What Twinkies are made from?
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.