I just want to start off by saying, I LOVE TWINKIES. Ever since I had my first one they have always been my guilty pleasure. Sure, they aren’t the best food you can eat, but they aren’t the worst. Wait…maybe they are. I’m sure you have all heard of shelf life- or the amount of time a food remains usable for consumption, and I very sure most of you have heard that Twinkies can last anywhere from 50-100 years. Even though that discussion is still in the midst of debate we can confidently say that numerous rumors have gone around the Hostess Company and how their products are made.
The Hostess Twinkie is believed to be made up of all artificial ingredients; meaning that literally no real food products are in a Twinkie. Because this so called chemically produced snack food has created many rumors and myths, some people have gone so far as to say that a Twinkie can remain fresh and edible even through a nuclear war. There have been many claims regarding the shelf-life of these beloved yellow sponge cakes. The urban legend that Twinkies can last forever was sparked by a teacher who claimed that a Twinkie still “looked” good enough to be eaten even after 30 years in a classroom. To go even farther, people have claimed that this “baked good” is not even baked. They believe that some magic chemical poofs up a substance that is then colored brown to provide the appearance of baked cake.
The myth has been debunked. Twinkies are, in fact, made with several “real” ingredients such as sugar, flour, eggs and canola oil. However, they are made with some not so appealing artificial ingredients, as well, such as chemical stabilizers, artificial flavorings, and numerous preservatives. The shelf life of approximately 25 days for Twinkies is, in fact, extended because the product does not include extensive dairy ingredients. This extended shelf life is due to those stabilizers that slow down the rate at which Twinkies spoil. Even though the ingredients in Twinkies slow down the time it takes for it to spoil, it will still go bad.
As we saw with the Twinkie in the classroom for 30 years, a Twinkie can survive a long time, it did turn a gray diminished color. In another case, a high school student back in 1980 decided to put a time capsule in the ground by the school, which included a Twinkie. He recovered the capsule during his 22-year school reunion and the long-awaited results were revealed. Inside the time capsule, along with the Twinkie, was a magazine, an American flag, and a t-shirt, to name a few. Too much surprise, the Twinkie, the only food item in the capsule, turned out to be in the best shape. Even though it was most likely not edible, the form, sponge, and cream of the Twinkie remained recognizably similar. In this article, the author goes on to explain how unenthusiastic they were to ever eat another Twinkie again.
Now the real question is: After reading this information, would you still consider eating a Twinkie? For me, the short answer is yes! Although I must admit after doing the research and carefully reading the ingredients on the package I certainly won’t be so quick to grab one over another, healthier snack. Hostess produces around 500 million Twinkies each year, so, clearly it can be said with confidence that Americans are not turned off by the rumors about and the experiments conducted on the golden cream cakes. However, my advice to you when you need a sugar boost would be to grab an apple.