Tell 'Em About The Twinkie: What's In It?

What is it about the Twinkie that inspires such speculation about its ingredients…and its shelf life? We don’t know, but Newsweek has broken down what’s actually in a Twinkie. It’s gross, but then, if you’ve eaten one, you knew it would be. From Newsweek:

THE FILLING

• Shortening (in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and/or beef fat) is the main ingredient.
• Polysorbate 60 is a gooey substance that helps replace cream and eggs at a fraction of the cost. It’s derived from corn, palm oil and petroleum.

• Cellulose gum gives the cr

me filling a smooth, slippery feel.

• Artificial vanillin is synthesized in petrochemical plants. The real thing comes from finicky tropical orchids that are pollinated by hand on the one day they bloom.

Good thing we haven’t actually eaten one of these things since the Nixon administration. Yes, we’re exaggerating. No, we were not alive.—MEGHANN MARCO

Twinkies [Newsweek]

Comments

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  1. faust1200 says:

    Why the sudden urge to hate on the Twinkies?

  2. AcilletaM says:

    If you did it would still be in your stomach.

  3. TVarmy says:

    It’s an interesting article, but some of the ingredients that they mention in an attempt to scare the reader are a bit too mundane. Although us modern chefs now know that trans fat is very dangerous and very unnecessary in home cooking (I switched to Green Can Crisco a long time ago), we all used regular trans-fat shortening when it was in vogue and thought to be a zero-loss alternative to saturated fat.

    Plus, at least half of my soup and sauce recipes call for corn starch.

    But it is neat seeing that so much of a Twinkie is petroleum refined.

  4. mark duffy says:

    Who cares. Keep Fretting terribly about what’s in what you eat (trans fat…OMG!) and you die a little every day. Get off your ass and fucking run 5 miles a day…beats any “healthy” diet ever concocted.

  5. elljay says:

    Ahhhhh… Reminds me of Die Hard!

    If you recall Carl Otis Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson) of the Family Matters sitcom read off the Twinkies ingredients to Mr. John McClane (Bruce Willis).

    Sorry, I’m off to get a box of Twinkies and rent Die Hard again!

    Ho Ho Ho!

  6. dohtem says:

    @elljay: haha, that’s one of my favorite movies. I had that on VHS!!!

    But really, twinkies rock.

  7. The Bigger Unit says:

    Well, I guess I’ll just cut out the middle-man and drink petroleum directly. Mmmm. Delicious (and nutritious) petroleum…

  8. reginae says:

    Mmmm, beef and petrochemicals in a plastic wrapper!

    That’s just disgusting. No wonder the mere sight/smell of Twinkies makes me gag.

  9. infinitysnake says:

    Two different petrolium product…wretched.

  10. critical_matt says:

    Twinkies? Petroleum. Haliburton is behind this. HAL-I-BUR-TON! And they’re sold at Walmart!

  11. DTWD says:

    Ever since Van Wilder, I’ve never wanted to eat one.

  12. hang says:

    My friend lived on this for a month, she’s doing OK, I think.

  13. Bourque77 says:

    There are several food items that I dont want to know what goes in them, hot dogs come to mind.

  14. ElizabethD says:

    My kid bought some Twinkies recently and I tried one. I was shocked — they are not even 10% as disgustingly good as when I was a kid. All I could conclude was that back in the day, they were even more hideously unhealthy than they are now — because, man, those things were good back then. Now: meh.

  15. P1h3r1e3d13 says:

    For the record:
    What they use is *synthetic* vanillin.

    Artificial vanillin would be a substance other than vanillin that also gives a vanilla taste.
    (Think “artificial sweeteners” =/= sugar.)

    Synthetic vanillin is the exact same chemical that is extracted from the vanilla bean, but it is *synthesized* in a lab, making it more economical to produce and probably purer.

  16. B says:

    Silly customer, you cannot hurt a twinkie.

  17. You should check out the Twinkie experiments

  18. twinkiebook says:

    Your March 2 note about Newsweek breaking down what’s in a Twinkie was fun to see but frustrating for me….I actually wrote the book about Twinkie ingredients and Newsweek wrote the article about the book, Twinkie, Deconstructed (www.twinkiedeconstructed.com). Oh, well.

    FYI, I got tired of reading without understanding what all that stuff on the ingredient list was, and decided to track all those things back down to where they come out of the ground. I’m a befuddled consumer, and like to get defuddled from time to time (usually resulting in a book—I’ve written seven).