A couple of drinks was enough to give Louisa Saunders a sore head and coughing fits. Then she learnt that it was nothing to do with alcohol - and that she wasn't the only one reacting against a hidden chemical
There comes a point in everybody's life when it's time to put the brakes on. Babies arrive, the long-hours culture begins to wear you down and, well, the years roll on. With the best will in the world, you find you just can't put it away like you used to. It's what used to be called middle age.
I had to accept, as I reached my mid-thirties, that I'd become an awfully cheap date. Once an enthusiastic drinker of beer, proud to swill pints like a man, now a couple of halves was all it took to put me under the table.
But it was more than just a problem of capacity. Even after one or two drinks, it seemed the hangover would begin halfway through the evening and continue for the rest of the night. I'd get home feeling like hell - ravenously hungry, even if I'd been out to dinner, yet with evil indigestion. I'd down some water and sugary foods in an attempt at first aid, then spend a fitful night with a foggy head and a heart full of feverish anxieties. A full recovery could take several days.
So, you can imagine how much fun my social life was. Parties soon lost their pull when the consequences were so punishing. Weeks would go by without me touching a drop.
When I noticed that I also lost my voice after a night out, I assumed this was caused by the cigarettes that went with the drinks. Curiously, though, a recent rash of non-smoking parties quickly brought about just the same rasping hoarseness.
Then one day in the office here at The Independent, someone cracked open some birthday champagne. I took one sip and began to cough. A few sips later and I was coughing and wheezing like a chain-smoking, 80-year-old miner. The reaction was so sudden and dramatic that it prompted me to put a few words into an internet search engine and soon I was pretty sure I'd nailed the culprit: sulphites.
Source - Independemt