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Rocket Fuel and Shampoo: The Amazing Anatomy of a Twinkie

Twinkie_2 America is famous across the globe as the country full of fat people. But how can the world judge us when they are not home to the temptingly rich & creamy Twinkie? Over 500 million of the highly popular snacks are sold each year, but what is it that makes them taste so darn good?

Medical reporter Dr. Holly Phillips, who just happens to be pretty hot, and probably doesn’t eat too many Twinkies herself, was nonetheless fascinated by the long list of strange ingredients found in the iconic and beloved golden cakes. She dissected the anatomy of a Twinkie, and found out there’s a whole lot more than cream inside…

Dr. Phillips says there are 39 ingredients, and all but one are processed. Phillips also got a little help from author Steve Ettlinger who has already spent over five years tracking down the source of every ingredient found in the mysterious Twinkie.

The ingredients cellulose gum, calcium sulfate, and polysorbate 60 are also used in sheetrock, shampoo, laundry detergent, and even rocket fuel.

"I was surprised that so many not only came from petroleum, but at least five came from rocks," Ettlinger says. The vitamins, artificial flavors, and colorings all come from the fossil fuel petroleum. Phosphates from limestone make Twinkies light and airy. Sorbic acid is made from natural gas. That really blew my mind," Ettlinger says.

But what about that deliciously creamy middle? "There is no cream in the cream, as they say. It's mostly Crisco," Ettlinger says.

Like most of us, Ettlinger eats processed foods. Just for kicks, he sometimes reads the ingredients label—without a clue as to what each ingredient actually was. He turned investigating ingredients into a hobby after his little girl was enjoying a treat and came up with a real head-scratcher. “Daddy, what’s polysorbate 60?”

That question started Ettlinger on a journey to understand what he was eating—one he probably wishes he’d never embarked on. What good can come from knowing what’s in our food? But as Ettlinger points out, processed foods have been indicted as the main contributor to our childhood obesity epidemic, and are full of strange, unholy things. Not to ignore the 290 calories and nine grams of fat in every Twinkie that are so easy on the tongue, but hard on coronary arteries.

But Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, says you simply can’t deconstruct something as delicious as a Twinkie.

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

Rocket fuel or not—there’s no way to argue that!

Posted by Rebecca Sato


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Does anybody study the health affects of these bogus ingredients? How can all of this fake food be legal?

The fewer ingredients the better!


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