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Are Twinkies Healthier Than You Think?

Are Twinkies Healthier Than You Think?

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Hostess compares the cream-filled yellow cake to energy bars

Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Moore

Hostess claims that Twinkies are actually healthier than energy bars.

Hostess claims that their new recipe for the once-extinct sponge cake is just as healthy as energy bars like Kind and Clif bars, according to the New York Post.

A spokesperson from Clif Bar told the Post that although Twinkies have the least amount of calories and fat of these three snacks, it does not have the vitamins and minerals that energy bars do. It is obviously a cake and is made with mainly sugar and flour.

The spokesperson said that energy bars have a higher fat content because they contain nuts, which are notoriously healthy. Energy bars also contain more fiber and protein than Twinkies, which digests slower than the empty-calorie cakes and ensures no sugar crash.

A chocolate chip Clif Bar contains 3.52 calories, 0.73 grams of fat, and 0.022 grams of saturated fat. A Twinkie contains 3.51 calories, 0.12 grams of fat, and 0.588 grams of saturated fat. Overall, Twinkie’s numbers are lower, with the exception of saturated fat (which could, by the way, be better for you than you think).

It’s hard to imagine that Twinkies, which have been deep-fried and used as a burger bun, could be considered healthier than energy bars, but the facts and figures speak for themselves.

Very Vanilla "Twinkie" Bundt Cake

So I woke up this morning all, "Let me make something healthy to share today!" and then ended up with this:

Very Vanilla Twinkie Bundt Cake.

True story. How that happened I'll never know.

Well, that's entirely not true. I do know. I baked something with coconut flour, tasted it, and decided it wasn't worth sharing and making you go out and spend money on the ingredients. And then while I sat down to drink my morning cup of decaf , I started flipping through one of my cookbooks. Today, it happened to be Pure Vanilla, because I like a little food porn with my breakfast.

And then I flipped to the page titled, "Twinkie Bundt Cake." And my heart skipped a beat. See ya, coconut flour.

I had all the good intentions of wearing my nutritional halo today. But it's a Friday, so let's loosen up a bit, 'kay? Bundt cake. What does it remind you of?

Ok, maybe I'm just a little excited about it. But it's really good, I promise. Better than anything I could have made with coconut flour today. Balance out the calories and share it with a bunch of folks you love!

10 More Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

There are lots of misconceptions about healthy eating. Some folks kick their favorite foods to the curb because they think they’re no good. We’ve already given you a list of ten -- here are 10 MORE foods that offer more nutrition than you’re giving them credit for.

While you will find some unhealthy fats, don’t count out cheese! It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium and even contains a small amount of vitamin D. Watching your waistline? Keep portions to about 1-ounce and choose lower fat varieties like Swiss, Parmesan or part-skim mozzarella and ricotta.

Some people are still afraid of eating carbs and bread is usually the first to go. But don’t toss those loaves out just yet! You’ll be missing out on nutritious goodies like fiber and important B-vitamins. Limit intake to no more than a couple of slices per day and choose whole grain varieties most of the time.

Classically misconstrued as a food that “doesn’t count” – lettuce packs in nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. The darker the leaf, the more nutrients it has so bulk up salads, wraps, sandwiches and tacos with a fresh, green, low-calorie crunch.

Don’t let the name fool you, there’s no butter in this cooked-down fruit puree. Commonly available in apple, pumpkin and peach flavors, it's divine spread on toast, mixed into yogurt or used in place of some of the oil when baking. Apple butter is a key ingredient in this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Yes, pizza! The combination of bread, lycopene-rich tomatoes and toppings like cheese and veggies actually make for a darn healthy meal. Homemade is the best way to go to keep the portion sizes, calories and grease under control. Try this 5-ingredient recipe from scratch or make things even easier by making mini pizzas on English muffins.

It might taste like candy but dried fruit has a lot more to offer. Drying fruit allows the natural flavors to concentrate, making it naturally sweet. While you should be careful with portions, dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, pineapple and apricots are a healthy addition to hot and cold cereals, salads and trail mix. Look for brands without added sweeteners and keep portions to a modest couple of tablespoons.

When you consider the ingredients – beans, veggies, spices and maybe some meat – chili is healthy eats. Dial back on the fatty meats and toppings like sour cream and cheese and you’ve got a healthy and satisfying one-pot meal. Use our tips for Chili, Lightened Up.

Shellfish like shrimp and lobster always get the shaft for being too high in cholesterol. But it turns out they can be part of heart-healthy diet because they are low in calories and saturated fat and high in protein. Learn more about why we love shellfish.

A recent study found that chocolate eaters may have a reduced risk of heart disease. We've got 28 favorite ways to munch on chocolate but be sensible about your choco-indulgence. Too much fat, calories and sugar from chocolate is certainly not good for your heart (or your waistline).

Carnivores rejoice! Red meat can be enjoyed in moderation for the benefit of healthy goodies like protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B12. The heart-healthy trick is to opt for lean cuts like beef tenderloin and flank steak. Get the skinny on the leanest cuts of meat.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

Americans Are Obsessed With Eating Healthy—and With Twinkies

Healthy eating has become an obsession. Soft-drink sales are slumping, salt is getting tossed from food, and kale is on the menu at McDonald’s.

And yet the Twinkie, that icon of indulgence, is on a tear.

For many otherwise healthy-eating American millennials, Twinkies have become food nostalgia. Nine months of forced disappearance from store shelves sharpened appetites for the golden sponge cake filled with fluffy cream, and after two bankruptcies, the 2013 acquisition of the Hostess Brands Inc. snack-cake business by a pair of private equity firms put the company back on the road to solvency.

‘𠆏or as much as millennials bring us challenges, they also have a belief that you only live once and you should enjoy yourself,” Bill Toler, chief executive officer of the Kansas City, Missouri-based Hostess, said in an interview. “They believe in a license to indulge.”

In opinion surveys, Americans rank stealthy eating right up there with healthy. While 75 percent told NPR last year they were eating wholesome food, another report, from the Boston Consulting Group and IRI, found that indulgence was a top food trend, alongside nutrition. Hostess was ranked second among growth leaders for midsize companies, behind Greek yogurt company Chobani.

Sweet and Salty

“Unhealthy products remain popular,” said Krishnakumar Davey, president of strategic analytics at IRI. “The popularity of nutritious snacks is surging, but so are sales of ice cream or salty snacks.”

A big beneficiary is Twinkies, Hostess’ golden child. One cake is 130 calories and 14.5 grams of sugar, compared with a Coke that has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Apollo Global Management LLC and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. bought Hostess for $410 million and hopped on the wave of Twinkie-love at just the right moment. Being without Twinkies and other Hostess products like Ho Hos and Ding Dongs in 2012 and 2013 unleashed a wave of sentimentality, driving fans a little bit mad.

“My wife ran out and bought eight boxes of Twinkies,” said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “Hostess got a shot in the arm by not being there.”

The cream-filled sponge cake is such a cultural icon that Yoan Moncada, a Cuban-born baseball prospect for the Chicago White Sox, gobbled as many as 85 of them in a week, according to ESPN The Magazine.

Popularity Cost

Twinkies’ new popularity came at a cost. The Hostess bankruptcy enabled the private equity buyers to start over with a fraction of a workforce that once numbered about 8,000 at several bakeries across the country. Their reconstituted company now has 1,350 employees and three baking facilities. Now, one automated production line staffed by 10 employees in Emporia, Kansas, can produce 95 percent of the iconic cakes. Apollo declined to comment.

The changes have helped produce some of the best profit margins in the food industry, just shy of what the ruthless cost-cutters of 3G Capital Inc. have posted since taking over Kraft Heinz Foods Co. with the help of Warren Buffett in 2015.

Apollo and Metropoulos took Hostess public in November, and shares have jumped 23 percent so far in 2017. Sales surged 13 percent last year. The company has carved out 12 percent of the market for packaged cakes, cutting into the sales of industry leader McKee Foods Corp., the maker of Little Debbie products, according to Euromonitor data.

Tweaked Recipe

Metropoulos, the firm that revitalized Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, tweaked the recipe for Twinkies, doubling the product’s shelf life to about 60 days, according to Toler. The change helped Hostess switch its distribution system to a lower-cost model, and allowed it to ship more products to smaller, more remote stores. About 70 percent of the company’s sales come at a combination of Wal-Mart locations, dollar-store chains and convenience stores -- not the typical domain of coastal millennials driving healthy-food trends.

“Those customers aren’t as sensitive,” Toler said.

Hostess isn’t completely ignoring wellness concerns. Its new whole-grain muffins qualify as “smart snacks” for the federal school food program, and it’s removing trans fats from its products.

But a glance at the new products the company rolled out in 2016 makes it plain Hostess is betting on frozen Deep Fried Twinkies and Twinkies ice cream.

Dean Metropoulos, founder of the investment firm, recently said Hostess was �solutely committed to participating as other companies do with the trends of wellness.”

That pledge came with a caveat.

𠇋ut we don’t see that as depriving Americans from having a great ice cream and a great Twinkie,” he said.

Homemade Twinkies

This homemade Twinkies recipe is my own riff on the Hostess Twinkie. I rely on my yellow sponge cake, coaxed into that familiar oblong shape via some creative tin-foil folding, and a seven-minute frosting that’s airy, meringue-y, and reliably sweet as a cream filling. And I cram as much filling in the sponge cakes as I can contain without the cakes exploding. Which is sorta surprising seeing as I’ve never cultivated even a meager appreciation, let alone anything resembling the requisite reverence, for the snack cake. I’m just not that into them. Still, I find the moist, flavorful crumb, and gobsmackingly sweet, fluffy filling of this divine little ditty outright irresistible. Especially when eaten slightly warm—something I can assure you will never happen with a Twinkie straight from the wrapper. Originally published April 5, 2011.Erin Carlman Weber

What's different about a sponge cake?

Technically, a sponge cake doesn’t contain any baking powder or baking soda. Instead of those leavening agents, sponges get their airiness from lots and lots of whipped egg whites. There are many types of sponge cake but that airy texture is what they all have in common. And, as the name suggests, these cakes take well to being soaked with syrups.

3 Reasons to Reject the Twinkie Diet!

You probably heard about the nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks eating junk food, including Twinkies, Little Debbie snacks, Doritos, sugary cereals and Oreos. While he doesn&apost recommend his approach he says he did to prove that calories are the bottom line for weight loss. I strongly disagree. Yes, you will lose weight by cutting calories, regardless of what you eat, but this oversimplification of weight control sends a very dangerous message. Here are three reasons why I think you should disregard it:

1) It&aposs not healthy. In several interviews the professor reports that his "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped by 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20%. First that&aposs not surprising and second, it&aposs not an indicator of health. When someone is overweight (as he was) and loses weight, cholesterol and blood pressure levels always improve, simply because the body is less stressed. If you&aposve ever carried a small child or a few bags of heavy groceries you know how much more difficult it is to move and breathe. In the SHORT term your body always responds positively to simply dropping the excess baggage. But over time, the lack of nutrients and slew of artificial additives will catch up to you. Here&aposs why: you&aposre constantly repairing and regenerating cells, and the raw materials you use to do that work come straight from your diet. That&aposs why the phrase, "You are what you eat" is literal. A junky diet of bad fats, sugar, and artificial additives doesn&apost give your body much to work with. I always tell my clients it&aposs like making a structure with cardboard and glue rather than bricks and mortar. A diet rich in natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lean protein and healthy fats allows you to make cells that function optimally, from your digestive and immune systems to your bones, muscles, skin, and hair. The healthfulness of your diet is also the key to controlling inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and disease, and protecting against everything from heart disease to cancer. I&aposve worked as a dietitian in both oncology and cardiac rehab and I can tell you that plenty of thin people are hospitalized with both diseases every day.

2) It&aposs not as easy as it sounds. If you read my post last week about ‘ultra-processed&apos foods you saw that they set you up for overeating by throwing off your body&aposs natural appetite regulation. The professor who conducted this self-experiment is a professor of nutrition who carefully limited his calories to 1,800, an 800 calorie cut from his previous intake. For a non-nutrition professional who wasn&apost being so precise it may be pretty tough to cap calories when eating super palatable foods like Oreos. In my 15+ years counseling "real" people many have told me that it&aposs nearly impossible not to polish off a whole pint of ice cream once it&aposs open or stop at just a few cookies.

3) It&aposs horrible for the planet. I have master&aposs degrees in both nutrition science and public health, so I can&apost think about food without considering both its impact on human health and the health of the planet. Cheap junk food is produced in a way that wreaks havoc with the environment, from the way its ingredients are grown, to the artificial additives included, the packaging it&aposs wrapped in, and the impact of its transportation. Compared to a fresh apple from your local farmer&aposs market it&aposs like the difference between an SUV and a bicycle.

Bottom line: even though you can lose weight by eating a limited number of calories worth of junk food I wouldn&apost want to see any of my clients, friends or family members follow the professor&aposs lead.

So that&aposs my two cents – what&aposs your take on this topic? Please share your thoughts!

Ding Dongs are great because they have one of the funniest names of all the Hostess goodies. Plus they’re absolutely delicious, what with that fluffy cream center and rich chocolate cake exterior. Follow this recipe from Beantown Baker to learn how to make your own Ding Dongs from scratch. It’s a really neat technique where you cut smaller cakes out of a larger cake. Fun!

One of the more under-appreciated Hostess snacks (at least in my opinion) is the Sno Ball. I love that they come in a fun pink color to boot! If you’re a Sno Ball guy or gal, don’t worry… I’ve found a copycat recipe for these wonderful treats just for you. Enjoy!

7 Not-So-Healthy Snacks

1. Chocolate-Coated Doughnuts, Mini Doughnuts, and Snack Cakes

This is not to say that powdered-sugar doughnuts are good snack choices. But chocolate-coated doughnuts and snack cakes have even more saturated fat than other types.

  • Entenmann's Pop'ems Frosted Donuts, 4 pieces: 320 calories, 23 grams (g) total fat, 14 g saturated fat, 16 g sugar, 180 milligrams (mg) sodium
  • Little Debbie Zebra Cakes, 1 cake: 190 calories, 9 g total fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 182 g sugar, 150 mg sodium
  • Sunnyside Farms Mini Chocolate Frosted Donuts, 3 donuts: 220 calories, 13 g total fat, 9 g saturated fat, 13 g sugar, 160 mg sodium

The Safeway fruit pies I found say "great snack!" on the package. This makes sense only if by "great snack" they mean high in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sugar and low in protein, fiber, and other healthy nutrients.

  • Safeway Berry Fruit Pie, 1 pie: 450 calories, 24 g total fat, 13 g saturated fat, 13 g sugar, 370 mg sodium
  • Cutie Pie Real Fruit Pie, Cherry, 1 mini individual pie (3 ounces): 270 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 18 g sugars, 350 mg sodium


3. Mega-Butter or "Movie Theatre" Microwave Popcorn

This is one of the few products that still contain trans fat. Just 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn (which ends up being about 3.5 cups popped) contains 4 to 5 grams of trans fat. It's easy to end up eating twice that amount, which can be 8 to 10 grams of trans fat and 24 grams of total fat.

  • Pop-Secret Extra Butter, 3T unpopped: 180 calories, 13 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 6 g trans fat, 360 mg sodium
  • Jolly Time Blast O Butter, 2T unpopped: 160 calories, 12 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat, 330 mg sodium
  • Orville Redenbacher’s Butter, 2 T unpopped: 170 calories, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 380 mg sodium

4.Regular Chips and Cheetos

Although the serving size listed on the package is 1 ounce, most of us snack on twice this amount. So that's what I'm using as the portion size.

  • Cheetos Puffs, 2 ounces: 300 calories, 20 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 600 mg sodium
  • Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream, 2 ounces: 320 calories, 20 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 460 mg sodium
  • Cheetos Flamin Hot Crunchy, 2 ounces: 320 calories, 22 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 500 mg sodium
  • Barbara’s Baked Cheese Puffs, 2 ounces: 300 calories, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 320 mg sodium
  • Lay’s Classic Potato Chips, 2 ounces: 320 calories, 20 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 340 mg sodium
  • Kettle Potato Chips, Sea Salt, 2 ounces: 300 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 230 mg sodium
  • Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips, 2 ounces: 320 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 420 mg sodium


5. Packaged Frozen Snacks

They sure seem convenient, but the calorie and saturated fat cost is high. You'd be hard-pressed to find packaged frozen products that are low in sodium and made with whole grains and smart fats. In this product category, it's buyer beware!

  • Jimmy Dean Biscuit Bacon, Egg, & Cheese, 1 sandwich: 330 calories, 19 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat, 940 mg sodium
  • Hot Pockets – Pizzeria Pepperoni Pizza, 1 piece: 340 calories, 17 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat,< 0.5 g trans fat, 740 mg sodium
  • Ore-Ida Easy Fries Golden Crinkles, 12 pieces: 120 calories, 4.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 290 mg sodium
  • Toaster Strudel, Strawberry, 2 pastries: 340 calories, 14 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 340 mg sodium
  • T.G.I. Friday’s Loaded Potato Skins (1/2 order): 1280 calories, 83 g total fat, 38 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 1300 mg sodium
  • DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza Pepperoni and Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers (1 serving or 1/3 of a pizza): 340 calories, 20 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 920 mg sodium
  • White Castle Microwaveable Cheeseburgers (2 mini burgers): 310 calories, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 600 mg sodium


They may seem like a good snack choice because they're high in protein (14 grams). But there are ways to get your protein without all the extra fat, saturated fat, and sodium.

  • Tyson Fun Nuggets, 4 pieces: 230 calories, 15 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 410 mg sodium
  • Banquet Chicken Nuggets, 5 pieces: 210 calories, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 490 mg sodium
  • Fast Fixin’ Chicken Breast Nuggets, 6 pieces: 200 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 670 mg sodium

7. Cheese and Club Crackers

One serving probably won't fill you up since these crackers are low in water, volume, protein, and fiber. So you’ll probably double the serving -- which means your snack now contains double the calories, grams of fat, saturated fat, and milligrams of sodium.

  • Ritz Bits made with cheese, 1.5 oz single serving: 220 calories, 13 g total fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 480 mg sodium
  • Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers, 27 crackers, about 1 oz: 150 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 230 mg sodium
  • Dare Breton Original, 5 crackers: 110 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 190 mg sodium
  • Keebler Club Crackers, 1 ounce: 140 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 250 mg sodium
  • Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals Cheese Crisps Four Cheese Medley, 20 pieces: 140 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 270 mg sodium

Twinkie the Kid says, "eat me!"

In 1971, almost two decades before the Twinkie's acting career reached its brief apogee in UHF, it actually held down a regular role, playing a heroic cowboy called Twinkie the Kid. Popular with the children (probably), the animated Kid went around saving the day and handing out Twinkies everywhere he went, all in the name of boosting sales and consumption of Twinkies . which seems a little self-defeating when you think about it. Considering America's love of fast food, Twinkie the Kid handing out Twinkies is really something of an invitation for people everywhere to dine on him. It's like if Kentucky Fried Chicken made its mascot an actual chicken.

So maybe it's not a self-defeating practice, but rather a def-eating one. Pun totally intended. And no, we're not sorry.


  1. Andreu

    Bravo, magnificent idea

  2. Sanos

    cool idea!

  3. JoJojin

    the Relevant point of view, it is worth knowing.

  4. Kesho

    I already have it

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