Many shoppers with asthma familiarize themselves with the different forms of sulfites listed above so they can check food labels and choose wisely when shopping. Label reading can help the most sensitive sufferers stave off food-related asthma attacks.

” FMI | Food Marketing Institute | FMI Media Backgrounder – Sulfites.” FMI | Food Marketing Institute | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2010.

“The Asthma Center Education and Research Fund | FAQ | Should I Avoid Sulfites and/or Other Preservatives?” The Asthma Center Education and Research Fund..” The Asthma Center Education and Research Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2010.


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