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What Eating a Twinkie Does to Your Body, According to Science

Even longtime fans of the classic snack cake might just be surprised.
Twinkies and milk

If there's one sweet treat most people try at least once in their life, it's the Twinkie. It's a classic, American snack cake anyone can recognize, and Hostess even describes the cream-filled golden sponge cake as a dessert as "The Original Golden Snack that's been putting smiles on faces for generations." One bite and you're instantly transported, perhaps back to a beloved childhood memory when sat on the couch watching cartoons, eating a Twinkie, and sipping on a glass of milk.

But what happens if you decide to eat a Twinkie now? Well, you might not realize what this little cake could be doing to your body. We turned to science to uncover what eating a Twinkie actually does to you, so you're fully aware before you decide to stock up on boxes of these cake bites. And for another nostalgic trip down memory lane, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

1

You could end up consuming too much sugar.

wrapped hostess twinkie
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Take one look at the nutrition breakdown of a Twinkie, and you'll be surprised to see just how much sugar it's packing. Keep in mind the standard serving size is for two cakes, but even if you eat one in the morning and one after dinner instead of both at one time, you're still going to end up consuming 32 grams of sugar. Of these 32 grams of the sweet stuff, 31 grams are added sugar.

The issue with added sugar? First and foremost, the American Heart Association recommends men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day, and women shouldn't have more than 25 grams per day. So you're already going to blow through that recommended limit on these cakes. Not only are there are no nutritional benefits to eating added sugar, but overconsumption can lead to a plethora of health concerns including obesity, diabetes, and as one study found, those who eat a high-sugar diet are at a greater risk of dying from heart disease.

2

You could gain weight.

Woman worried about weight gain.
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Another downside to all that pesky sugar that comes in Twinkies? It can lead you to pack on the pounds. Not only is sugar listed as the first ingredient of these snack cakes, but you'll also spot none other than high fructose corn syrup. One study found that mice who ate high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, and both groups were consuming the same amount of calories. You won't be able to ditch any unwanted belly fat and instead, will just end up adding on more.

3

You'll always be hungry.

man looking in fridge
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Something else you'll notice about the Twinkie's nutritional breakdown is that it contains zero fiber. Fiber actually helps to slow the digestion process and even keeps your blood sugar levels stable. This, in turn, helps you feel fuller for longer. So if you're indulging in a snack that is devoid of any fiber every day, you're going to be hungry again not too long after. Plus, you end up eating more food, increasing your calorie intake which can also lead to weight gain, especially if you're eating more sugary, fiberless snacks.

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4

Your blood pressure can raise.

checking blood pressure
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The key problem with Twinkies as we've explained is the amount of added sugar. And research suggests that sugar might just be far worse for your blood pressure than salt. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that those who get 25% or more of their calories from added sugar are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease. Plus, a study in British Journal of Nutrition found that for every sugar-sweetened beverage the participants drank, their risk of developing hypertension increased. Your best bet? Always limit the amount of added sugar you're consuming if you really want to help keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

5

Your mood can change.

Melancholy woman resting at the terrace
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You might feel happier the moment you're first unwrapping the Twinkie, but once you eat the pastry, there's a chance your mood will shift. One study discovered that high consumption of processed foods can actually increase a person's chances of experiencing depression, so it's safe to say all that sugar the Twinkies are packing can indeed play a role in your daily mood.

Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more
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