Beer/alcohol allergy or additive (chemical) sensitivity?

April 29, 2008

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, over one million people are allergic to substances commonly added to beer, wine, and liquor. Because the law does not require that ingredients be printed on alcoholic-beverage labels, most consumers don’t know, for example, which wines contain such additives as sulfur dioxide and which liqueurs contain coffee whiteners.

So what exactly is in your beer?

Some typical beer additives:

Ammonia caramel
Rhoiso-alpha acids
Sulphur dioxide
Propylene glycol alginate
Sodium benzoate

4 Responses to “Beer/alcohol allergy or additive (chemical) sensitivity?”

  1. Mary Says:

    So, is it possible that I can’t sleep after drinking two Coors Lights because of an additive? I’d love to kow which beers to avoid… I have had a similar response to Killian’s Irish Red beer. It’s like I drank 2 cups of coffee, which I never do after noon.

  2. John Says:

    Which beer’s and liquors do not have additives, and is this only done in the U.S. Does anyone know

  3. ingestingknowledge Says:

    I’ve recently been learning about and researching additives in alcoholic beverages. There is clearly significant effort(Dollars) put forth to hide the truth from the consumer.

    I have been able to find out some useful information. Some countries do require ingredients to be listed on alcoholic beverages, the US unfortunately does not require this. There is really no way of knowing if a beer is chemically altered unless the company clearly states that they do not use artificial additives. You can test for foam stabilizers yourself, by dropping some milk onto the foam. Without a foam stabilizer present, the milk should quickly destroy the foam.

    Miller appears to be one of the worst offenders. Personally, I wouldn’t trust anything owned by their parent company inbev. My advise would be to email or call the makers of your favorite beers, and ask. If they don’t clearly state that they don’t use any artificial additives, don’t trust it. If they beat around the bush, and give you a wishy washy, unclear, legal response, then don’t trust it.

    I have found out during my research that Summit Beers and Heinekin Beers are free from artificial additives. You are most likely safer choosing micro brews instead of large commercial brews. Be careful, large brewing corporations own many “smaller” names as well. Above all, if it makes you feel sick or gives you a nasty hang over, don’t drink it. Good luck and careful drinking!

    On a side note: I am looking for information about import laws and artificial preservatives in alcoholic beverages. I’ve heard a rumor that the US requires preservatives in all imported alcoholic beverages, but have not been able to find any information on this. Anyone know anything about this?

  4. John Toby Says:

    A valid observation made from personal trial and experience by John Toby.

    By now, the fact that I do harp on the increasing menace of food additives is well known. No matter if the F.D.A., the food industry and some the medical profession state publicly that the food additives in these small amounts are safe, one actual proof that they are not is contained in the following personal experience.
    Mind you, this experience will show you that the problems occurred on account of additives were not life threatening but they are nevertheless debilitating. Now, if you ever had skin rashes and hives you will know how exasperating they can be.
    So if you are ever plagued by any of these afflictions it may benefit you to have a look at my experience.

    Over the course of decades I have had very few health problems. One recurring problem was the appearance of persistent itchy skin rashes (primarily on elbows and knees) where I sometimes scratched until bleeding. Also some hives at times.
    Naturally the causes of these afflictions are very hard to discover.

    Now, It got me to think, how come I did get those skin afflictions and my wife did not. Usually skin rashes and hives are not hereditary, but induced as a reaction of the body to try and get rid of some irritating substance we induced into it.
    Looking at the combined lifestyle of my wife and me it is obvious that it is generally identical for the both of us over the course of our married lives. This forced me to look at what could be persistently different between us in our life style.

    The only major difference I could discern is that I am an inveterate beer drinker while she is not. Since this was going on over the course of many years I looked at beer and tried to determine what got me sensitized.

    Beer has been brewed for hundreds of years and how come the German Emperor at around the year of 1500 made a law (Purity Law) that beer has to be brewed and served pure, which means that even at that time there were some detrimental additives in commercial beer.

    We here in Canada do have the advantage of buying beer with no preservatives. This fact I did not take into consideration for a long time.
    During the many winters we spent in Florida I noticed that my skin afflictions seem to be more frequent than during the summers in Canada. First guess was, also for a long time, that the weather and the different environment in Florida could be responsible for that.
    But, when it finally dawned on me that the American beer could be the cause then I started watching my beer intake for the fact of additives. Talking about this to an American Liquor Store manager he told me that all American beers contain Formaldehyde as a preservative. I cannot verify this fact, but to me it makes no difference because whatever is added seemed to affect me detrimentally.
    Also two of our friends in Florida could not drink American beer without side effects. They knew it (they bought German beer only) and with one of them and our wives we went to a buffet together. There they served a big pitcher of draft beer and our friend joined us all in drinking it. Well, he had to pay dearly as he got really sick later in the evening, so sick that he had to throw up. Could not have been the food since we all ate the same things.

    Now for the last three full years, after staying home and watching that I buy only beer which states on the case (and on each bottle!) that “No Preservatives ” are in it, my afflictions have practically disappeared.
    Now, if you jump to the conclusion “Well, this could also really be on account of the fact stated in the first guess, as above” you have to hold your horses because of another actual occurrence.

    Every two to three weeks, our next-door neighbors and we visit each other for a full and very late evening. During which my neighbor (also an inveterate beer drinker) and I, consume each at least about 4 bottles of beer. Now, it did happen more than once that when we were at his place on the next day I experienced some itching. One morning it was really bad on my back and I asked my wife to have a look at it and scratch me. She exclaimed, “ My god you have really bad hives there”. They disappeared soon thereafter but it prompted me to watch out for this the next time we visit.
    It came as no surprise that it happened again. And the beer I consumed there was “Steelers Lager” which does contain additives. My neighbor normally does not drink commercial beer because he brews his own, but serves commercial beer for his guests. Talking this over with him he serves now preservative free beer and I did not experience any problems since.

    Again, draw your own conclusions but let the facts speak for themselves.
    As for me, I still enjoy my “preservative free” beer!

    Cheerio, John.

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