My Take on the Twinkie

Were you one of the panicked buyers who recently paid $20 or $30 for a box of Twinkies? If not, did you still lament the potential, although not likely, extinction of this spongy yellow cream filled cake? I don’t know about you, but my feelings are decidedly mixed about the fate of the Twinkie.

When I was growing up, Hostess products were pretty much a staple in our house. While I did indulge in the Twinkie every now and then, I must admit that my favorite was the cupcake, with all of the chocolate and cream-filled goodness it provided. So, the Twinkie was not my “go to.” Admittedly, this may be one of the reasons that I wasn’t one of those who, upon hearing that Hostess wanted to liquidate, ran out to the store to stock up on its popular golden cake. But there are more important reasons for my inaction.

When I was a kid, eating for health wasn’t as top of mind as it is today. My eating habits (and those of my friends and family) were not as good as they should have been. I ate a lot of foods high in calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol and carbohydrate.  Many of us did.  We didn’t make the best choices a lot of the time, and our thoughts just didn’t revolve around food. I came from a time when we did a lot of things that we wouldn’t do today. Besides a lot of less healthy food choices and eating habits, there were other risks in our path. Want a few examples? Here we go.

Trampolines didn’t have bone-saving netting surrounding them and pools didn’t have life-saving fencing around them. Wearing car seat belts wasn’t compulsory. Bike helmets were just about non-existent. We had toys that allowed us to cook rubber shapes in heating equipment from the comfort of our bedrooms and we played with two hard stone-type balls tied to two strings that we attempted to clack together both high and low. I could go on and on but you get the gist. Just because we used to eat it or do it, doesn’t make it the best choice for us.

With 150 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat in one cake, Twinkies receives a nutrition grade of “F” on www.caloriecount.about.com. This dietitian doesn’t like it either. There are so many other better choices for snacks and desserts, like fruit or low fat yogurt. Even sugar free jellos and puddings are lighter in calorie and fat. I’m sure that many of you have lower calorie and fat sweet treats that you can slot in here. That’s the direction to go. Eating a Twinkie every now and then isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not anywhere near the healthiest choice, which we should be making most of the time.

So while I don’t believe in putting the Twinkie on a pedestal (and since I haven’t eaten one in well over 20 years and likely won’t in the next 20 years), I am very concerned about one major aspect of the Hostess demise. I don’t like to see a business close, particularly one that’s been around as long as Hostess has. And most importantly, I hate to see hard-working people lose their jobs. To me, the real losers here aren’t us consumers. It’s all the Hostess employees and other businesses that relied on them. That’s my take on the Twinkie.

 

Visit Lisa Tillinger Johansen’s web site at www.fastfoodvindication.com,www.consultthedietitian.com, on Twitter @LisaTJohansen and find her on Facebook at Lisa Tillinger Johansen.

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