Answer: No. The presence of beef fat and egg makes them unsuitable for vegans.
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Are Twinkies Vegan?
Twinkies might be one of America’s favorite snacks, but sadly they are not for you if you’re vegan.
This delicious snack has been around for over nine decades, and most of us remember our childhood years biting into this soft creamy cake. It was the only thing we ate as a kid for our lunch. Even as adults now, many people still enjoy this tasty treat.
But amidst the growing concern over health and veganism in America, many people are now questioning whether this tasty snack is vegan. Let’s learn more about this golden sponge cake and why it is not vegan-friendly.
What Are Twinkies?
Twinkies are an iconic American snack popularly known as the golden sponge cake. They are a very simple cake snack with white cream filling. Twinkies come in a cake form that measures around four inches in length and about one and a half-inch in width.
This popular snack has a moist and light touch on the cake with moderate flavor. The cake tastes like butter, but it is easy to make out that it’s not real butter since it has artificial flavors. On the other hand, the white filling has a sugary taste with a smooth texture.
History of Twinkies
Twinkies were invented in 1930 in Illinois by a Canadian baker named James Alexander Dewar. The idea of creating a cream-filled cake struck him when the machines used for cream-filled strawberry shortcakes were left unused. It was because strawberry was out of season.
Twinkies have been one of the most popular snacks in America since then, delighting children and adults of ages. However, Twinkies did not always enjoy a smooth ride in the American market. In 2012, the parent company of Twinkies, Hostess, filed for bankruptcy as the sale of Twinkies went down by around 20%.
And as such, the production of Twinkies was shut down on November 21, 2012. But this shutdown did not last very long, and Twinkies were back on the shelf in 2013.
Why Are Twinkies Not Vegan?
As tasty as these treats are, Twinkies contain beef fat as one of their preserves. Beef fat, also known as tallow, is prevalent in packaged food as it helps increase shelf life. You’ll also find it in many other popular packaged and fast foods such as McDonald’s.
Besides that, Twinkies also contain eggs, which vegans do not eat. The dairy content in Twinkies also makes them non-vegan.
You must be pretty disappointed by now if you follow a vegan diet. Some of you might even wonder how this innocent treat can be non-vegan.
It comes with a ton of ingredients, including preservatives and artificial flavors. Below is a quick look at some of the components of Twinkies.
The Ingredients of Twinkies
Even though Twinkies are one of the world’s most popular foods, many people don’t know what they’re made of. This cream-filled cake has several ingredients, but the eight main ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, flour, high fructose corn syrup, water, eggs, and dextrose. Besides these ingredients, Twinkies also come with a whole bunch of preservatives and artificial flavors like:
This ingredient’s primary purpose is to help keep the filling stay creamy without using extra fat.
Mono & Diglycerides
Mono and diglycerides help extend Twinkies’ shelf life so that they don’t go bad within a short time.
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy protein isolate is soybeans separated from all of its nutrition except proteins. The primary use of this ingredient is to hold the cake together.
Sorbic acid is a type of preservative that prevents the growth of mold on cakes.
This ingredient is a substitute for fat and helps keep the filling creamy and smooth.
The primary purpose of this ingredient is to improve the color and flavor of the cake.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
Sodium stearoyl lactylate helps strengthen the dough for Twinkies, and it also helps in emulsifying oils and liquids. This ingredient replaces a small quantity of sugar and fat.
As you already know, beef fat is the non-vegan-friendly ingredient in Twinkies, which acts as a preserver to increase the product’s shelf life.
Is It Healthy for You to Eat Twinkies?
Some studies claim Twinkies could be healthy for you compared to most energy bars. The reason is that Twinkies have a much lesser amount of fat and calories. So, are Twinkies healthy for you?
My answer is no. Just because they have less fat and calories does not mean they are healthy. Like every other fast food, Twinkies contain a high amount of fat and sugar, which cannot be right for you, especially if you are overweight or obese.
One Twinkies contain roughly 135 calories, and if you take a quick look at the list of ingredients, you’ll find that Twinkies come with more than 30 different ingredients. Out of these 30-plus ingredients, a majority of them do not even sound remotely familiar. Some main ingredients include corn syrup, wheat flour, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and beef oil.
In other words, Twinkies contain a lot of sugar (about 16.5 grams) and trans fat. And when you think that Twinkies could not have more sugar in them, you’ll also find that this small snack also contains a large amount of high fructose corn syrup. The high sugar content in Twinkies can potentially lead to several diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and heart disease.
But that’s not all; Twinkies also contain other ingredients like cellulose gum, calcium sulfate, sodium caseinate, polysorbate 60, sodium stearoyl lactylate, soy lecithin, and artificial flavors and colors, which can be harmful to your health.
If you are allergic to wheat, dairy, and soy, you might want to stay away from Twinkies.
Vegan Alternatives for Twinkies
Following a vegan diet does not mean you can’t ever eat anything that tastes like Twinkies. To be honest, there are not a lot of vegan-friendly snacks that taste like Twinkies. But since the main non-vegan ingredient in Twinkies is a preservative, you can easily bake your vegan-friendly version of Twinkies.
If you ever want to try baking your own Twinkies, you will easily find many recipes online. The benefit of homemade Twinkies is that you can skip out on non-vegan ingredients like beef fat and egg. Plus, you can also add your own customized flavors, which you won’t find in the market.
There’s no denying that Twinkies are one of the tastiest treats you can find in America. Unfortunately, beef fat and egg make them unsuitable for consumption if you follow a strict vegan diet.
Snacks like Twinkies having non-vegan ingredients serve as a daily reminder of why you should always check the label in the grocery store. Do the required research to keep up with your vegan lifestyle.