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Twinkies, Deconstructed

If you're the kind of person who likes to snack on a Twinkie every now and again, I'm sorry to say you may want to rethink that snack. Steve Ettlinger, the author of Twinkie, Deconstructed states that there are 39 ingredients in a Twinkie, and all but one are processed. The list, which includes cellulose gum, calcium sulfate and polysorbate 60 are used in sheetrock, shampoo, laundry detergent and even rocket fuel.

It took Ettlinger over five years to track down the source of every ingredient found in a Twinkie. Along the way he discovered that the vitamins, artificial flavors and colorings come from petroleum and sorbic acid is made from natural gas.

When asked about the findings, the folks at Hostess said:

"Deconstructing the Twinkie is like trying to deconstruct the universe. We think the millions of people would agree that Twinkies just taste great."

Oh and one other thing that blew my mind — although really I should've realized this — the creamy middle? According to Ettlinger, that's mostly Crisco shortening.

And while all of this sounds terrible, I'd like to add that these ingredients aren't just found in Twinkies. Many other processed foods contain the same ingredients. Makes you think twice about what you eat, no?

Thanks to GiggleSugar for sending this info on to me!

Join The Conversation
Jinx Jinx 9 years
There's a bit of dialogue in "Bobby" between Demi Moore and Sharon Stone's characters regarding mens pet names for women. Demi says men will never call a woman a "Twinkie" because our shelf life isn't as long. We are more like melting ice cream cones! lol
carlabunnie carlabunnie 9 years
I read this book. It was actually really informative. It gives a brief history of the twinkie, and how it all started. It goes ingredient by ingredient and describes the process in which each ingredient goes through before it even goes into making a twinkie. I hate twinkies, I was just curious what actually goes into making them.
JenErin JenErin 9 years
Mmmm, I love twinkies!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I ate a twinkie while on deployment after the hurricanes, i swore that thing stayed in my stomach for weeks.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
not surprising, but those things are yucky anyway.
iMpErFeCtIoNs iMpErFeCtIoNs 9 years
Really disturbing. Petroleum in twinkies?
Amanda-La Amanda-La 9 years
So basically, eating twinkies is a serious decision, one to be pondered carefully. We should all do some deep extensive research into the matter before we decide to keep eating these delicious golden treats!
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
So, the question is, ragus, "Do you like twinkies?" ;)
ragus ragus 9 years
Stop hating on twinkies, blah blah blah we know if you eat to many you will die, just like everything! Why don't you tell that to the twinkie king Shelbyville’s ‘Twinkie King’ has eaten 23,000 since 1940 Snack celebrating its 75th anniversary Story originally ran in the March 12, 2005 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette By Suzanne Martinson People who dismiss Twinkies as just another junk food haven't talked to 89-year-old Lewis Browning, who has eaten the golden cake with the fluffy filling most every day since 1940. The Shelbyville, Ind., man remembers the first Twinkie he ever tasted. It was 1936, and "I bought it at a little old grocery store over the corner from my house. They cost a nickel." Twinkies are celebrating their 75th year, and perhaps furthering their luster as an American icon is a photography show that opened yesterday in Pittsburgh. The local chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers, the show's sponsors, sought out the Twinkie makers, rather than the other way around. Twinkies as objets de art include diverse interpretations, from a DaVinci-inspired "The Last Snack" to an X-rayed Twinkie to a famished ferret with frosting in his whiskers. When Browning hauled milk seven days a week, his workday started at 3 a.m., so he'd assuage his hunger with a stop at one of the small stores that dotted the Indiana countryside. He'd alternate between Twinkies, which once had banana filling, and their sister snack, Hostess cupcakes, still recognized for their signature white squiggle across the chocolate frosting. His milk truck required two hands to steer. "I had them chocolate cupcakes all over me, so I went to Twinkies altogether." During World War II, bananas were hard to come by, so in 1945 Twinkies went to vanilla cream frosting, and Browning went along. Now that he's retired he starts each day with one. "For breakfast I have a Twinkie, a glass of milk and a banana," he said. Twinkies were invented in 1930 by Jimmy Dewar of the Hostess Baking Co., now part of Kansas City-based Interstate Baking, which manufactures half a billion Twinkies a year. Pittsburgh's are baked in Chicago. Sweet snacks are a $12 billion-a-year business, and half of them are eaten by adults, according to Jacques Roizen, chief marketing officer for Interstate. Roizen, 36, grew up on croissants in his native France. "Twinkies are better for you than croissants," he said. "Croissants -- at least the good ones -- are full of butter." There's no butter in Twinkies, and in fact its claim to promotional fame these days is "no trans fat," the latest enemy of eating right.A Twinkie has 150 calories. The conflict between what we should eat and what we want is a recurring theme in American society, and one of the art show photos pictures a little boy holding an orange while a balloon overhead pictures a Twinkie. Bill Kolarik, of McCandless, has heard all the Twinkie jokes. For 291/2 years, he has set out at 3:30 a.m. five days a week to deliver the snack cake of preference for many an American on the move. "You know, like even after a nuclear war, we'll be able to find a Twinkie," he said as he restocked shelves at Reyes Sunoco on Babcock Boulevard in Ross. "Like, they're that indestructible." Twinkies and other high-sugar treats are often considered junk food, and nutritionists worry that they can contribute to childhood obesity. But photographer Tom Altany places these sweet treats at fame's table in his iconic work, "The Last Snack," in which the Twinkie takes center stage among other snack foods. The photograph has a long table with a rumpled silk cloth, tiny trays of Barbie food and a dozen sweet stand-ins for the diners at The Last Supper. The DaVinci take-off may raise some eyebrows, appearing as it does during Lent. Altany, chair of the 24-photo show at Point Park University, said some have suggested his work might be sacrilegious. "After 24 years of Catholic schooling, I'm not looking to do that," he said. "I'm looking to have fun." The Twinkie pieces bring forth the sense of home and family with the very first photograph, a pregnant Megan Moses of Coraopolis, pictured with a Twinkie atop her belly. She's the wife of a friend of Chris Rawlinson, who teaches photography at Point Park. In this show, Twinkies really do grow on trees. That's good news for Lewis Browning, who packed a few Twinkies in his suitcase when he had to spend two weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. Louise, his wife of 54 years, asked the doctor if it was OK if her husband ate them. "A Twinkie never hurt anybody," the doctor said.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I don't really like Twinkies much ... I may have 1 every 5 years, haha ... but this gives me more reason not to have them that often. LOL, Rosey ... I remember that episode, too! =) Good one!
rosey_y rosey_y 9 years
Reminds me of an epidsode of The Simpsons. Apu: "Silly customer, you cannot destroy a Twinkie." Hehehe. I've never had one. I don't live in the US though.
tati33 tati33 9 years
I'm with BlairBear & lickety split. :ROTFL: ccsugar... your favorite ingredient
indielove indielove 9 years
I always thought Twinkies taste like shit.
ImJessica ImJessica 9 years
I was never that into Twinkies, but Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate ones with the squiggle? Soooo good. I'm sure they're just as bad, I try to avoid them.
Jinx Jinx 9 years
lol @ ccsugar. Thats disgusting, really. I ate a few when i was younger, but I haven't in ages.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
I haven't eaten a twinkie in years, and I'm happy about that now.
BlairBear BlairBear 9 years
Giggle, that is hilarious, I didn't know about that.
GiggleSugar GiggleSugar 9 years
Remember the "Twinkie Defense" when that dude killed SF Mayor Harvey Milk and blamed it on his overconsumption of Twinkies? He may have been onto something... :o
Amanda-La Amanda-La 9 years
That is disgusting. I really don;t like crap like that even though its yummy it's like I feel myself getting fatter. I LOVE chips ahoy cookies with milk.
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
Gross. I've never eaten a twinkie in my life and never will.
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 9 years
I had a cat named Twinkie...that's about as close as I got to one. I did eat Tastykakes Butterscotch Krimpets a long time ago, which I'm sure have their own list of no-nos.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
I do not eat these things because I know they are bad for you and do not contain anything real in them, and because if I do allow myself to eat one, I will continue to eat them all!
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
I hate Twinkies, yet love Chocodiles (chocolate covered Twinkies). Lucky for me they're damn near impossible to find, so I haven't had one in years. This is nasty!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
lickety-split - SO TRUE!
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