3 Letters On Food Labels To Avoid (like the plague)

Written by Joel Marion

Food Labels to Avoid

Do you find that understanding food labels is like learning a foreign language? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to give you an easy tip to identify health-derailing ingredients to avoid when reading nutrition labels.

For starters, did you know that there are 3 letters on food labels to avoid, especially if they’re at the beginning of the list of ingredients?

Those letters are OSE.

Let me explain.

Editor’s Note: NEVER eat this type of fish (EVER!)

You see, spotting sugar on food labels isn’t quite as easy as it once was. Yep, now that food manufacturers are aware that consumers of the current day are much more discerning than those of yesteryear, they’re doing everything they can to disguise sugar on their lists of ingredients.

These days, it’s not likely that you’ll see “sugar” at the forefront of an ingredients list. Instead, you’ll see these code names:

  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose

And the worst of the worst, high fructose corn syrup.

If you see any of the above words ending in –ose in the first 3 or 4 ingredients on a food label, rest assured that product is LOADED with sugar, and you should be avoiding it. It’s no secret that excess consumption of foods with added sugars like these can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity and variety of health issues.1

Beyond that, I’ll go so far as to say that if a product contains high fructose corn syrup (the worst of the worst man-made sugars) in ANY amount, you should avoid it like the plague. Simply put, the invention of high fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of obesity in this great country of ours.


Did you know that there’s one particular type of fat that research has shown to be exceedingly dangerous — and even worse — DEADLY? In fact, scientists from Harvard Medical School agree that this menacing fat possesses more fatal health risks than ANY other type of fat known to man…

Even more, it’s important to know that this “#1 most deadly fat” is NOT saturated fat or even trans fat. What is it? You’ll find out very quickly at the link below:

==>The #1 most DEADLY fat known to man (AVOID)

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  • 1. United States Department of Agriculture. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.; 2015.
  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    How about “dried organic cane syrup” = Sugar?

    • Cristina

      Greetings, Purvisman. Great question!

      Organic cane sugar would be comparable to “raw” sugar, which may be a better alternative to white sugar or brown sugar, however as far as your body is concerned, it all gets broken down into glucOSE and FructOSE in your digestive tract. Therefore this will have the same effect on your metabolism.

      When looking at things from a health perspective, our recommendation is to consume fresh fruits as your source of sugar. Not only do fruits contain a boatload of vitamins and nutrients, but with the added bonus of fiber, this helps to slow down the release of fructose, allowing your liver more time to metabolize it. Fiber-rich fruits in general get broken down slower than processed foods, which allows you to feel fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating.

  • Marilyn Blake

    Y’all just figured this out?

    • Cristina

      Hi Marilyn. Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Our goal is to inform everyone regardless of their knowledge of nutrition or fitness.

      If there are any topics of interest that you would like to learn more about, we encourage you to let us know.

      To your health!

  • Nicole Varanavage

    There are a lot of pre-packaged foods that high fructose corn syrup is literally the first ingredient. My question is how worried should I be if any of these -ose additives are in the middle or near the end of the ingredient list?

    • Cristina

      Hello Nicole. Great question!

      In the article above, Joel mentions “there are 3 letters on food labels to avoid, especially if they’re at the beginning of the list of ingredients”. Since food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amounts first, it would make sense to avoid anything which contained sugar, in any form, as one of the first few ingredients.

      I would go one step further and include low calorie artificial sweeteners to that list. For more information on the dangers of these sweeteners, the following is another great article by Joel Marion:

      Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

      To address your specific inquiry, I personally try and avoid any foods that are not made with natural ingredients, and contain artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors.

      When examining food labels, the main concern may not be if an ingredient that ends in -ose is listed in the middle or near the end of the ingredients, but rather how many ingredients are actually listed. And at what point does this product go from being food to a food-like substance?

      Just some food for thought.