Are you going to miss Twinkies?
Hostess went bankrupt for the second time in about a decade. And then it went under for good, taking with it all those sugary, cakey, cream-filled snacks that most of us grew up with.
And then people went nuts. Cleared out the shelves. Started hoarding. And inexplicably, put them out to the highest bidder on eBay for laughably exorbitant prices.
Then the blame game started in full swing – who DARED kill our Twinkies? The stubborn bakers’ union that wouldn’t take the deal offered by management? Or the greedy C-level executives who ran the company into the ground?
The way I see it, there are two things worth noting. First, it stinks that more than 18,000 people are losing their jobs.
But as far as the snack cakes go – will you really miss them?
I haven’t had a Twinkie in, well, I don’t know. Years. Many years. They weren’t a regular part of my diet growing up or in adulthood. That’s probably not a bad thing.
Consider what they’re made of. The ingredients list: Wheat flour, folic acid, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, iron, sugar, water, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, vegetable shortening, animal shortening, eggs, dextrose, modified corn starch, corn flour, glucose, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sweet dairy whey, soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, soy flour, salt, monoglyceride, diglyceride, polysorbate 60, corn dextrin, soy lecithin, cornstarch, cellulose gum, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sorbic acid, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and Red 40.
So basically we’re talking about two finds of flour, two kinds of fats, five kinds of sugars (two kinds of corn syrups!), two kinds of food colorings and an ingredient than can be used for, among other things, rocket fuel.
So what do you get with this chemistry set confection? One Twinkie has 150 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of protein and no measurable vitamins and minerals.
Because no one eats just one Twinkie (they come in packages of two), you get 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat 2 grams of protein and still almost nothing when it comes to vitamins and minerals. That’s 15 percent of the average person’s recommended daily calorie intake, and the only thing it will do for you is go straight to your fat cells and spike your blood sugar levels.
That brings to mind a couple of other things.
The United States is rapidly becoming more obese every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.7 percent of U.S. adults are obese; 16.9 percent of children and adolescents have the same condition. That’s 90.5 million Americans, just under a third of the nation’s population.
The eating habits that make us obese also have health consequences that go beyond our collective girth. Take diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association reports that in 2011, 25.8 million people have diabetes, or 8.3 percent of the population. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, vision loss, high blood pressure, neural diseases and amputations. In 2007, diabetes cost the U.S. $174 billion. That’s billion with a B.
I’m not going to be so dumb as to blame all these maladies on Twinkies or the myriad of products Hostess used to produce. And I’m not going to advocate the food cops ban junk food. Ya hear me, Mayor Bloomberg?
But let’s take into account that crap like this is killing us. It tastes good for a few moments, gives us a gut-ache, and over time, turns us into larger, more lethargic and lesser versions of ourselves until we slowly wind down and succumb to the maladies of a lifetime of poor diet and inactivity.
That’s no way to live.
As I’ve said, I’m sad for those who lost their jobs. It didn’t need to happen. But will I miss Twinkies? Of course not.
Should you? Would you trade all those Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos for the ability to bust off a sub-seven-minute mile? Or the ability to run 26.2 miles at age 60? Or physically outwork people half your age?
So you’re going to miss Twinkies? Don’t worry. Some other company will by the patents and sell them under a new label.
But if they never came back, I wouldn’t miss them a bit.
On Twitter @RMHigh7088