Barratt-Hassett says he was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in 1990, though he had lived with the condition for all of his adult life. Fibromyalgia, which can make life truly miserable for sufferers, is characterized by pain in the muscles and surrounding structures, often accompanied by severe fatigue and exhaustion not abated by rest or sleep. It wasn’t until 2010 – two decades after being diagnosed – that Barratt-Hassett accidentally discovered the sulfite connection. His research led him to discover that sulfites are everywhere in the food supply, “hidden and undeclared,” as he puts it. “After researching which foods and food ingredients were adulterated with sulfites I removed them from my diet, and almost instantly all my symptoms disappeared. I was literally healed overnight.” He also says he lost over 20kg – a little over 44 pounds – of excess body fat (without dieting), and his energy level has exploded. “I’ve had a total health transformation,” he says.
While his case may seem extreme, he thinks he isn’t all that unusual, and he firmly believes sulfites could be the culprit for millions of people who feel chronically unwell despite normal results from medical tests. But how does a person know if sulfites really are affecting his or her health? “There’s a lot of debate about cause and effect,” says Barratt-Hassett. “I’m not a doctor or a scientist and don’t pretend to be, but the research I’ve done indicates that sulfites are making just about everyone sick to some extent. Some people are more sensitive than others, of course, but all of us who eat processed, manufactured food are affected.”