A Visual of Twinkies’ 37 Ingredients

You’re looking at the 37 ingredients that make up a Twinkie, photographed by Dwight Eschliman, who grew up in a vegan home but has since loosened up a bit. Try to match the ingredient list to the individual images!

Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40.

OK, everybody can guess which plate contains Red 40, but the others all look rather the same. A lot of the additives here are various chemicals in powder form.

Something to picture in your mind the next time you bite into a chemistry lab experiment turned “food”.

If you want to learn more, read Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats by Steve Ettinger. It’s an entertaining and frightening look at the inner workings of our massive food manufacturing industry.

  • http://the50besthealthblogs.blogspot.com/ The 50 Best Health Blogs

    a chemistry lab experiment turned “food”

    Does that make us lab rats?

    Jim Purdy

  • Suphatra

    Could you do a post about whether or not Organic Milk (that you buy in a grocery store, not from a farm) is signficantly different/better than non-Organic milk? My husband and I have taken to buying organic now and I’m nervous that it isn’t free of some of that really awful stuff in regular milk. But I need more calcium now for my pregnancy! Anyways, it would be really helpful — thank you!!

  • Heidi

    suphatra- http://ecoswitch.com/articles/organic-milk-it-if-you-can/ there are some articles that will tell you there isnt much variation other than antibiotics but i think this one states a bit more..

  • http://www.livingitupcornfree.com kc

    The best possible milk is raw milk from pastured cows from a local farmer. The next best would be pasteurized organic milk with no added vitamins. The vitamins added to both organic and conventional milk contain genetically modified corn in the form of the vitamins (most vitamins contain GMO corn) and the corn oil (which is used to keep the vitamins suspended in the milk). These ingredients aren’t listed on the label but are part of any enriched food. Enriched wheat flour, iodized salt and fortified cereals all contain GMO corn derivatives.

  • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Editorial Staff

    @kc re: @suphatra – careful when recommending raw milk to the uninitiated. There are many risks involved in buying raw milk compared to its benefits.

  • Nicole

    Hi, I saw your post about milk and I had been wondering the same thing. So a few weeks ago I did some research and came across a chart that rates all the different organic milk manufacturers. Here is the link: http://cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/index.html. A quick search and you’ll find a lot of information on the subject.

  • Daniel

    With raw milk, the one group of people I’d tell NEVER EVER to try raw milk is pregnant women. One of the bacteria that milk is more susceptible to is listeria, which causes miscarraiges!

    There are benefits to raw milk, and there are risks. For a healthy, non-pregnant adult, the risk is pretty small. If I got sick off of raw milk, the worst I’d likely get is a bit of tummy upset and diarrhea. But there are certain groups of people who are more susceptible to serious food-borne illnesses and possibly death: Young kids (especially infants), elderly people, folks with weak/suppressed immune systems, and pregnant women. For these folks, the risk is big enough that it’s probably not worth the benefits.

  • http://localnourishment.com Peggy

    I’ve been reading “Twinkie: Deconstructed” for the last several days. I gotta say I am absolutely in shock about the number of our food ingredients that either come from China or are petroleum distillates! The book is very upbeat, calling HFCS and the like miracles of food science, but the truth about how industrial food is created is just too ugly to whitewash.

  • Josh
  • anthony

    ummmmm we all ate dirt as a kid get over it, we are all dying no matter what we try to do..just enjoy it and if you dont want a twinkie give it to me… yes give me all the twinkies i will eat them along with your soul

  • http://www.canadiantwentysomething.blogspot.com/ CDN20something

    This article makes it sound like this isn’t even food and I’m completely unbiased here as I can’t eat these anyway, and never have, but they’re really no worse than anything else IN MODERATION. There is actually only one ingredient in there that serves the purpose of preservation rather than taste or texture, the polysorbate 60 I believe. Aside from the flavours and colours at the end, which make up a small percentage of the Twinkie by weight, everything else is something we would put into a homemade Twinkie (if that ever happened). Sugar, flour, corn syrup, eggs, etc. Twinkies also used to be made with butter, but that was too expensive and we all thought butter was “bad” so the oils and shortening are the replacement.
    By the way, everything is a chemical. We are chemicals. Milk is chemicals. Vegetables are chemicals. Give the Twinkies a break. They’re meant to be a treat, not a lifestyle (or a source of calcium).

  • Judith

    Cows milk is for baby cows, not humans. It should not be a part of our diet in any form, organic, raw, or not-organic, cheese, ice cream, etc. We are the only mammals on earth that drink milk after we are weaned and it’s not even our own species. How ridiculous is that. Milk protein has been proven to turn on tumor growth. Read THE CHINA STUDY by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Stop eating animal protein of any kind and eat a plant based diet for optimal health and nutrition. Moderation kills. Want a treat? Eat a raw sunflower sprout.

    • Dfgdgdf

      Oh fuck off

    • LouisianaredsoXfan

      Worry about yourself and stay the fick outta my fridge.

    • Allenrogers

      have you ever put a saucer of milk in front of a cat? same reaction you get if you put crack in front of a crackhead. i guess humans arent the only species that crave milk

      • cam

        false! My cat gets sick each time he drinks milk (even though he loves milk!)

        • lactisa

          Yeah, some are lactose intolerant. *meow*

    • Allenrogers

      have you ever put a saucer of milk in front of a cat? same reaction you get if you put crack in front of a crackhead. i guess humans arent the only species that crave milk

    • http://twitter.com/ANTHROfit Ian

      The China Study is the most refuted and soft science approach to nutrition since Ansel Keys developed the “Lipid Hypthesis.” The China Study sought to PROVE a hypothesis with an agenda. The scientific method is meant to DISPROVE a hypothesis. If you look for evidence hard enough you’ll find it…and Dr. Campbell certainly did. The “Cows milk” is for cows” argument is tired and a logical fallacy. Humans evolved as omnivores and thrive with a combination of plant based and animal based food, with more emphasis on animal based.

      The issue here is processed foods, and foods that aren’t “Real” foods. Meat and veggies alike are healthful so long as they aren’t altered, hormoned, antibiotic laden, or processed in some way.

      Tumor growth/milk studies showed small amounts of tumorgenesis in the light of regular, store bought, PASTEURIZED (key ingredient) milk. Raw milk contains the enzymes that allow animals to digest lactose and other proteins and is EXTREMELY healthful. Do some research and look up cancer and heart health studies that involve grass fed, antibiotic free, hormone free meat and diary.

      Please don’t spout off the China Study as gospel, it’s all bullshit really.

    • Brandy

      I love whole milk, without it I would lose weight. Screw all those who say its not meant for me. Its a damn good thing I can get it!

    • a-person-who-likes-animal-milk

      Fine. You can not enjoy life while we eat ice-cream and cheese. Sorry for your loss! There are many effective treatments for cancer. And the treat I recommend to you is fresh lettuce. :D

  • Allison

    @CDN20some You are actually incorrect about the Polysprbate 60 which is an emulsifier (Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate – all binders and emulsifiers). The Sorbic Acid is an antimicrobial agents often used as a preservative in food and drinks to prevent the growth of mold, yeast, and fungi.

  • Michele

    Here is a great story about the benefits of organic milk, keep on drinking it!


  • anna-lisa

    a better and healthier way to intake calcium from food is … broccoli! yes, broccoli has more calcium than milk per serving, without all the baggage. and, if you study groups of humans who traditionally don’t ingest milk from other species, or their own, after being weaned, you’ll find far fewer cases of cancer, obesity, arthritis, and a myriad of other ailments often exacerbated by dairy products.

    • lilly

      I dont drink milk rather hate the taste…. but i’ve had cancer, arthritis and i am 30 pounds over weight… so saying milk causes these is kinda absurd…

  • 31cedarville

    Thank you that twinkies are peanut allergy free snack. I have to give a snack to 10 baseball players on Monday. I am praying that the ingredients which I know not what it is, is peanut free… Let you know by Monday.;)

  • Bigben109

    Twinkies Rock and I am not a vegan. I eat meat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dozerfleetprod David Stiefel

    @db3e8c7e2f416637a8a200999521b7c5:disqus : Cows produce excess milk because of a Creator that saw how we, in a fallen world, would need to get calcium.  And therefore, made milk available to us from animals by allowing animals to produce more than they need. 

    Where are we supposed to get iron from if not from red meat?  The spinach thing is a myth.  It has about as much iron as watermelon.

    • Tasha

      I just wanted to point out that cows do not produce an”excess” of milk for a species that needs calcium or iron. These cows are artificially inseminated so that they can produce milk for their young. The baby is then ripped away at birth, which causes the animal significant pain, and is then hooked up to a machine to “suck er dry” of the beautiful food her body created for her baby. Just thought you should know there is no excess of milk for the humans.

  • http://www.webs.com/faithstewart Faith S.

    I used to love twinkies as a kid and I appreciate Wendy Williams for trying to save them but some of those ingredients cause cancer like the artificial coloring ingredients and the nitrates that are in there. You have to be careful for what you eat nowadays because if you read the ingredients real careful, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
    Those cancer ingredients are: Accesulrame-K, Artificial Colors including: Green #3, Blue #1-2, Yellow 5-6, Red 2-3, BHT, Potassium Bromate, Carrageenan, Nitrate(s), Olesta, PropylGallate, & Saccharin — I advise people to write this down and let everyone they know about it. Or head over to http://www.kitchentablemedicine.com/top-9-cancer-causing-ingredients-to-avoid/ to find out more information.

  • Guest

    Opera singer Hai-Ting Chinn sings the ingredients of a Twinkie on The Wendy Williams Show. Composed by Stefan Weisman.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate


  • Julia

    That is soooo disgusting. I ate a Twinkie once and I vomited. Good times

    • Nyteblayde

      that wasnt a twinkie…guess u should of spit instead of swallowed.

  • EDiGonis

    wow!!  37 ingredients??! 

  • richardj

    Say; get rid of the corn syrup; the high fructose corn syrup and the animal fat; and I think you will be in business……………. the healthier the better………. if its the same o same o………….. it wont survive………..and reduce the price by about 38 cents………..

  • Ed

    Wow Twinkies are garbage! Anyone who cares about their health and cares about what goes into their bodies would not eat this crap.

  • Kate

    On the back of a box I have here it says ‘enzymes’, third from last ingredient, but I don’t see it on your list :( Anyone know what are they in there for? Very strange to read enzymes on an ingredient list.

  • Kevin