February 25

The Awful Truth About Twinkies

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A reader sent us a heads up on a just out Newsweek article by Anne Underwood, titled “Mmm Tasty Chemicals” about the upcoming publication of a sort of tell all book about America’s iconic junk food: the Twinkie.

The book, Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger avows right in the subtitle his stated mission to track to their origins each of the 39 ingredients (yes, 39) in a Twinkie.

The article itself is interesting, but the book promises to be much like Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, an eye-opening, jaw-dropping expose of what’s in this junk food icon and why. Just the bits of revelation in the Amazon ‘jacket’ copy make me shudder at the thought of ever having put a Twinkie into my children’s lunch sacks, albeit done, as it was, before I had my brain transplant twenty plus years ago.

We’ve pre-ordered our copy and I can’t wait to dig into it.

As for digging into the star of the show, however, if it’s cream filled sponge cake I’m after, for my money, I’d rather stray on the real thing. Give me a piece of real homemade sponge cake stuffed with real cream filling–eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, butter and cream–not some 39 component chemical chimera designed to taste like it was made of those real things, but to last, like a vampire, for all eternity. The carb cost would be about the same, but the thought not quite so horrific…or industrial.


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  1. Reminds me of this;

    “Ingredients: Soy Nuggets [soy protein isolate,calcium carbonate, cocoa powder, (Processed with Alkali)], polydextrose, glycerin, inulin, palm kernel and palm oil, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), cookie pieces, [enriched wheat flour, cocoa powder (processed with alkali), sunflower oil, maltodextrin, chocolate liquor, salt, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, sucralose], hydrolyzed collagen, whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate, non fat dry milk, butter, cellulose, natural and artificial flavors, olive oil, soy lecithin, salt, maltodextrin, sucralose, mono and digycerides, dipotassium phosphate, acesulfame potassium. Vitamin and Minerals blend: Calcium (tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate), Magnesium (magnesium oxide),Vitamin A (vitamin a palmitate),Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate), Vitamin B-1 (thiamine mononitrate),Vitamin B-2, (riboflavin), Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B-12(cyanocobalamin), Vitamin E (DL Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), vitamin B-3 (niacinamide), biotin, pantothenic acid (d-calcium pantothenate), zinc (zinc oxide), folic acid, chromium (chromium chelate), vitamin K, phytonadione, selenium (sodium selenite).
    This product contains glycerine which is not a carbohydrate but has 4.32 calories per gram.”

    (an Atkins ‘Advantage’ bar!)

    AFAIK I have never eaten a Twinkie – I did spend a year in the States as a child, but I suspect one of the 39 would be egg, and since i am allergic …

    However, we do have Tim Tams! 😉
    http://about-australia-shop.com/timtams.htm

    Pre low carb, I may have had a few of those! – but by comparison (apart from the carbs) they look fairly innocuous.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Thanks for the reminder. I remember when the first Atkins bars came out. We were in NY and Mike bought one and tried to eat it. He’s one who can choke down just about anything, but he couldn’t choke down that original Atkins bar. We were outside the Museum and Science and History and he was running around trying to find a trash can to spit it into.

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