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Friday, September 28, 2007

WHAT'S IN A TWINKIE ???


(CBS) NEW YORK America is well-known across the globe as a country with an obesity problem, a problem that's become so bad, our snacking habits have turned us into a so-called "Twinkie nation."

Over 500 million of the popular golden cakes are sold each year, but what exactly are they made of? CBS 2's Dr. Holly Phillips decided to dissect the anatomy of a Twinkie, worshiped today on sites across the Web and even on the big screen.

Dr. Phillips says there are 39 ingredients packed into the dessert, and all but one are processed.

The ingredients cellulose gum, calcium sulfate, and polysorbate 60 are also used in sheetrock, shampoo, laundry detergent, and even rocket fuel. Author Steve Ettlinger spent five years tracking down the source of every ingredient found in a Twinkie.

"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 petroleum. Phosphates from limestone make Twinkies light and airy.

"Sorbic acid is made from natural gas. That really blew my mind," Ettlinger says.

And the creamy middle?

"There is no cream in the cream, as they say. It's mostly Crisco," Ettlinger says.

Processed foods have been indicted as the main contributor to our childhood obesity epidemic. The 290 calories and nine grams of fat are less-than-friendly to our coronary arteries.

Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, issued a statement about the Twinkie's anatomy:

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

Ettlinger says there is no denying a Twinkie is far from a health food. "It is what it is. If you want healthy, if you want something good for you, eat your broccoli," he says.

And while snacking can help boost energy throughout the day, research shows that processed, high-sugar snacks give quick jolts followed by even more fatigue. When it comes to those guilty pleasures, moderation is key.

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